Thomas Joscelyn makes the following observation about Al Qaeda’s “grand strategy” in his article “Know Your Enemy” at The Weekly Standard:
Meanwhile, al Qaeda strives on towards its real goal. It is a difficult course, and success is far from certain. But history tells us that a lot of carnage can be wrought in pursuit of violent fantasies.
To catch the image of Al Qaeda’s self-appointed enemies in chief, in the form of another network of politico-military ideologues, we need only to put up a verbal mirror1:
Meanwhile, the Neoconservatives strive on toward their real goal. It is a difficult course, and success is far from certain. But history tells us that a lot of carnage can be wrought in pursuit of violent fantasies.
To be incapable of performing this exercise, not to expect it or not to take it into account, is perhaps in the polemicist’s job description. Self-reflective writers, writers with ironic faculties in good working order, would likely not have written the original sentences in the first place, and it seems safe to presume that only a lack of ironic sense could allow an author or editor of an essay like Joscelyn’s to choose or accept “Know Your Enemy” as its title.
As for the near enemy, here’s Joscelyn a bit earlier in the piece:
It would be naïve to assume that the Obama administration’s definition of al Qaeda is not directly tied to its preferred policies.
You, dear reader, ought to be able to perform the necessary substitutions without my help. The result may not tell us anything about the substance of Joscelyn’s argument on the state of Al Qaeda and the nature of whatever threat it poses to America or American interests, but its import will be taken by many as all we really need to know.
- That we construct our idea of ourselves in the ideational construction of the other, and construct the other in constructing ourselves, defines history as a meaningful discourse rather than as a mere assemblage of random events, as entirely the construction and re-construction of self and other in time and space. [↩]