Read striking commentary from conservative writer Daniel Larison on Huckabee’s promise in his presidential announcement speech:
“As president, I promise you that we will no longer merely try to contain jihadism. We will conquer it.”
This is in keeping with Republican hawks’ allergy to the concept of containment in any contemporary context, but it is more dangerous than that. If the U.S. is actively opposing and combating a threat overseas, hawks are always going to find a way to portray the current effort as inadequate and insufficiently aggressive. This leads them to embrace fanatical and/or unworkable alternatives to the “weak” policy that they are deriding. So Huckabee is not content to contain “jihadism,” which he refers to as if it were a unified and monolithic movement, but promises that the U.S. will “conquer” something that cannot, in fact, be conquered. Indeed, the more that one tries to “conquer” an ideology like this through military means, the easier it is for the ideology to gain new adherents.