Bono Says Send in the Clowns

Bono suggests using comedy to fight ISIS. The idea is completely stupid except for the fact that it is totally genius. I agree with Bono that psychology (persuasion) is the key to beating ISIS. I wrote about it here.

You shouldn’t be surprised when Bono is right. He has a genius-level IQ. Or to put it another way, if you think Bono makes no sense – about anything – the odds are good that the problem is on your side.

Bono is the real deal – a Master Persuader all the way down to his DNA. 

Bono’s suggestion to send in Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, and Sasha Baren Cohen to defeat ISIS is pure Trumpian hyperbole by design. Bono made it visual so you would remember it, and so you would quote it. He isn’t seriously suggesting we send stand-up comedians to war zones. The fact that you think he MIGHT be serious is the genius of it. That’s what makes you talk about it.

Listen to Bono’s quote about maleness, and about the power of mocking. He’s spot on.

How powerful is mocking as a tool of persuasion? It’s hard to say, but if you look at the growth of business books in the 1990s you might find that the growth stopped at about the same time Dilbert came on the scene and mercilessly mocked the industry. Maybe the business book industry had just run its course. Maybe it was a coincidence. But I can tell you I have gotten hundreds of email messages from managers and authors who say they cancelled plans because they imagined how those plans would sound when mocked in a Dilbert comic.

Mocking is powerful force. And it has special power among the young. 

Could we mock ISIS out of existence, thus killing it as an idea?

I say yes. I’m with Bono. Take him seriously.

The Thought Police Did Not Like it When I Said Something Like This

Today I step aside to let a better communicator do her thing. See this provocative opinion by Janet L. Factor.

It is too early to call The Turn on our collective thinking about the motivation of radical Islamic terrorists, but it might happen soon. Keep in mind that Trump’s suggestion is to halt muslim immigration until we figure out what is causing it.

That was a persuasion nudge from Trump. Janet Factor’s article is another nudge. Their nudges might have different intentions behind them, but they are both nudges away from the idea that the terrorists hate us because of our proximity to their magic dirt. Or our policies. Or our meddling. Or our bombing.

We have heard plenty of explanations (good ones!) for why radical Islamic terrorists want to kill us. But remember what I taught you about having too many explanations for the same phenomenon – it is a tell for cognitive dissonance. And that means there is probably one big influence that is – for whatever reason – invisible to the public at large.

Until The Turn.

Seeing the Future

Changing topics slightly, I give you an image from today’s failed terrorist attack in Paris.


To me, that looks like the future. You have a terrorist losing a fight to a robot inside a fenced zone. Eventually, the so-called Caliphate will become something like the Target Practice for Robots Zone, or TPRZ. The military needs a robot practice zone anyway, so we might as well kill two birds at the same time.  And Robots could, in theory, become better at minimizing civilian casualties compared to whatever we’re doing now.

If you have a better solution, I’m all ears. But this is where it’s going if we straight-line current trends. Not a preference, just a prediction.

See the image above on Twitter @ScottAdamsSays if your firewall is being a caliphate.

How to Beat ISIS with a Hoax

How do you kill the ideas that motivate ISIS?

You can’t do it with reason. You can’t do it with force alone. But you might be able to do it with a hoax. I’ll explain.

In a prior post I explained why ridiculous rumors travel faster than truth, and the more ridiculous, the better. The simple explanation is that truth is usually boring. If you want people to be interested, you need a big lie. You need something so wrong that people think it must be right. The wrongness – the thing that makes the rumor clearly untrue – is the same thing that drives its telling and retelling. We are drawn to the wrongness of it.

Case in point, last week I compared the ISIS system – in which rape is used as a recruitment tool – to our civilized system of mutual consent. Predictably, that morphed into “cartoonist favors rape” and Twitter lost its shit. (It was a good weekend for my blog traffic.) Why did people believe I came out in favor of rape? They believed it because it is unbelievable. They tweet it because it is unbelievable. They get mad because they don’t want to live in a world with people who display such unbelievable behavior. Rarely do they stop to consider that unbelievable things are usually false. Our brains tell us exactly the opposite – that the story is so crazy it must be true.

