Donald Trump is about to lead the West into the third and darkest phase of its 15-year quest to neutralize the threat of Islamic extremism. The first was George W. Bush’s freedom initiative, which posited that political liberalization in the Middle East’s rotting autocracies would dry up terrorist recruiting. The second was the engagement policy of Barack Obama, who bet that respectful dialogue and attention to Muslim demands for justice — above all for the Palestinians — would make the West a less compelling target.
Both were widely judged to be failures. Now the new president will embrace the approach that both Bush and Obama explicitly ruled out as morally wrong and practically counterproductive: civilizational conflict.
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