Cold War, War On Terror
Let's draw parallels. There was the Cold War. And now there is the War On Terror, for lack of a better phrase. It is a tussle between radical, violent Islamism and liberal democracy. The Cold War simmered for over four decades. The War On Terror has gone on for a decade and a half already.
Russia is still not a democracy. You can have elections and no democracy. Russia is a prime example. It is a waning power with a GDP smaller than that of India.
In a sense the Cold War is not exactly over. Communism has seen defeat, but Russia is not yet a democracy.
The War On Terror will not end with a defeat of Islam. Extremist Islam will not be defeated by Christianity, but by moderate Islam. Extremist Islam can be contained and miniaturized, but not eliminated. Extremist Christianity still persists. You have right wing militia.
That civil morphing and the preponderance of moderate Islam will primarily be a function of the democratic process.
Dictatorships will have to make way. Moderate Islam will have to be nurtured.
This is hard work. It will take time. It can be expedited, but only to an extent.
It is hard to argue that Bush was wrong and Obama has been right, or that Obama is wrong, and the next president will do it right. It is not that easy. No matter what, the process will take time.
America's top priority understandably is to prevent another 9/11 style attack. To that end the country will make any sacrifice, go to any end. But that firefighting is not the solution. It is band aid.
My personal bias is for all those non violent methods of spreading democracy. Beaming in wireless internet across the Arab world and flooding the region with super cheap Android phones would be my tool of choice. The US government is not involved with either. Google is.