We did it in World War II, where we demolished the mythos of the Übermensch and the similar mythos of the Samurai. We did this by destroying their will to fight, to support the fight, and to want to do it again.
The questions for the Middle East are:
- Who fights?
- Who supports these people?
- Who wants to keep doing it?
- Lots and lots of people. ISIS is only the latest of a long like of jihadis. We can treat them as the Übermenschen or followers of Bushido. In the short term, all we can do is kill them in bushel loads.
- Lots and lots of people, most importantly the royal houses of the Gulf States. Not only do the royals not like us, but they have been keen to play the game of shipping their malcontent jihadis off to die fighting us, not at home. It's no accident that 18 of the 20 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. We will need to cause these people massive pain to get them to stop supporting the jihadis.
- Lots of people. Large overlap with #2, but also includes Iran, most of Europe's Intelligentsia, Russia, China, and most of the geopolitical stage. We will need to carefully analyze which of these we can peel off, and how to twist the arms of the others.
#2 is the most urgent strategic goal. The approach we should take here is a list of demands for the Royal Houses - round up and kill these jihadis, throttle back on Wahabi exports, dry up the flow of money. The "Or Else" is that we will (a) open public lands for oil fracking, aiming to drive the price of oil down to $70/bbl (lower than that it's not economic to extract the oil) and (b) withdraw entirely from the region. No more protection from the US Military for the Royal Houses.
Whether this will work or not, there will be a lot of late night discussions in Riyadh and Qatar. And in Moscow and elsewhere.
Europe likes to natter on about how we exercise "hard power" while they exercise "soft power". Well OK, then. Check out this soft power, biatches.
This game is about changing how people think, just like 1944-45 was about changing how people think. We will never change that without changing how we think. Whether the US Government is up to the task is a question for another day.