Tag Archives: refugee crisis

Studies in Cognitive Disarray: Fisking Michael Ignatieff on Refugees

I had a recent experience in London that led me to conclude that European leaders and intellectuals have fallen into a condition of such disorientation that it constitutes a full-blown cognitive disarray, with leaders making critical decision guided by deeply mistaken (inverted) understandings of the reality they face.

Among the decisions I find most astonishing are the decisions dealing with the tragic mass of millions of refugees created by the violence in the Middle East. It was clear from the beginning that this wave of “newcomers” were problematic, and not merely in terms of the possibilities of already-formed terrorists, but just in terms of the behavior and attitude of many. Western Europe opened its borders to refugees, and a large number of young male Muslims took advantage, creating enormous problems there where there already were enormous problems.

Now Michael Ignatieff, both a political leader )  (Canada, Liberal Party) and an intellectual has written a piece that so perfectly illustrates this cognitive disarray, that I have to fisk it.

The Refugees & the New War

Michael Ignatieff

December 17, 2015 Issue

1.

Strategists will tell you that it is a mistake to fight the battle your enemies want you to fight. You should impose your strategy on them, not let them impose theirs on you.

I agree entirely. But what follows is not a bold Western strategy that sets the battlefield according to our terms, it’s an elaborate justification for having the Jihadi enemy set the terms, and for us behaving in ways that help their cause immensely.

These lessons apply to the struggle with the leaders of ISIS. We have applied pressure upon them in Syria; they have replied with atrocious attacks in Ankara, Beirut, and now Paris. They are trying to provoke an apocalyptic confrontation with the Crusader infidels. We should deny them this opportunity.

Hmm. The history of apocalyptic movements suggests that, especially once they’ve reached a certain level of success (which ISIS and global Jihad have), any successful confrontation has to address their apocalyptic means and goals. If you think that by denying these issues we can frustrate them, you’ve deeply misunderstood the phenomenon.

ISIS wants to convince the world of the West’s indifference to the suffering of Muslims; so we should demonstrate the opposite.

This is amazing. This is so low down on ISIS’s list of “to-do’s” (for them, it’s something of a no brainer that we’re indifferent to Muslim suffering) that any effort on our part to disprove them would constitute a mad waste of effort. When that means extensively endangering our side in order to accomplish this “disproof,” it’s crazy to argue for such a response.

ISIS wants to drag Syria ever further into the inferno; so ending the Syrian war should become the first priority of the Obama administration’s final year in office.