I am a long time admirer of George Weigel, and have been following many of his insightful articles in "First Things" and "Commentary," and hence I was very excited to get a hold of his latest book "Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism." From his earlier works like "The Cube and the Cathedral" I have come to expect a highly critical and well argued, incisive, prose and this book does not disappoint. The arguments and the prose in this latest book have been streamlined, each one of the points that Weigel is trying to get across gets its own chapter, and the proposed action plan is likewise precisely delineated. The points that Weigel is making are broken down in 15 "lessons" which are:
1. The great human questions, including the great questions of public life, are ultimately theological.
2. To speak of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as "three Abrahamic faiths," "the three religions of the Book," or the "three monotheism" obscures rather than illuminates. These familiar tropes ought to be retired.
3. Jihadims is the enemy in the multifront war that has been declared upon us.
4. Jihadism has a complex intellectual history, the chief points of which must be grasped in order to understand the nature of the threat it poses to the West.
5. Jihadists read history and politics through the prism of their own theological convictions, not through the lens of western assumptions about the progressive dynamic of history.
6. It is not "Islamophobic" to note the historical connection between conquest and Muslim expansion, or between contemporary Jihadism and terrorism. Truth-telling is the essential prerequisite to genuine interreligious dialogue, which can only be based on the claims of reason.
7. The war against jihadism is a contest for human future that will endure for generations.
8. Genuine realism in foreign policy takes wickedness seriously, yet avoids premature closure in its thinking about the possibilities of positive change in world politics.
9. In the war against jihadism, the political objective in the Middle East and throughout the Islamic world is the evolution of responsible and responsive government, which will take different forms given different historical and cultural circumstances.
10. In the war against global jihadism, deterrence strategies are unlikely to be effective, because it is almost impossible to deter those who are committed to their own martyrdom.
11. Cultural self-confidence is indispensible to victory in the long-term struggle against jihadism.
12. Islamist salami tactics must be resisted, for small concessions in the name of a false idea of tolerance inevitable lead to further concessions, and then to further erosion of liberty and society.
13. We cannot, and will not, deserve victory (much less achieve it) if we continue to finance those who attack us. Therefore, a program to defund jihadism by developing alternatives to petroleum-based transportation fuels is a crucial component of the current struggle.
14. Victory in the war against global jihadism requires a new domestic political coalition that is proof against the confusions caused by the Unhinged Left and the Unhinged Right.
15. There is no escape from U.S. leadership.