How should the U.S. address Islamic fundamentalism?
Ken Adelman is currently vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which conducts executive training through leadership lessons from Shakespeare. Ambassador Adelman began teaching Shakespeare in 1977 at Georgetown University, and later with honors students at George Washington University.
During the Reagan Administration, Ken Adelman was an Ambassador to the United Nations and then Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, accompanying President Reagan on his superpower summits with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Adelman was a philosophy major at Grinnell College and then attended Georgetown University, where he received a Masters in Foreign Service Studies and Doctorate in Political Theory.
He is the author of five books -- including co-author of Shakespeare in Charge -- and hundreds of articles, was for 20 years national editor of Washingtonian magazine, and for six years a member of the Defense Policy Board.
While living in Africa from 1972 to 1975, Adelman translated for Mohammed Ali during “The Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship fight in Zaire, and participated in the Zaire River Expedition, venturing down the Congo River on the 100th Anniversary of Stanley’s exploration.
Ken Adelman: Well the number one issue is how do you combat an Islamic fundamentalism? And not just fundamentalism, but a totalitarian approach so that we all have to be believers, and Muslim beliefs in Allah. And otherwise we’re infidels. Otherwise, we should be slain. Otherwise we have no way to get to heaven. Otherwise we’re just cannon fodder for their beliefs. And that is a terrible threat. And it’s a terrible threat because there are people that are willing to die for that view, and willing to use weapons of mass destructions to get that view across. And that is . . . I think that’s awful.
In the past in history, when you had monsters in history – God knows we had the Hitlers, the Maos, the Stalins – they had to take over a state to really wreak their havoc. Nowadays with weapons of mass destruction, you don’t need to take over a state. To take over a state is very hard. So it keeps a lot of these psychopaths out of getting any power. But now the psychopaths like that can get weapons of mass destruction. Destruction in that sense has been privatized. And that is very frightful.
You have to defeat them.
So you make sure that . . . in two ways. Number one is a kind of military or forceful way that those who are convinced of this are defeated. They’re not reasoned with. They’re not negotiated with, but they’re just defeated. And number two is the new crop out there that show the error of the way of forcing these beliefs on other people. And the value of, you know, life. And that life is wonderful. They have to flower and prosper by themselves, and not in the basis of suicide bombing or anything like that.
Recorded on: 7/2/07
Adelman believes it must be dealt with seriously and forcefully.
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