It’s good to see an American official making any mention of jihadist activity in Europe, and I’m all for defeating the Taliban, but I don’t see how doing so will “deflate” the Islamic supremacist ideology. Gates doesn’t seem to have explained, either. “US says global Islamic extremism would thrive on Afghan failure,” by Jonathan Fowler for AFP (thanks to Sr. Soph):
MUNICH, Germany (AFP) – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Sunday warned that failing to stamp out Afghanistan’s resurgent Taliban would boost Islamic extremism worldwide and urged Europeans to wake up to the risks.
“Instability and conflict abroad have the potential to spread and strike directly at the hearts of our nations,” Gates said in a speech to the annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, which for four decades has been a traditional venue for Washington to flag its concerns to European allies.
“But I am concerned that many people on this continent may not comprehend the magnitude of the direct threat to European security,” he said.
“For the United States, September 11 was a galvanizing event — one that opened the American public’s eyes to dangers from distant lands.” […]
Gates warned that success for the resurgent Taliban would be a huge boost for Islamic extremism worldwide, and urged a reticent European public to realize the need to stem their revival.
“The threat posed by violent Islamic extremism is real — and it is not going away.
“You know all too well about the attacks in Madrid and London. But there have also been multiple smaller attacks in Istanbul, Amsterdam, Paris and Glasgow, among others. Numerous cells and plots have been disrupted in recent years as well — many of them seeking large-scale death and destruction.”
Gates said that the loosely organised international Islamic movement is “built on the illusion of success”.
“After all, about the only thing they have accomplished recently is the death of thousands of innocent Muslims while trying to create discord across the Middle East. So far they have failed. But they have twisted this reality into an aura of success in many parts of the world.
“It raises the question: What would happen if the false success they proclaim became real success? If they triumphed in Iraq or Afghanistan, or managed to topple the government of Pakistan? Or a major Middle Eastern government?”
Gates went on to say that success in one place “would beget success on many other fronts as the cancer metastasized further and more rapidly than it already has.”
Gates said the task confronting the US and Europe is to fracture and destroy Islamic extremism “in its infancy” and deflate its ideology, and that the best opportunity to do that is in Afghanistan.