We've been told for some time now — against common sense and the weight of our own national experience — that the way to defeat international jihadism is to spread democracy...Democracy is a process, Andy, and is a long-term solution not an immediate salve. During this process the citizens of any one nation will have their own internal battles to determine their own best options for maintaining their own lives, liberties, and pursuits of happiness.
Democracy has many enduring benefits, but it doesn't stop terrorists from operating — and in many ways, it makes life easier for them. When are we going to stop talking about it as a national security cure-all?
When the Islamist Jihadi movement interferes with their own aspirations, these peoples have a legitimate beef and will marginalize them. Each democratic nation in its own way. And since these democracies do not reside in a vacuum, but are part of the international community, the consequences brought upon them by another nation in retaliation for the actions of any group/movement doing something stupid will be part of their own decision making process.
Yes, Hamas IS the government of the Palestinians. But that actually is to Israel's advantage because incursions of terrorists onto Israeli soil is now an internationally recognized breach of Israel's sovereignty and an act of war. Israel does not occupy Gaza therefore Hamas actions can no longer be viewed as a resistance to occupation. Though, of course, habit and decades of ranting by the international community against Israel hasn't quite caught up with the current facts on the ground.
The Lebanon situation could be viewed as similar, though not the same. Hezbollah is not a terrorist group acting on its own, it has legitimate seats in Lebanon's governing body. Therefore Hezbollah's incursion onto Israeli soil and capture of two soldiers can't be simply dismissed as a rogue element residing in the country. Hezbollah's inclusion in the political process means it has a say in the policy decisions of the country.
Of course we have long held that terrorists, even if not in the political process, can be a target for retaliation. Countries can be held responsible simply for harboring them. But in a democracy, the rest of the citizens of those countries have a say as to whether those terrorists will be harbored or not. And that is the advantage of democratizing these countries.
Since democracy is a learning process, the marginalization and disarmament of the terrorist groups in each country will take time. How much time depends on many factors, including the willingness of the citizens to go through the difficulties and internal violence necessary to complete the process, and the efforts of the international community to remove the influence of terror sponsoring nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.
In the meantime, yes, there are still terrorists and the Islamic Jihadi movement wreaking havoc around the globe and efforts to defeat them are ongoing. Democratization is only part of the process, and it runs in parallell with our other efforts, but it is the part that holds the best hope for a longterm solution.