Many people think 9/11 was the beginning of the war that Islamists (Muslim supremacists) declared on America in particular and Western civilization in general. In reality, however, 9/11 was merely the latest large-scale attack in the war declared long ago.

Ironically, in terms of sheer human carnage it is Muslims who have paid the largest price for this fanaticism: in just the past 20 years, Islamists have murdered more than one million Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout North Africa nations, for not practicing their faith “correctly.”

We in free nations, however, largely ignore the Islamists’ ongoing war against us, and are failing to formulate comprehensive defensive and offensive strategies.

To begin with, we need to properly characterize each facet of this enemy and how it relates to the others. In particular, we face four Islamist enemies, each of which is distinct and requires a separate strategy.

1) Iran: The world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism declared war on America in 1979, and has been attacking us ever since, in the name of Shi’ite Islam. In fact, Iran still owes U.S. citizens more than $50 billion in court judgments for the terrorism it and its proxies have perpetrated against us.

2) Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda: the two heads of the Sunni Islamist terrorist network.

Iran, ISIS and Al Qaeda pose existential threats to America and all of Western civilization, and must be dealt with through our military and intelligence apparatuses.

Next are our “frenemy” nations:

3) Turkey and Qatar: While claiming they are our friends, they finance the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization which spawned every major Islamist terrorist organization.

4) Saudi Arabia and Pakistan: Though they act as our allies, each provides funding to the Wahhabi extremist movement worldwide. Pakistan also finances the Taliban in Afghanistan.

All four of these nations are primarily our cultural enemies, as they finance Islamist mosques and schools, as well as American universities, particularly Middle East departments. In short, they are waging a cultural war against us, and must be confronted with our cultural response.

The Islamists’ war against non-Muslims has been ongoing for nearly 1,400 years, since the death of Mohammed in the year 632 C.E. They conquered the Middle East, southern Europe, North Africa and India, as well as some lands as far away as Indonesia.

More recently, over the past 50 years Islamists have infiltrated and declared their intention to take over Europe, Africa, Australia, South America and the United States.

So what should we do? And what can the United States do, in light of President Donald Trump’s disdain for endless and seemingly unwinnable wars, which we have been fighting against enemies who don’t wear uniforms? Who may be launching devastating attacks one second, then appear to be civilians, or “victims,” the next?

Here are some suggestions:

1) Fight the culture war: We have to stand up for the values of freedom, the U.S. Constitution, free speech and our national sovereignty, in opposition to those who are at war with these values—both domestic and foreign.

Unfortunately, we’ve not only failed in this task, we’ve allowed our schools to be largely taken over by curriculas and activists that advance anti-freedom, anti-American, anti-Western values, while priming our children to embrace the opposite.

For those who doubt all the nature and severity of this problem, see this special research report by STW editor Jon Sutz: “America At The Precipice.”

It is this breach that Islamists (and other subversives) exploit to their own advantage, particularly through their massive financial investments in our universities (more).

2) Use economic and diplomatic pressure: Throughout the Cold War, we created a sharp divide between the free world and the oppressed world. We must also ensure that all nations know that there is a price to pay for acting one day as our ally, and the next funding or otherwise helping our enemies, or engaging in domestic subversion.

In terms of nations such as Iran, which has been attacking us since 1979 and still owes $53 billion to Americans for its terrorist acts, we must completely isolate them, and engage in every form of nonviolent action to hopefully help trigger the collapse of its ruling regime, until such time as it poses no more threat to us.

3) Military action: This must always be our last resort, to be implemented only if steps 1) and 2) fail. But whenever America’s national security is threatened, we must employ military force—and our enemies must know that we will do this.

Iran, in particular, is hurtling towards the nuclear weapons for which it has lusted for decades, and the means by which to deliver them to their targets—according to their leaders, the first and second of which will be America and Israel—while simultaneously destabilizing its Sunni Muslim enemy, Saudi Arabia. Recall that even during the nuclear deal negotiations with the Obama administration, Iran’s supreme leader led chants of “Death To America!”

If steps 1) and 2) are unsuccessful, then we must be ready, and ready our people, for the prospect that military action may be the only means by which to stop the Iranian threat, and that of any other regime that poses an existential threat to America. And whenever ISIS and Al Qaeda find a physical home, from which to plan, organize and direct terrorist attacks against us or our allies, we must also be prepared to use our military to stop it.

As I described in an earlier column, “Did the EU learn anything from WWII?,” that generation failed to contain the rising Nazi war machine in the 1930s. As a result, we were then forced into war in the 1940s, leading to the death of 60 million people. We certainly do not want to repeat that mistake.

We hope the Trump administration will rise to the challenge, particularly as it is driven by an “America First” agenda, to protect our exceptional country and precious citizens, against enemies both foreign and domestic, in both the short-term and long-term.

Ken Abramowitz is the president and founder of SaveTheWest.

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