The existential threat of Islamist extremism

Barack Obama has told us repeatedly that ISIS does not represent an existential threat to the United States. That is demonstrably true. Neither 49 deaths in Orlando nor 3000 on 9/11 will topple the world’s greatest democracy. But our democracy, like those in Europe, is not simply a set of laws inscribed on paper, but a set of values and traditions embraced by most, though not all, of the American people. And those values are under threat, not, as many of us are wont to say, simply by Donald Trump and trumpism, or neo-isolationists like Bernie Sanders and his sanderistas, nor even by the rise of proto-fascists and Soviet nostalgics throughout Europe.

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