So let’s use that phenomenon and a few more to design a Hoax Kill Shot for ISIS. We shall use the following facts and tools of influence in our design.

1. We will design the rumor to be unbelievable (to make it believable)

2. The hoax will quickly be detected, but it won’t matter.

3. Focus attention where we want it.

4. Over time, truth becomes whatever people hear the most.

5. 20% of any large group believes just about any damned thing.

6. Appeal to ego and emotion, not logic.

7. Visual imagery that you can’t get out of your head.

The hoax would take the form of a fake video of a meeting involving high-level ISIS leaders. I assume ISIS fighters do not know what the leaders of other units look like. And the video would not name the ISIS fighting unit, so it would be hard to verify its authenticity in a war zone.

The video would appear to be taken on a smartphone by one of the other ISIS leaders in a war-battered room somewhere in Syria. In the fake video, actors pretend to be ISIS leaders bragging about how they take advantage of the young, stupid recruits. The conversation might include various leaders saying such things as…

– Hahahaha! We send idiots to slaughter so we can enjoy their sisters and mothers. Only winners get to spread their genes.

– We are collaborating with Israel and have been since the start. There is a secret pact for land-sharing once Assad is defeated.

– Behind closed doors the leaders mock the suicide bombers as being both gullible and defective in some mental or physical sense. The leaders might say they select suicide bombers on these criteria plus the attractiveness of any wives and sisters the bomber leaves behind.

– The fake ISIS leaders would use an insulting word (in Arabic) to refer to their gullible cannon-fodder recruits and their even more defective suicide bomb volunteers. The insult needs to be engineered to have Trumplike stickiness.

– The leaders would brag about spiking the drugs that all ISIS fighters take before battle with some sort of sperm-killing chemical developed by Israel to prevent surviving fighters from someday procreating.

That’s the general idea. You want the recruits to doubt the sincerity of their leaders. Teens are good at doubting authority. That comes naturally, so it shouldn’t be hard to generate suspicion.

By now you are saying this hoax would be quickly uncovered, and you would be right. But it won’t matter. The goal is to convince about 20% of ISIS recruits that the video is true. And you can convince 20% of any group to believe any damned thing. All you need to do is try. 

Let’s say 80% of ISIS folks believe the video is fake. That still leave enough gullible people to cripple a movement. 20% is enough to keep the rumor alive and damage the reputation of the cause. Add bombing to the mix and you can realistically blunt 30-40% of the movement. That should be enough to reduce the problem from World War III to a major inconvenience.

The reason the hoax would work is that it causes the bad guys to focus on it. From day one, the bad guys would be debating whether it is real, and if not, who exactly made it. The point is to make them TALK about it, even if what they say is how fake it looks. We want their attention, not their reasoning skills. Over time, the things you focus on the most become the most important in your mind. 

It won’t matter that the vast majority of ISIS knows the video is fake. The rumors will take on their own life and start to acquire their own circumstantial evidence. For 20% of the bad guys, all they will know is that they heard something from somebody and now their personal observations are fitting that theory. Sure enough, they observe that the leaders are spreading their genetic material and the suicide bombers are not. There is just enough truth to the rumors to make them worthy of conversation.

That’s the basic idea. If you don’t believe we can dupe 20% of ISIS, keep in mind that 20% of the United States believes President Obama was not born in this country. And he has a birth certificate.

One assumes the CIA is already working hard on psychological operations. I’m just trying to help.

If you think my blogging is terrible, you should see my books.

DAESH Linguistic Kill Shot

In a culture that allows powerful men to have multiple wives, the leaders have to reduce the number of male competitors so the math works. The best way to do that is to convince young men to go kill themselves in the name of some greater good. As an added incentive to die, the young men are promised a worthy cause, respect, sex slaves, and 72 virgins in heaven.

The reality is that most of the DAESH fighters are working hard to spread the genetic material of the more successful men leading them. They just don’t know it.

If you want to change someone’s mind, you have to go deep. You have to bypass rational thought entirely. You need to find the ego. 

Here are some arguments that would be a total waste of time.

1. We think you misinterpreted your religious books.

2. Evil is bad. You really should do less of it.

3. We can help you get a job if you stop killing us.

4. We will kill you if you keep trying to kill us first.

I could go on. The point is that reason isn’t in play. So let’s ignore it.

