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The Age of Fear Continues

David Rothkopf is worried that the "Age of Fear" is not over yet. The Bush and Obama presidencies both made the international war on terror a central tenet of US foreign policy. It became the central national issue. Rothkopf had hoped that the 2016 election would mark a return to a broader foreign policy agenda, one that focused more on the larger trends going on in the world (from rising powers to the challenges of global governance).

As appalling terrorist attacks are, from New York to Paris to Orlando, they in themselves are not existential threats to our nations or our way of life. Accordingly, the real targets of terrorist attacks are not the people they kill, but those who magnify the fear they feed on. Terrorists of any kind are really "fear entrepreneurs", so making terrorism the centerpiece of a presidential election campaign will only play into the hands of ISIS and serve to reinforce the "Age of Fear".

Donald Trump's campaign is successfully tapping into the diffuse fear and anger America has been experiencing since 9/11 - and his response to the Orlando attack is making everything worse:

Trump "places the threat posed by the relatively small number of extremists in the world (there are perhaps 30,000 members of the Islamic State) on a par with the existential threat posed by the USSR during the Cold War. It is absurd. It is wrong. And it is damaging. It serves only one purpose: to stir up fear and support for his out-of-control policies."


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