“The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord. It is best to win without fighting.”
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War
One day soon the world will hopefully see the end of the carnage in Syria. But as important as this military victory will be in the struggle against ISIS, the real war against the idea virus of Islamist extremism will continue.
Although written approximately 500 BC, Sun Tzu’s sage advice still informs modern military doctrine, and for good reason: convincing your opponent not to fight you is invariably a better alternative to engaging in combat.
If we fight the Global War on Terrorism primarily or exclusively by force of arms, the civilized world will never win. It will go on interminably, costing time, treasure, lives, and human potential. If we are to heed Sun Tzu’s counsel, then, we must reduce or eliminate the desire of potential future terrorists to engage in armed conflict.