strike at the root of (something)

strike at the root of (something)

To attack the central part or most crucial element of something; to attack the part that allows something to function. By cracking down on the opium trade, the task force is hoping to strike at the root of terrorist funding in the region. These are all short-term solutions; we need to strike at the root of the homelessness crisis.
See also: of, root, strike

strike at the root (or roots) of

have a potentially destructive effect on.
See also: of, root, strike