Americans don’t like wars, and neither do our leaders. No democracy and no democratic leader does. Sometimes, however, they are not given a choice, and then the challenge becomes how to prosecute a war in the most effective manner.

So how is the Trump administration doing in its fight against Islamists worldwide? Let’s take a look:

In Afghanistan, U.S. President Donald Trump correctly cancelled an important meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David, after a Taliban attack killed 12 people, including an American soldier.

However, talks with the Taliban will continue another day, which is a mistake; the United States should not negotiate with terrorists under any circumstances. We should be dictating terms to our terrorist enemies.

Our troop levels in the region may fall from 14,000 to 6,000 soon. To fill the gap, we should consider subcontracting some force levels to contractors like Erik Prince’s Frontier Services Group (FSG).

In Lebanon the Trump administration is pressuring the government to close down two Iranian facilities that are being used to build and store precision-guided missiles. The United States could just blow up the factories, but is working to exhaust all diplomatic options first.

With regard to Israel, the Trump administration has greatly strengthened ties with our only real ally in the Middle East, and will soon unveil a peace initiative, which will hopefully encourage Israel to take 100% control over the educational system in eastern Jerusalem, including UNRWA schools; annex Area C of Judea-Samaria; and demolish all illegal Arab construction.

The founding organization from which every major Islamist terrorist gang sprouted, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has so far been able to shield its history behind an elaborate PR campaign that depicts it as a benevolent, Rotary-style civic group.

Because the MB is financed largely by Turkey, which has also been funding its terrorist operations, the Trump Administration correctly cancelled Turkey’s participation in the F-35 fighter jet program, but has not curbed Turkey’s financing of mosques in the United States, Latin America and Europe. The MB’s other major funder, Qatar, has also been infiltrating and subverting American universities. The Trump administration has discussed designating the MB as a foreign terrorist organization, but has done nothing yet.

With regard to Iran, the #1 terror-sponsoring nation in the world, the Trump administration has stepped up economic sanctions and is moving towards “maximum pressure,” but has a long way to go still. Iran must be bankrupted and forced to shutter its nuclear weapons program and worldwide terrorist operations.

The U.S. has expressed willingness to talk with Iran, but has no ultimate strategy to defeat it.

The key problem the United States faces in all these arenas is that the Islamists’ war against the non-Muslim world began in 632 C.E., after the death of Mohammad, and is now in its 1,387th year. For the past 300 years, the Islamists’ war has focused on Western civilization in general, and America and Israel in particular.

Recall what Thomas Jefferson wrote after he and John Adams met with the ambassador from Tripoli (now Libya) to inquire as to why the Barbary pirates were seizing U.S. ships, terrorizing the crews, including even castrating young male captives, given that the United States had never done anything to provoke such attacks:

“The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

“That it was a law that the first who boarded an Enemy’s Vessell should have one slave, more than his share with the rest, which operated as an incentive to the most desperate Valour and Enterprise, that it was the Practice of their Corsairs to bear down upon a ship, for each sailor to take a dagger in each hand and another in his mouth, and leap on board, which so terrified their Enemies that very few ever stood against them, that he verily believed the Devil assisted his Countrymen, for they were almost always successful. We took time to consider and promised an answer, but we can give him no other, than that the demands exceed our Expectations, and that of Congress, so much that we can proceed no further without fresh instructions.”

It should be noted that this declaration is almost identical to another, issued by an influential imam, in the past few years, to justify the exact same type of savagery.

Until Jefferson won the presidency, the United States government had been paying the annual cash bribes (called “tributes”) the Barbary pirates demanded. Jefferson, however, recognized that the only way to eliminate this threat was to build a robust American navy, to protect U.S. ships and declare that we will not be cowed into submission by any pirates, or any other nation, ever again.

This gave birth to the articulated American principle, “Millions for Defense, Not One Cent for Tribute!”

America’s and the West’s efforts to defend ourselves against Islamism is a marathon, and we have to configure our resources accordingly, minimizing our use of soldiers but maximizing our firepower, in close to 50 countries simultaneously, without bankrupting ourselves, and with as little publicity as possible, until Islamism is defeated, to the distinct benefit of peaceful people everywhere.

As in any marathon, we have to pace ourselves, and create the smallest military and political footprint that can get the job done, while the United States and other free nations continue to thrive and grow.

Ken Abramowitz is the president and founder of SaveTheWest.

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