David Frum at the Atlantic explains the root of President Obama's insistence on downplaying the Islamic element inherent in the terrorism haunting America and the West:
In [UK prime minister David] Cameron’s view, violence is a symptom of a problem, but is not itself theproblem. The problem is the rejection of liberal values by a substantial number of recent immigrants to liberal societies, and by their children and grandchildren. Terrorism manifests that rejection, but even when terrorism is contained by effective police work, the challenge remains intact.
The Obama administration repudiates this view. The Obama administration believes the problem is violent extremism. Of course it’s wrong, in this view, to kill cartoonists who caricature Muhammad. But wishing such cartoons suppressed by non-violent means does not present a similarly-urgent threat. Indeed, those who wish such cartoons suppressed by means short of violence may be our best allies in the struggle against violence, precisely because they have the most credibility with the people who might otherwise turn to violence.
Frum cites a passage from Tom Wolfe's famous essay, "Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers," to demonstrate the mindset the Obama administration takes at bringing in "partners" to combat "violent extremism." Here's Wolfe, talking about anti-poverty programs of the 1960s:
The idea that the real leadership in the ghetto might be the gangs hung on with the poverty-youth-welfare establishment. It was considered a very sophisticated insight. The youth gangs weren't petty criminals ... there were "social bandits," primitive revolutionaries ... Of course, they were hidden from public view. That was why the true nature of ghetto leadership had eluded everyone for so long ... So the poverty professionals were always on the lookout for the bad-acting dudes who were the "real leaders," the "natural leaders," the "charismatic figures" in the ghetto jungle. These were the kind of people the social-welfare professionals in the Kennedy Administration had in mind when they planned the poverty program in the first place. It was a truly adventurous and experimental approach they had. Instead of handing out alms, which never seemed to change anything, they would encourage the people in the ghettos to organize. They would help them become powerful enough to force the Establishment to give them what they needed.
"What began as a farcical element of the antipoverty programs of the 1960s," Frum writes, "has ended in the tragedy of American national security policy in the 2010s."
Read the whole thing here.