Feeling nice and safe today, are you?
The president realizes he has no choice but to cultivate the Muslim Brotherhood and other relatively "moderate" Islamist groups emerging as lead political players out of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere. (The Muslim Brotherhood officially renounced violence decades ago, leading then-dissident radicals such as Ayman al-Zawahiri to join al Qaida.)
It is no longer the case, in other words, that every Islamist is seen as a potential accessory to terrorists. "The war on terror is over," one senior State Department official who works on Mideast issues told me. "Now that we have killed most of al Qaida, now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism."
I've written several times over the past 10 years, during both the Bush and Obama adminsitrations, that one of the dangers of waging a "war on terror" is that we'll never know when it's over. It never occurred to me that it could end as Korea and Vietnam did, with us just walking away. "Never mind. Didn't mean it after all. So sorry."
The Weekly Standard notes the change:
This new outlook is radically different than what was expressed under President George W. Bush immediately after September 11, 2001. "Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity," Bush said on November 6, 2001. "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror."
For President Barack Obama, it would seem, one can be both with us and against us--or not with us, but not quite against us.
Even with his conservatism suspect, Romney's looking better all the time, eh?