Friday night’s attacks in Paris made all my plans for today’s Sift obsolete. Naturally, a one-man blog can’t cover breaking news, so I’ll direct you elsewhere for that.
But there’s a larger issue of how the West should respond to terrorism launched by groups who claim to represent all of Islam. Getting the frame right is very important here. The neo-cons get this, so they always have the Munich frame handy: If we don’t stop ISIS now, they’ll just get stronger and be harder to stop later.
But a few thousand zealots in the desert between Syria and Iraq are not Germany in 1938. A handful of guys with AK-47s and grenades in Paris are not General Guderian’s panzer corps. Treating them as if they are might do more harm than good.
Realizing that the Munich frame doesn’t fit, though, doesn’t give us a better frame. I’ll take a shot at what the right frame is in this week’s featured post “A Mediation on Terrorism”. That should appear maybe 9ish EST.
In the weekly summary, I’ll recall some of my earlier (and longer) writings on terrorism. (Back in 2004, “Terrorist Strategy 101: a quiz” was one of my first blog posts to get a readership beyond my friends. On its ten-year anniversary, I updated it with “Terrorist Strategy 101: a review“.) I’ll also link to some other people whose views seem insightful.
But a weekly summary can’t be 100% grim, so I’ll also discuss the Starbucks red-cup controversy and make fun of some of the odder ideas in Tuesday’s Republican debate. By the time the Democratic debate rolled around on Saturday, I was already focused on Paris, so I’ll punt that to next week. There’s also the University of Missouri protests to talk about. And I’ll close by pointing out the one thing Starbucks could do to make the cup controversy even more contentious.