Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Terrorism: Why is this happening?

I studied Political Science in college. It was lots of fun and I found it fascinating. And this may explain why. One day in a class on foreign policy, the topic of terrorism came up. Some people make some funny comments, but the professor brought us back around. And the conversation went something like this.

“Do you want to know why terrorism happens? Because we know why it happens. There is a model for it that comes from game theory if you take that class this will make more sense to you."

Then he drew a game theory model on the board. 

“Basically it works like this. In political climates you are used to dealing with, the probability of getting what you want is pretty good. You go into an election, and vote for a president and there is a non-zero chance that he will be elected. And as a group that keeps you coming back to the voting booths year after year."

“But lets say your political objective is not to have a republican or democrat or even an independent in the white house. Your objective is to get rid of presidents and congress and elect a king or dictator for life. What is the chance that this will happen with our current political system? Yep, its zero. No one will vote for it, and no one will support it."

“At this point we turn to the equation. You see as long as achieving your goal is greater than zero, then terrorism as a tool for political change is the worst choice. But once your chance of achieving your goal is zero or so close to it that it doesn’t matter, then terrorism or what we call the illegitimate political actions becomes your only options."

He filled in a couple of models on the board with goals and probabilities. 

“So as long as two things remain. First, the goal of the PLO is the goal to expel or kill all the jews and overthrow Israel. And second, lacks a legitimate way to do it. (like some form of referendum that Israel would accept) then terrorism is their only option. Remove either of these, and terrorism will stop."

“Pick your political conflict. IRA wants self rule, and can’t get it. So there is terrorism. Afghanistan’s people what Russia to go home but they won’t leave, so there is terrorism. And so forth.” (this was a while ago.)

Now the equation hasn’t changed. Just the players. There are people that want France to change her laws, respect Mohamed, even introduce a little sharia.  France won’t do that, so there is terrorism. 

Right now, in the USA, it looks like we have places that are willing to toy with a little sharia. We have lots of people, press, media, politicians that are preaching tolerance and change to not “offend muslims” and respect and honor their traditions and legal privileges. And so there is a non-zero chance that such changes will happen.

There is a non-zero chance that we could see laws that give sharia courts jurisdictions in some areas or in some matters. Or both. There is a non-zero chance that we might import enough muslims to start influencing elections this way. And that we might convert people to this faith. 

It may be a long shot, but its non-zero. (I know many people are saying, “Over my dead body.” but understand, that is the idea.)

Right now, there are people looking at the USA and scratching their heads in wonder. They never dreamed that this would ever be possible. They are so excited to send us refugees and people they know will cause us to bend over backward to make comfortable. 

So we will feed their population, clothe them, and they will become voters. And if they don’t melt in the Great American Melting Pot, but remain true to their original purpose in coming here. We will have an electorate that will vote for things we could never have dreamed of. 

And if this process continues, we won’t see much terrorism. There will be a bit from the impatient ones. But mostly, it will be a peaceful transition to a theocracy. 

But if we stop this. If we elect a president who will reject the refugees and the influx of populations that are not willing to become americans. If we make achieving this goal of islamification of the USA a zero chance, then we will see more attacks and acts of terror. And those are our choices.

We don’t have any others. We can choose to welcome the enemy in and slowly surrender to him. Or we can shut the enemy out, and he will fight us openly to try and get us to start letting him in again. 

Well, I guess there is one other choice. You see, that equation has two parts, a goal and its chance of being achieved. The goal in this case is the spread of Islam and Sharia. If we set the chance at zero we get terrorism. 

But what if we change the goal? What would that look like? How could that be done? How do you change the objectives of a people that is theologically opposed to your freedom?

All of the answers are beyond me. But some of them aren’t. And in this case we have to overcome this bizarre idea that Americans have that religion and politics can be separated. The politics of Islamic Terrorists is not somehow separate from their religion. Its not based on economics. It doesn’t follow the geopolitical models that we use in dealing with China or the USSR/Russia. 

So the solution can’t ignore this. (Warning, these are going to be blunt and viewed as extreme by everyone. They are.)
Solution 1: Convert the nations of Islam to Christianity. I don’t really care which denomination. Or even make a new one. 

Solution 2: Fine, if converting nations to christianity doesn’t work for you, how about Buddhism? Spaghetti Monsters?

Solution 3: Kill all of the Muslims that practice branches of Islam that promote spreading of Islam by the sword, or the spread of Sharia. (I guess if kill is harsh, we can send them to some prison somewhere.)

Solution 4: Wage a rather expensive campaign where compounds are build at every population center with a muslim population. These are going to have two functions. First, they are a target for the righteous wrath of zealots. They will have non-islamic religious symbols and people, probably lots of women running around not keeping islamic standard of dress, behavior, etc. Second, they will have lots of gifts to give away to the youth and adults of the population. Not exactly bread and circuses, but the same goal. Make every attack by the zealots on the campout threaten the supply of free internet, free computers, and free candy. 

I could go on, but the solutions don’t get more palatable. Us Americans have grown up in a world where we help each other. We learn early that if we are just nice to people we can win their friendship. But this lesson only applies to people that have goals that are like ours. Not goals that are directly opposed to us. Not our goals, but us. 

But don’t get your hopes up. Just because I have written down solutions that are actually solutions. That doesn’t mean anyone will do them. We don’t have the political will right now. We would rather argue about minimum wage, and civil rights, and reparation to the great grand children of slaves. We want to fill our minds with making laws about love and punishing those that won’t bake cakes for them. We want to raise taxes and go deeper into debt at the same time.

Anything that doesn’t make us come up with a solution to a problem and to deal with an actual enemy that means us harm.  


  1. Wow, non zero possibility of achieving a goal as THE reason for terrorism. Thanks for making me think.

    1. Only when all alternative, (legitimate, non-terrorism action), has a zero possibility.