When you are a young man – and here I speak from experience – you are naturally distrustful of authority. And your sex drive is – by far – your dominant impulse. Combining those two elements, one effective form of persuasion might go like this:  

Linguistic Kill Shot: DAESH fighters are genetic dead-enders fighting to spread the genes of their leaders. And they are succeeding.

Why it should work:

– It plays on the natural distrust young people have for the old(er).

– Sex and reproduction are such strong impulses that they overwhelm any other sense of reason. You can’t fight promises of sex unless you offer other promises of sex. There is no substitute in the world of persuasion.

– The statement is unambiguously true. Dead fighters do not spread their genes. Leaders with multiple wives do. There is nothing to argue.

Speaking of Trump, he’s the only one in the game who could pull this off. I know you think I’ve gone too far in my Trump-loving, but this topic is still in the wheelhouse of persuasion, not politics. (I don’t agree with a number of Trump’s policies.)

I remind you that I am not smart enough to know which candidate would be the best president. All the candidates look qualified to me. But objectively speaking, if you want to fix a leak, hire a plumber. And if your biggest problems can only be solved by changing people’s minds, you want to hire a persuader. That much is certain. But we don’t know what the future holds or what skill set would matter most several years from now.

Update: I should have mentioned that the best way to approach this is to test different linguistic kill shots on captive jihadists. Hook a brain scanner to their noggins and see which ideas light up the right areas of the brain.

We only need to reprogram a few captives to know whether a particular method works. Once the best linguistic kill shot is identified from the candidates, you release it to the wild like an idea virus.

Chances this would work: 100%

It won’t reprogram most jihadist, but if you influence 20%, that’s enough to break their momentum and permanently infect them with the idea virus.

To learn more about the advantage of systems versus goals in a moist robot world, see my book that is critically acclaimed by anonymous strangers on Amazon.com. Anonymous strangers are very wise.

Global Gender War

Note: My Clown Genius Post (about Trump) is nominated for a Best Writing of 2015 award called the Golden Giraffes. You can vote for it here. (Do a page search to find my name.) 

I don’t care about awards of this type, but this is an opportunity to shine some light on the Moist Robot hypothesis and the Master Persuader concepts if you think the ideas are worthy.

Now back to business…

I wonder if the discussion of so-called radical Islam is disguising the fact that male-dominated societies are at war with female-dominated countries. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Islam doesn’t look so dangerous in countries where women can vote. 

Consider the United States.

When I go to dinner, I expect the server to take my date’s order first. I expect the server to deliver her meal first. I expect to pay the check. I expect to be the designated driver, or at least manage the transportation for the evening. And on the way out, I will hold the door for her, then open the door to the car.

When we get home, access to sex is strictly controlled by the woman. If the woman has additional preferences in terms of temperature, beverages, and whatnot, the man generally complies. If I fall in love and want to propose, I am expected to do so on my knees, to set the tone for the rest of the marriage.

Personally, I don’t go on dates. So the story above is just an example. But if I go to dinner with a female business associate, the story usually plays out the same way. The difference is that she might pick up the check if we are talking business, and the night ends earlier.

I won’t reopen the discussion of gender pay imbalance in this post. I’ll just summarize by saying that well-informed feminists don’t see much gender discrimination in the data. So if you think women in the United States are paid less for the same work, please take it up with well-informed feminists. I’m just reporting what they say.

Women have made an issue of the fact that men talk over women in meetings. In my experience, that’s true. But for full context, I interrupt anyone who talks too long without adding enough value. If most of my victims turn out to be women, I am still assumed to be the problem in this situation, not the talkers. The alternative interpretation of the situation – that women are more verbal than men – is never discussed as a contributing factor to interruptions. Can you imagine a situation where – on average – the people who talk the most do NOT get interrupted the most? I don’t know if the amount of talking each person does is related to the amount of interrupting they experience, or if there is a gender difference to it, but it seems like a reasonable hypothesis. My point is that men are assumed guilty in this country. We don’t even explore their alibis. (And watch the reaction to even bringing up the topic.)

