Kagan ‘7 (Robert, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, “End of Dreams, Return of History,” Hoover Institution, No. 144, August/September)
Now and probably for the coming decades, organized terrorist groups will seek to strike at the United States, and at modernity itself, when and where they can. This war will not and cannot be the totality of America ’s worldwide strategy. It can be only a piece of it. But given the high stakes, it must be prosecuted ruthlessly, effectively, and for as long as the threat persists. This will sometimes require military interventions when, as in Afghanistan, states either cannot or will not deny the terrorists a base. That aspect of the “war on terror” is certainly not going away. One need only contemplate the American popular response should a terrorist group explode a nuclear weapon on American soil. No president of any party or ideological coloration will be able to resist the demands of the American people for retaliation and revenge, and not only against the terrorists but against any nation that aided or harbored them. Nor, one suspects, will the American people disapprove when a president takes preemptive action to forestall such a possibility — assuming the action is not bungled. The United States will not have many eager partners in this fight. For although in the struggle between modernization and tradition, the United States, Russia, China, Europe, and the other great powers are roughly on the same side, the things that divide them from each other — the competing national ambitions and ideological differences — will inevitably blunt their ability or their willingness to cooperate in the military aspects of a fight against radical Islamic terrorism.