Nobody can claim, as George W. Bush did, that ‘we’re going to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here,’ because they’re already ‘here’ with a vengeance.
Donald Trump was right. The special pleading around the question of whether to call terrorism by radical Muslims “radical Islamic terrorism” clouded a critical issue. The fight against extremism must start with ideas, and with language that is clear and unequivocal. Which is why we should be perfectly blunt about what Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old monster of Christchurch, claimed to represent, and did and does represent, which is white nationalist terrorism.
Tarrant may have been a lone shooter when he slaughtered 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday, but he was not a “lone wolf.” He was part of a much wider movement that is every bit as extensive as Al Qaeda was when it attacked the United States in 2001, and potentially much more dangerous to the future of Western democracies.
Now, before it grows any stronger, should be the time to move against it with the same kind of concerted international focus of attention and resources that were trained on Osama bin Laden. Now is the time for a global war on white nationalist terrorism.
But that’s not likely to happen. As The Daily Beast reported on Friday, fewer than one in five FBI cases target white supremacists.
Nobody can claim, as the George W. Bush administration did, that “we’re going to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here,” because they are already “here” with a vengeance, steadily increasing their power and presence in Western democracies.
Networks of white nationalist apologists, sympathizers, supporters and facilitators—vital to any terrorist movement—are deeply embedded in the political and social fabric. They are literally the enemy within. As an apologist, it should be said, President Donald Trump is in a class by himself. Trump is “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” as Tarrant wrote in his manifesto.