Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Terrorism and nuclear deterrence in the 2017 General Election

Big weapon 

Big weapon

Terrorism and nuclear deterrence have been big issues in this election. The debate has been very low-budget, dominated as it is by sloganeering and point scoring, primarily from the Conservative Party, and stage-managed by  mainly  right-leaning journalists and interviewers.

The reality of what happened in Manchester and London is only just beginning to sink in to our national psyche.

It is neither true nor helpful to repeat the cliche "This has nothing to do with Islam". It is a statement deployed by liberals and moderate Muslims in direct opposition to the ugly emotional response of generalised hatred coming from the Right. It is still not true, and weak arguments do not help the progressive case - in fact, it just makes the right more angry.

Islamic terrorism does have to do with Islam. The bastards who murdered in Manchester and London may be criminals, but their criminality (and suicidal tendencies) are also mentally infected  with, and made worse by, violent jihadism. They may not have much in the way of Islamic scholarship, but they are in the sway of Salafism and Wahabism, both of which are based in a thread of Islamic tradition which is present in a significant numbers in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and elsewhere.

Therefore the Muslim community has a duty to help, and the most effective thing they could do is to declare a fatwa on terrorism. There has been some good news this week: 31 Islamic scholars have declared a fatwa against terrorism in Pakistan. Sadly, this has not been picked up by journalists here in the UK. We, the people, have a duty to ask our local mullahs and imams to do the fatwa. It's not going to stop terrorism in its tracks, but it must surely reduce the number of young recruits to the ranks of Daesh.

To balance things up, and to quash any sense of moral superiority, we should, at the same time ask our local vicar, pastor and priest to declare that nuclear deterrence is unChristian.

Christian fundamentalists do not nowadays cut off the heads of prisoners, or stab civilians.
On the other hand, they (and some Christian "moderates" too) do tend to adhere to the doctrine of nuclear deterrence.

Nuclear deterrence is deferred terrorism. When deterrence breaks down, (which will almost inevitably happen at some time), the whole world is plunged into nuclear war, which is a war against civilians (and  also, incidentally, a war against God's creation, in the Christian and Muslim view).

Therefore the difference between Islamic jihadists and Christian nuclear deterrence supporters lies between in real time personal atrocities and a deferred, far greater, universal atrocity. There is no moral superiority. You support nuclear deterrence? You support deferred terrorism. If we condemn terrorism, we must actively work for nuclear disarmament.

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