There are some good national security analysts at work and CNN’s Peter Bergan is one of them.  I just wish that Congress and the American public would pay some actual attention to what Bergan says.  He recently published and excellent appraisal of the overall Jihadi threat and I wanted to share it.  It clearly defines the lines between local jihadi insurgency and the more threatening pan-global groups who have the ability to attack anywhere including Europe and America.  I do think he underestimates the degree to which individuals in certain of the groups would strike at Americans and Europeans if given a chance, in efforts ranging from new plots to bomb airliners to beheading tourists or aid workers within their reach.   Bergan’s article actually estimates the size of the global Jihadi threat and I highly recommend it – with one exception:

It wasn’t until I reached the very end of it that I drew back and shook my head at his statement that the historically the jihadi threat is relatively inconsequential.  His premise for that statement was to compare it to the 60 million man Soviet and Warsaw pact armies and the Soviet strategic nuclear capability. Based on that he concluded that today’s threat is not comparable to that faced during the Cold War. My objection to that view is that it’s not at all a relative comparison. The Soviets understood the “calculus of force” and by the time they achieved nuclear parity, they were actually quite satisfied by mutual assured destruction. While Stalin was a wild card in the early days, for most of the Cold War any military activity was between surrogates – and the Soviets never used their surrogates to actually attack the American homeland.  The Soviets accepted a state of Cold War, in contrast the jihadi movement declared itself to be literally at war with American in 1998 and continues to demonstrate that reality.   And as religious zealots, they are subject to no calculus of force nor amenable to a status quo.

Good analysis Peter, but comparing what the Soviets could have done with what the jihadi actually do on a regular basis is off base in my estimate.




About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

4 responses »

  1. Jim Stubbs says:

    I agree with you. The threat posed by current jihadists is very different from the conflict the west faced with the USSR. I believe that the current jihadist threat is driven more by an obsession with power, using a percption of Islam as an excuse. While they may belive that they are doing Allah’s work, I think that the urge for power wielded with the sword is at their root. Barbarians, in short.

    • I totally agree, their behavior is really far beyond the bounds of religious fanaticism, the mass rapes, the plundering, the genocide – looks much more like Attila or Genghis Khan. Its also pretty obvious they are actually enjoying terrorizing people and committing mass murders. I can’t for the life of me see why any military units are surrendering to them…

      • Jim Stubbs says:

        I’m not really a bood thirsty person, but I believe that something like ISIS et al is something that has to be crushed, ruthlessly, before it gains much ground. For those who don’t think they’re a threat, I believe that if ISIS gains enough adherents in the Middle easst and elsewhere, they may seriously affect the functioning and policies of some nation states. It would eventually make them a world threat to more than us. In word and deed they’ve shown us who they are. Believe them. Remember Adolph. Dead early versus 50 million dead later.

      • Well I’m either a hawkish liberal or a liberal hawk…hard to say which. The last political classification quiz I took rated me as being democrat, republican, libertarian and green – I think maybe their calculator just threw up its hands…grin. More seriously though, my studies have inclined me to relive that in most cases of American covert or overt military intervention we have made mistakes by not understanding the root causes such as anti-colonialism or local government corruption and tried to impose our world view, most often accomplishing little in the long run. However I see ISIS and radical jihadi insurgencies as very much different indeed – just as Fascism would not have been content with just part of the world, neither will they. They truly are on a crusade and they are a world threat. Certainly the pure jihadi’s are taking advantage of corrupt central governments and dramatic economic imbalances in many nations, all their recruits are not barbarians. But just with any crowd mentality, its easy to push them into it in the heat of battle. Many officers in Hitler’s SS were initially highly principled and even religious, the culture they entered turned them barbaric – its the nature of the human beast it appears. We had best act accordingly and not count the costs to closely; my problem is that we are truly in a war whether we accept it or not and we need to act like it.

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