I just finished doing a quick edit of an interview by some of my fellow Brown Punditeers with some fellows at the Middle East Forum (I posted for Patrons, should be live on the podcast in a few days). Listening I felt like I was being thrown back to 2005. All the talk about Islamism, and radicalism, etc.
From an intellectual perspective, I’m still interested in these issues, but they are not as live and salient as they were a decade ago. In the 2000s we spent a lot of time trying to understand violent Islamic radicalism. A lot of analysis of ideology. Reading of history. Modeling of various social factors.
But at the end of the day, I wonder if it’s a basic structural-demographic dynamic. The fuel of political and religious radicalism are young men. Is there enough fuel today to make Islamic radicalism the problem it was even a decade ago? Will we see ISIS as the last hurrah, the sendoff of a late 20th-century social movement that ran out of recruits?