Now compare our matriarchy (that we pretend is a patriarchy) with the situation in DAESH-held territory. That’s what a male-dominated society looks like. It isn’t pretty. The top-ranked men have multiple wives and the low-ranked men either have no access to women, or they have sex with captured slaves.

While I’m being politically incorrect, let me describe to you the mind of a teenage boy. Our frontal lobes aren’t complete. We don’t imagine the future. Our bodies want sex more than we want to stay alive. Literally. Lonely boys tend to be suicidal when the odds of future female companionship are low. 

So if you are wondering how men become cold-blooded killers, it isn’t religion that is doing it. If you put me in that situation, I can say with confidence I would sign up for suicide bomb duty. And I’m not even a believer. Men like hugging better than they like killing. But if you take away my access to hugging, I will probably start killing, just to feel something. I’m designed that way. I’m a normal boy. And I make no apology for it.

Now consider the controversy over the Syrian immigrants. The photos show mostly men of fighting age. No one cares about adult men, so a 1% chance of a hidden terrorist in the group – who might someday kill women and children – is unacceptable. I have twice blogged on the idea of siphoning out the women and small kids from the Caliphate and leaving millions of innocent adult men to suffer and die. I don’t recall anyone complaining about leaving millions of innocent adult males to horrible suffering. In this country, any solution to a problem that involves killing millions of adult men is automatically on the table.

You want a linguistic kill shot to end DAESH recruiting? I don’t have the details worked out, but perhaps something along the lines of…

If you kill infidels, you will be rewarded with virgins in heaven. But if you kill your own leaders today – the ones holding the leash on your balls – you can have access to women tomorrow. And tomorrow is sooner.

Teens aren’t good at planning ahead. 

Note to Gawker Readers: I don’t say mutual consent is necessary because that should be obvious. If you’re hung up on that, you’re missing the point.

If you think this blog is bad, you should see my book.


France, I hope you know we have your backs. Always will.

It’s time to put a wall around the Caliphate and remove all the heathen-built technology inside, including all forms of digital communication. We can add back food, medical supplies, and primitive farm tools. Let’s do some A-B testing and let God decide which system works best.

Sometimes the best way to change a person’s mind is by agreeing with them. That’s a trick I learned in hypnosis class. The method works so well (on the right personality types) that it looks like magic. 

So let’s actively and obviously help the bad guys achieve their Caliphate. That will rewire their brains overnight.

If you want to kill people, you need a military leader. But if you’re trying to win a global mind game, call Tony Robbins, or someone with similar skills. We need to go at the idea directly.

We have a collective illusion – because we hear it so often in the media – that you can’t kill an idea. But the truth is that you absolutely can kill an idea. You just need the right kind of killers. So far we haven’t tried. 

Update: Let me better explain what I mean by “agreeing with them.” I explained that poorly to the point of misleading.

I don’t mean literally agreeing. In this context, we would be agreeing with a modified version of their truth, in order to change it. That’s the technique.

So we would not be agreeing with the world conquest part of the ideology. We would be silent on that. We would be agreeing that their view of how to run the world (Sharia law and the rest) is worth testing, to show the world that God is on their side. So we give them space to run their test, whether they want that or not. 

The “truth” we would be agreeing with is that their version of how to live is worthy of some space to test it. But to keep the test pure, we would want to remove all the heathen influences, such as technology.

It doesn’t matter if they like any of that. We’d be agreeing with them as hard as we can, even while they argue that our agreement is not agreement at all, which will confuse their clean recruiting message and make them nuts.

ISIS needs enemies in order to grow. If we stop acting like enemies (bombing) and start acting like allies (airdropping food, supplies, farming tools, even Korans) it makes things confusing over there. We want ISIS to be telling villagers that we are the enemy at the same time we are giving them free supplies and ISIS is beheading them.

We could also create multiple escape paths for the innocents, but only for the women, girls, and boys under 6 (for example). ISIS can’t block every escape path. Over time, we drain out the women and put them in a defended area in the region. Eventually the younger men will turn on the older men over the issue of access to women. 

Once the “califake” is formed, and all travel and communication is shut off, we can take our time. I think science has reached the point where we can drug the water supply with chemicals to reprogram the population to whatever personality types we prefer. Do we want them docile? Can do!

