Originally posted by sh76
You're not the President of the United States. The President of the United States has influence and is expected to lead. Refusing to even acknowledge the root of a problem makes the President look like he's intentionally wearing blinders. I get why he's doing it (not wanting to tick off a billion people is a reason that has some appeal), but pretending that radical Islam is not a major problem seems bizarrely naive.
Peter Beinert has an excellent article in Haaretz explaining what right wingers are really doing when they claim the West is at war with "radical Islam":
Bush, Cruz and Trump love the term “radical Islam” because it supposedly provides “moral clarity” to America’s anti-terror war. But there’s a problem. A term can’t provide “moral clarity” if you don’t know what it means.
“Radical” has two meanings. The first is “fundamental.” “Radical” comes from the Latin “radix,” which means “root.” When Omar Mateen murdered 49 LGBT night clubbers, was he reflecting the fundamentals of Islam? Many Republicans think so. A December 2015 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 68 percent of Republicans, compared to only 30 percent of Democrats, believe that Islam is more likely than other religions to promote violence among its adherents.
If “radical” means “fundamental” or “essential,” then “radical Islam” is redundant. Saying America is at war with “radical Islam” is pretty much the same as saying that America is at war with Islam.
That’s certainly what ISIS believes. And it’s not far from what Trump believes either. After all, the presumptive Republican nominee didn’t respond to the San Bernardino shooting by calling for the United States to ban “radical Muslims” from entering from the United States. If he had, he would have had to explain which Muslims are “radical” and which are not. Instead, he called for banning all Muslims. The implication is that all Muslims are “radical,” at least until proven otherwise.
Obama and Clinton say the United States is at war with ISIS (as well as its forerunner, Al-Qaida). That makes sense because Americans know what ISIS is. It also makes sense to define ISIS as a “totalitarian” Islamic organization, which uses terrorism to achieve its goals. It makes sense because since the middle of the twentieth century, political theorists have developed an understanding of what totalitarianism is.
“Radical Islam,” by contrast, can’t be coherently defined. It means either that Islam itself is the problem or it means that an unusual version of Islam is the problem — without ever defining what makes that version of Islam so bad. The phrase sounds menacing but is intellectually worthless. Much like the man who now puts it at the center of his presidential campaign.