As Brussels cleans up the mess from the bombings a few days ago, the world once again is looking at what lessons can be taken from the attacks. What went wrong in terms of security? What went wrong in terms of intelligence and intelligent police co-operation? And as the lessons are drawn, hopefully people will be looking at past incidents to see if these were avoidable attacks or whether or not the militants really did catch authorities by surprise.
The nature of the war that Daesh is pursuing against the West is not a type of war that can be dealt with by the methods that the American presidential candidates are proposing. Senator Ted Cruz wants to carpet bomb Daesh into oblivion. Other candidates such as Donald Trump have suggested equally aggressive measures. Rhetoric only one might say, but given their light weight experience dealing with foreign policy and national security, disturbing nonetheless. The rhetoric might be music to the ears of American hawks, but it is totally impracticable in execution.
The type of war that needs to be waged against Daesh, should be as much done by intelligence and regular authorities as by military units. Daesh present themselves effectively as a militant group, that thinks it is a country, but is not. Rather than invading countries that are suspected of harbouring Daesh, work to cripple their lines of supply, communication, their funding, their supporters. Take measures that involve armaments, finance, logistics and so forth to the United Nations and have the General Assembly and the Security Council agree to adopt them.
I would have no problems if the United Nations adopted a resolution banning members from supporting or harbouring Islamic State militants or resources. I think few nations would vote against it and most would comply with it’s restrictions.
However, all nations that are attacked by Daesh should not ever clamp down on their citizens liberties. That is precisely what Daesh wants Governments to do. If Governments do that, they are handing Daesh victory on a gold plate with all the trimmings. As fast as possible after a nation is attacked, reopen public places. Yes there should be heavy security. Yes there might be disruptions in terms of services running on time, but not ever should there be no service unless the exact time and location of an attack is known.
In the long term though, Europe might have accept that the days of Schengen free travel zone are over. Individual nations should have always maintained their border checks – yes it takes time, but it was a pipe dream if people thought free travel across a whole continent would not have consequences.