I also think we should be testing some brainwashing techniques to see what it would take to reprogram young jihadists away from that way of life. We have plenty of captured folks to practice on, or we could capture enough of them if we aimed to do so. All we need to do is hook them up to brain scanners and A-B test a bunch of images and arguments until we find out what works best. Then we package it as the best propaganda of all time.

My (highly informed) opinion is that we could engineer a linguistic kill shot to discredit the violent jihadists and end their recruitment. Are we already doing it?

I saw today that France has decided to stop using the terms ISIS and ISIL because those acronyms confer too much respect on them as a “state.” Instead the French now prefer the more insulting term DAESH that has an insult built into it. 

But that’s a rookie move, and far from a linguistic kill shot. There is no stickiness to it. It has no Trumplike magic.

We can fix that. 

I would make some linguistic kill shot suggestions here but I don’t think I can engineer one that survives translation. And I don’t understand the culture enough to be confident in how to manipulate it. But people with my skill set and better vision on the language and culture certainly could.

If anyone in the CIA is reading this, and you don’t think this idea is feasible, you really need to talk to me. Or look who is leading the Republican nomination race and ask yourself why.

Influence is a real skill set. 

Update 2: See this story about how the science of influence was used to reduce smoking rates in teens. What could be harder than that? And it worked.

Update 3: The uber-hacker group Anonymous just declared war on DAESH. If world governments won’t put DAESH in “digital jail,” perhaps the vigilantes will. Is this the first time a civilian organization ever declared war and had the means to pursue it?

How a Hypnotist Would Solve ISIS

You can’t bomb an idea to death. So how do you ever defeat the idea that is ISIS?

To kill an idea, you need a hypnotist, or someone skilled in the art of persuasion. I’ll describe one way to do it. I do not expect any of the candidates to favor this approach. So what follows is not a policy suggestion so much as an example of how a trained hypnotist would kill an idea.

[As always, don’t take cartoonists too seriously. In this blog we kick around new ideas for entertainment. New readers of this blog need to know I am a trained hypnotist.]

A hypnotist would start by defining ISIS in a way that is true (enough) but provides some sort of psychological advantage. For example, you could start by defining the ISIS brand of Islam as “historical” as opposed to modern. That might not be the right world, but you get the idea. We want a label that is fresh (such as “low-energy” or “nice”) so we can imbue it with the qualities we want. In this model, we stop using the old language of “religious extremists” and similar labels because the old words have not helped us enough.

Then we A-B test historical Islam versus modern Islam to see which one does best.

The way you A-B test “historical” Islam is by first putting a wall around the ISIS caliphate, which means a combination of drones, mines, fences, moats, and whatever works. Neighboring countries will do the heavy lifting on the borders. They have the money and the incentive to keep ISIS out.

Some of you will say walls never work. And that is true if you are speaking in military terms. A wall won’t stop an army in the long run. But this wall would not be built to stop an army. Nor would it stop every individual with bad intent. It doesn’t need to.

We are trying to kill an idea with this wall. The wall would exist to define the territory where the idea will be tested. In this context, the wall can be a little bit porous and still work okay.

Once the border around the caliphate is mostly secure, we declare that “historical Islam” is on one side of the wall and modern Islam is (mostly) everywhere else. Instead of saying we want to kill all folks who subscribe to this “historical” brand of ISIS Islam, we say we want to see how their world thrives compared to ours. So our plan is to leave the Caliphate alone and see how they do.

Here’s the best part of the plan: Over time, our stated objective would be to drain from the caliphate all technology that was invented or manufactured by heathens. The ISIS-controlled caliphate would be left with an “historical” version of Islam. That would be our gift to them. We’re just trying to help.

We could remove modern transportation options from ISIS by bombing oil refineries and keeping borders sealed. I hope we can someday use drones to jam satellite signals over selected areas as well. Eventually all electric power plants would be removed from the Caliphate, and their electronic devices would become worthless.

But that isn’t enough. We also need to provide massive amounts of pre-modern farming supplies, food, and medical supplies, so the innocent population can eat, and also to reinforce the image that we are helping ISIS get to their “historical” version of Islam. 

