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The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam
By Christopher S. Bond, Lewis M. Simons
Publisher: Wiley 2009 288 Pages
PDF 2 MB
A U.S. senator and Pulitzer Prizewinner, both experts on Southeast Asia, offer a bold new approach to address radical Islam and fight global terror
The next front in the war on terror is in Southeast Asia, warn Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Lewis Simons, both leading experts on the region. The U.S. has bankrupted its policies in dealing with the Islamic world. As Fundamentalist Islam gains traction in Southeast Asia, backed by Saudi money, the U.S. must act swiftly to re-establish its credibility there and help defuse global terrorism. Bond and Simons present a bold plan to accomplish this key goal by substituting smart power (civilians in sneakers and sandals) for force (soldiers in combat boots) in Indonesia and the other nations of Southeast Asia, home to the world's greatest concentration of Muslims.
Introduces a critical new "smart power" approach to combat global terror
Written by two experts on Southeast Asia with extensive contacts in Washington and overseas
Tackles a crucial challenge to U.S. foreign policy and President Obama's administration
Examines a wide range of views and people, from Osama bin Laden-trained armed terrorists to radical clerics to western-trained officials who plead for Americans to come to their countries to teach, start small businesses, and improve health care
The Next Front offers exactly the kind of fresh, out-of-the-box thinking the United States needs to rebuild its credibility and transcend its foreign policy failures.
From the Inside Flap
If you think the next front in the fight against global terrorism is in Pakistan or Afghanistan, this book will startle you. Four-term U.S. Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond and veteran foreign correspondent Lewis M. Simons reveal that the next front is taking shape right now in a part of the world most Americans haven't thought about since the Vietnam war: Southeast Asia.
Bond and Simons demonstrate compellingly that by beginning in Southeast Asia the Obama administration can reverse the devastating effects of failed policies throughout the Islamic community. The key is a new "smart power" approach, one that combines the "soft" tools of diplomatic, economic, and personal outreach with the fallback "hard" option of military force.
Southeast Asia is home to one of the greatest concentrations of Muslims on Earth. More Muslims live in Indonesia alone than in the entire Middle East. Historically, they have been religious moderates. But today, Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Americanism are on the rise, fueled by the United States' intimate alliance with Israel, its invasion of Iraq, the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, and the Guantanamo Bay imprisonments. These have provoked outrage and provided seemingly irrefutable evidence of America's universal disregard for Muslims.
While this picture is bleak, the central theme of The Next Front is that it is not too late for the United States to turn the rising tide of Islamic fundamentalism in Southeast Asia.
Americans rarely pay serious attention to other nations until they suddenly perceive them to be a threat. Then they find themselves woefully lacking in information and understanding. Hoping to avoid that recurring flaw, Bond and Simons invite readers to travel with them through Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, meeting people at all levels of society. Drawing on their decades of experience, they speak with—and, more importantly, listen to—presidents and prime ministers, soldiers and policemen, teachers, mothers, lawyers, clergymen, and terrorists. Their stories provide exceptional insights into the politics and economies of their countries as well as their personal concerns, motivations, hopes, and fears. With unremitting candor, they reveal complex and often conflicting feelings about America that range from admiration and affection to resentment and hostility. If the United States is to regain respect around the world and stem the tide of religious extremism in Southeast Asia, it must listen to these people and weigh the value of what they seek from us. Americans in sandals and sneakers today will eliminate the need for Americans in combat boots tomorrow.