What is needed at this stage is to derive lessons from the experience of the Cold War, determine their applicability to the conditions of the Muslim world today, and develop a "road map" for the construction of moderate and liberal Muslim networks—what this study proposes to do.
The goals of the report and some of the specific tools listed are:
Some key implementation tools
Now, insha'allah, I'll write some more specific comments in future posts, but I wanted to make two general comments now. One, the chapter on the "Southeast Asian Pillar" was generally accurate and "decent." There wasn't much there to offend or even that goes against local attitudes about Islam and how it should be presented to the outside world.
On the other hand, the chapter about "Secular Muslims," the so-called "forgotten dimension in the war of ideas," is largely crap as far as I'm concerned. I think one of the things these non-Muslim ideological types at RAND can't understand is that most Muslims will not work with the so-called "Secular Muslims" (an oxymoron if ever there was one). The likes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, et al (who are mentioned in the report) will turn away the very moderate Muslims RAND wishes to work with. Any reform of the Muslim world MUST be done ONLY by Muslims - apostates need not apply. Far better for RAND to work solely with Muslims and ignore the "Secular Muslims" altogether, even if they are ideological bedfellows.
Altogether I am very mistrustful of RAND's work. I think activist Muslims should read through the report, though, borrowing what little that is good and using its ideas to develop counter-strategies to block or divert that which is bad.
Update: Jinnzaman has a very good analysis of the Rand report here.