For example, we might airdrop plows and seeds and other early farming implements. And all of it should have a label that says we are supporting ISIS in its plan to live a pre-modern version of Islam. I would go so far as to provide copies of the Koran – lots of them – with no edits and no surprises. We might include a cover letter explaining our helpfulness and our desire to let the Caliphate thrive under its own set of rules. 

The leaders of ISIS will have a hard time convincing the locals that the countries giving them free farming supplies are the enemy.

Once we create a “digital jail” for ISIS, where no one can use modern technology to communicate, and almost no one can leave or enter, we will also control their access to news. And that’s what you need to kill an idea. 

Obviously we would need to be proactive about allowing innocents to leave the Caliphate. And by innocents, I mean women and small kids. The men of fighting age probably have to stay, so they can kill whatever is left of ISIS when the time comes.

The basic idea I am proposing is to switch from enemy mode (killing humans) to helpful mode (removing heathen technology). Instead of saying we want to end ISIS, say we want to give them a chance to show the world they are right. Just as soon as they give up their heathen-made technology.

If you want to kill an idea, you have to go after the idea directly. And the best way to kill an idea is with a friendly embrace and a bright light. 

Trump says he wants to put a wall around ISIS and bomb their oil refineries. That’s how a Master Persuader approaches this sort of thing. 

President Obama: Wizard or Failure?

Russia is moving into Old Syria. Iran already owns the parts of Old Iraq that ISIS and the Kurds do not. Israel fears that the nuclear deal with Iran is a mistake of unthinkable proportions.

The data suggests that President Obama is a total failure when it comes to the Middle East.

Or… he is one of the most gifted wizards of persuasion and strategy our generation has ever seen.

The data fits both interpretations. You already know the interpretation that says Obama failed. Allow me to give you another interpretation – one that isn’t necessarily true – but happens to fit the data.

And the fun part is that we can make predictions based on both filters and see which one does the best job of explaining our reality. Just for fun. Don’t get your opinions on world politics from cartoonists.

The Master Wizard Hypothesis says there are people so skilled in the art of persuasion that they control world events while sometimes pretending they are inept, to cover their tracks.

The Master Wizard filter says that President Obama – magnificent bastard and Commander in Chief – just suckered Russia and Iran into the quicksand while taking The United States out of an endless and unwinnable fight.

And … doomed ISIS in the process.

The United States can’t defeat ISIS militarily because doing so would require killing too many civilians. Russia and Iran will have fewer problems in that regard because they control their media and their leaders don’t need to ask permission.

And let’s say you want to build a virtual wall around ISIS to contain them. You would need a substantial military power to guard the coast.

You need Russia. 

Right where they are deploying.

The Master Wizard filter says President Obama has a winning plan for eradicating ISIS at the lowest cost for Americans. America’s frenemies have now encircled ISIS, and the American media with their freedom of the press will not be there to watch what happens next.

ISIS is reportedly planting landmines around captured cities to keep the civilian population from escaping. They expected the United States to avoid bombing population centers. 

They were right.

But they they did not expect the United States to turn over the fight to Russia and Iran.

ISIS is done. 

Unfortunately, so is the civilian population in ISIS-held territory. But living under ISIS probably isn’t much of a life either. And I have heard no one suggest a more humane solution.

The Master Wizard filter says President Obama either created this perfect situation or recognized the opportunity and encouraged it. 

That would be totally bad-ass. 

The Master Wizard filter also says Iran and the United States are cooperating behind the scenes and getting more comfortable as allies. In the long run, Iran was going to get a nuke if it wanted one. A Master Wizard of Persuasion would seek to keep his enemies close, where persuasion works best. Distance and non-contact are the enemies of persuasion. According to the Master Wizard filter, building an active engagement with Iran, combined with skillful persuasion, reduces risk. (Only a Master Wizard could feel confident in that plan.)

I’m not saying the Master Wizard interpretation of reality is true. I’m just saying the data fits the interpretation. We shall see what the future holds.

Donald Trump, another skilled deal-maker and persuader, also favors walling off ISIS territory to strangle them. In Trump’s case there is also a branding benefit when you define a border. One side can be TERRIBLE while the other is FABULOUS.

