A while back, I created a map overlay demonstrating the worldwide threats, with a focus on Islamism but also including secular and Communist regimes that ideologically or violently oppose us. The world has changed since then. Reluctant allies have distanced themselves in the last 3 years. Lasting allies have fallen. Old enemies have fallen to new enemies. And my current picture editor isn't as good as the one I had then.
There is one small speck of good change in the world. The Sudan split into two nations, helping to decrease the mass genocide of Islamists killing Christians and Animists in the newest Nation of South Sudan. The South Sudanese have an uphill battle to establish their new government and this success began its path years ago. North Sudan remains Islamist, in greater concentration.
Unfortunately, Islamism has spread dramatically in the last year, both in its violent attacks and in its takeovers of governments. Tunisia was the first to fall, followed by Egypt, while the Islamist party of Turkey retained its power. Some have hailed these as successes for democracy, but it is a failure of US Foreign Policy and a blow to Freedom.
The Obama Administration's response to seeing mass protests against an old ally was precisely as was the Carter Administration's. Both in Tehran 1978 and Cairo 2011, the Administration urged a Military Coup against an allied leader. The difference is that the Egyptian Generals were actually able to hold the reins of power for a short period of time, while the Iranian Generals had never really taken the concept as reasonable. In both cases, the protestors were a mix of those supporting Freedom and Democracy and those supporting Islamism. Forces for Democracy outnumbered forces for Islamism, but the Islamists were better organized.
The Tunisians saw the writing on the wall and began a mass exodous even as the Islamists were flying back in. Italy was overwhelmed with refugees. The Islamist Party of Tunisia gained the votes to be the primary force in the new Constitution.
The Egyptian Generals set up a new government to transition to the future, but the Muslim Brotherhood knew that the longer political parties had to organize, the less influence they would have in the elections and in the resulting writing of the Constitution. As of the final week of 2011, the first two rounds of elections in Egypt have produced a 2/3rds majority of Islamist parties. The biggest opposition to the Islamist party of the Muslim Brotherhood isn't communists, socialists, or democrats. The biggest opposition are even more radical Islamists.
Already, the Islamists of Egypt are looking to their new power. They don't want to kill tourism. They just want to end the "sins" of tourism and protect Egypt from the sins of Western Freedoms, specifically among them, Gay Marriage. The minority (10%) Coptic Christians may have found themselves the subject of attacks before, but the future looks bleaker under the Islamist regime that will follow, with none of the minimal protections of the Army.
As the world began to realize that Arab Spring meant Islamists would take power in elections, the politicians that had made it possible told us that Islamism was political Islam, and hence a victory for democracy. They told us that because the Islamists were instituting their tyranny through government dictate rather than violent overthrow, it was better. What they didn't say, out loud, was that whether political or violent, Islamism wishes to suppress Freedoms, particularly the Freedoms of women. Already the Political Islamists of Egypt are looking to segregate beaches and education.
But the spread of "political" Islamism is not the only advance of the enemy. In Yemen, violent Islamism has combined with political Islamism in what was already a hotbed for terrorism, and it appears to be on the cusp of victory, with the urging of the Obama Administration to push the friendly non-Islamist President out of power.
And Somalia is no closer to an end of the Islamist assault than it was when the Clinton Administration pulled out of it in 1993. In fact, despite greater resolve of the African Union and neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya, the Islamist Violence is spreading into those neighbors, along with the refugees fleeing the famine of Somalia, and the refusal of Islamists to allow food aid in, to starving Somalis.
Al-Qaeda in North Africa continues its violence there, even as Morrocco, Algeria, and Mali make political concessions to Islamism.
But the Al-Qaeda affiliate, Boko Haram, has been increasing its violence exponentially since 2009. Nigeria is quickly becoming the front lines in the War On Terrorism, but the Nigerians have been left to fend for themselves. Boko Haram has an agenda of creating at a minimum the North Nigerian Islamist Dictatorship. Attacking and killing Christians on Christmas has become their annual tradition.
While few could have predicted some of these outcomes in 2008, there is one that a number of experts did predict. It wasn't difficult and didn't take an expert. When it became known that Candidate Obama was stating he would make a policy of aerial bombardments of US Ally Pakistan, even the semi-literate in Foreign Policy stepped up to publicly say it was a bad idea. The question in many minds is whether the Pakistani Nukes will fall to Islamism, or the Iranian Islamism will gain Nuclear Weapons first. At this stage, it appears to be only a matter of time before Islamists have nukes.
Pakistan may have been a reluctant ally from 2001 to 2008, but a reluctant ally is better than a hostile opponent. Obama kept his promise, despite his later claims he wouldn't, and dramatically increased Drone attacks into Pakistan. The Paki people were outraged that their government was powerless to stop the incursions into their airspace. Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Haqqani gained new support inside Pakistan, as the Pakis increased attacks on US Supply convoys into Afghanistan. The attacks increased when the Paki Government blocked the routes to pressure the Obama Administration to better coordinate with it. Hundred of Thousands, if not Millions of dollars of supplies and fuel have been torched in Pakistan, as well as Pakistani Muslims killed by Islamists.
The Paki People and Government accepted that some attacks would occur on their territory, by us, and were necessary to fight the common enemy, particularly when it came to high level terrorists. The Bush Administration had set up a way to do what had to be done, while allowing the Paki government to save face. The Paki Government occasionally complained publicly, while quietly assisting the Bush Administration take out Al-Qaeda and other terrorists. The mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, himself was captured in a joint US-Pakistani operation.
Today, the Pakistani Government is openly co-operating with Iran while it severs relations with the US. It has shut down the supply routes through Pakistan, and the Islamist Party there is gaining popularity. This is not the result of a single attack that killed OBL. It is the result of years of drone attacks, undermining support for the US.
In the one place where there has been opportunity to turn back Islamism, the Obama Administration did nothing. It didn't even have strong words against the Islamist Government of Iran, even as that old enemy, born under the Carter Administration, slaughtered its citizens in the streets. Perhaps this was the situation Biden promised us when he told us that the Administration would be tested and fail in Foreign Policy. We're left to wonder if Biden kept his promise to "be in the room" while Obama failed.
So, while OBL and al-Awlaki have joined their colleagues the Bush Administration sent to hell, instead of those he sent to Gitmo, the world grows more dangerous daily with the spread of Islamism, electorally and violently, even as we and Our Allies cut the tools and Troops needed to hold the enemy at bay, and potential enemies in war, and current ideological enemies, such as China continue to build their military by double digit budget increases, and great technological advances.
Kennedy, whom Obama believes was a lesser President to him, understood the Domino Effect of Nations falling to communism. Johnson, whom Obama believes one of only 3 Presidents better than him, escalated the Viet Nam War, and interfered so greatly with the decisions of Generals, that he managed to hamstring them from winning.
Even in Iraq, Islamism appears to be on the rise, with Prime Minister Al-Maliki issuing arrest warrants for Sunni politicians the day after the last US Troops pulled out and a series of explosions the day after.
We have seen such a domino like fall of allies to enemy since the Viet Nam War ended in political defeat giving rise to the Carter forfeitures of Central America. But there is no Ronald Reagan on the horizon. There appears to be no resistance in the political world to continued cuts to the Military.
Previously 2009: The Original: "How Global is the War on Terrorism" with map of the then current map.