by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Terrorism expert and former Carolina Journal Radio interviewee Juan Zarate offers the most interesting quote in TIME magazine’s report on the Obama administration’s latest approach to the Islamist threat.
[T]he terrorists didn’t care about what history advised or what democracy demanded. From Mali to Benghazi to Mosul to Karachi, they have grown in numbers and ferocity. The number of radical Islamic groups has increased nearly 60% in the past four years, according to a June study by the Rand Corp., while attacks by al-Qaeda and its affiliates–a category that doesn’t even include ISIS–have tripled. Al-Qaeda now seeks to radicalize India’s Muslims, even as militants multiply in post-Gaddafi Libya.
The new burst of radicalism–unleashed by the Arab Spring, fueled by social media and financed by wealthy donors, kidnapping and extortion–may not be Obama’s fault. But it is consuming his second term and shaping his legacy in unwanted ways. A leader who hoped to lower the temperature on terrorism finds his Vice President vowing to chase ISIS “to the gates of hell.”
“Here is a President who wanted to end the war on terror and is now dealing with a threat that is actually much more global, more metastasized and which requires the full panoply of U.S. tools and authorities in a way that I don’t think he imagined,” says Juan Zarate, a former top Homeland Security adviser in George W. Bush’s White House. “The term war on terror”–which Obama banished from official government usage–“is ironically more relevant today than it was on 9/11.”