Update: Iran’s Supreme Leaders banned further negotiating with the United States because he says we are trying to “influence” Iran. Have you ever heard language like that before?

Update on the ISIS “Filter Fence”

Last August I described in this blog an idea for creating a safe zone for civilians that want to escape ISIS-held territory. You can see that here. The idea is based on a novel I wrote years ago, the sequel to God’s Debris, called The Religion War.

The idea is that a friendly country would create a well-defended safe zone that could be used over time to drain the civilians from ISIS territory. Once you have as many innocents out of the Caliphate as you reasonably can, which could take years, you seal the borders, cut off communication, and let nature do the rest.

There are all kinds of problems with that plan, but compared to the terrible alternatives, I think it has to be considered as an option. And now it looks like something akin to that plan is under motion. Turkey is likely to carve out a safe zone near its borders to block ISIS supply lines, create a buffer zone, and…create a haven for refugees.

No one would call it a Filter Fence because the primary objectives are cutting ISIS supply routes and defending Turkey’s borders. But the result will be a Filter Fence with a safe zone to drain civilians out of the area. 

Saudi Arabia is already building a “bad ass” wall to keep ISIS out. Turkey’s future safe zone will be the second wall. If Iran figures out a way to seal their border tight (and obviously they are working on it) you have a pretty good Filter Fence in place. Here I’m assuming Israel and Jordan have their borders under control as well. Here’s a refresher map of the region.

You hated the Filter Fence idea when I first raised it. But it looks like things are evolving in that direction. In The Religion War, the trigger for sealing the Caliphate involves terrorist drone attacks around the world. That seems inevitable.

Am I the only one who sees the Filter Fence around ISIS as 100% likely? (Barring a meteor striking Earth, or something else that big.)


In Top Tech Blog, thank goodness someone finally figured out how to run an annealing algorithm to find the lowest points, corresponding to optimal or near optimal solutions, in a virtual “energy landscape.” Also, blah, blah, something quantum computing.

And now you can 3D-print a human heart. I think that is the perfect gift for a romantic partner. (This is just a small sample of why I am not married.)

Apparently it is Samsung’s turn to say it is inventing an awesome battery technology that won’t be ready for market soon. Next! 

How Would You Solve ISIS?

Today, as is often the case, I will write about a topic I do not understand. You don’t need to remind me of that fact in the comments. But I do enjoy learning, so educate me if you need to.

Now let’s get to it…

ISIS continues to gain ground and no one, including the United States military, has any practical option for stopping it. 

So what would you do if you were in charge of creating U.S. strategy?

In my 2004 book, The Religion War, I predicted the rise of the Caliphate and the inability of the major powers to control it. In that story, the solution involved putting a wall around the Caliphate and cutting it off from the world before “depopulating” it. That isn’t a practical plan at the moment, but I am sure it will come to that when ISIS drones start attacking the U.S. Mainland. (I wrote the book as a prediction.)

At the moment, ISIS seems to me like a problem for Iran and Saudi Arabia to solve. The U.S. gains by staying in the fight on some modest level, but mostly to increase influence, improve intelligence assets, kill some high-profile bad guys, and generally understand the area better. “Winning” isn’t one of the likely outcomes.

The big problem that ISIS has going forward is that they have no air force, no superpower allies, and an entire world that wants them dead. Once they set up a more conventional government to run the Caliphate, all they will be doing is building targets that will disappear about the same time the punch lists are finished.

I think the likely outcome of ISIS is that it will give all the players in the Middle East, plus the United States, a common enemy for a change. So as long as ISIS is contained, and there is plenty of oil from other sources, the United States might come out ahead. 

Call me an optimist, but something about the ISIS situation looks like a step in the right direction for the rest of the world because it will turn traditional state enemies into frenemies. And that probably reduces the odds of, for example, Iran trying to nuke anyone. You nuke your enemies, maybe, but probably not your frenemies.

So my suggestion for dealing with ISIS is to let them win ugly (with plenty of losses) and then let them fail as a state, once you wall it off. And perhaps you let that play out over thirty years.

ISIS makes a great bogey man.

Let’s hear your plan.

Scott Adams

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