Never let anyone accuse Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom Director Nina Shea of offering bland platitudes. In a column Thursday, Shea advocated a "soft power" approach to fighting terrorism as advocated by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
In the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attack believed to be the work of the Pakistani-based Lashkar e-Taiba, that meant "imposing one's will and more a function of shaping behavior" more than traditional military assaults. Shea summarized the Gates philosophy:
"'…long-term success in the conflict against a "malignant form of terrorism inspired by jihadist extremism" will depend less on military engagements and more on the 'overall ideological climate within the world of Islam.'"
In response to the attack on Mumbai, which was orchestrated and launched from next door, Shea wrote:
"First, Pakistan must close all schools and offices nationwide of LeT's charity front, Jamaat-ul-Dawa.."
That's largely what happened Friday, with officials placing LeT founder Hafiz Saeed under house arrest and closing nearly 20 Jamaat offices. It is an encouraging start, Shea said in response to an e-mail question, but it is far too soon to relax the pressure.
"Saeed has been detained before only to be freed shortly afterwards," she noted. "Pakistan's new government must follow through in bringing Saeed to justice and completely shutting down Jamaat's operations, as well as other madrassas and schools that serve as jihadi indoctrination centers. The failure to do so would pose a serious threat to world peace."