Violence perpetrated against innocent people for political effect is neither acceptable nor normal.
It’s true that cross-border grievances, incubated in countries far from the democracies in which we live and frequently visit, are hatched and exported to places like London, Manchester, and New York.
The plotters and perpetrators of these attacks, hiding out in in far away places, must be stamped out just as we would stamp out a flickering ember in a parched landscape.
But it’s also true that many of the grievances that are playing themselves out as terrorist attacks are hatched and carried out by citizens of the very countries they are targeting.
These people aren’t working with an international band of plotters, scheming about building a web of interrelated and international attacks in the name of jihad.
Instead, they are frustrated people who feel disenfranchised and marginalized.
They are looking for a cause, any cause, that gives them hope, and that their lives meaning. In many ways, they are not different from the citizens who are prime targets for populist rallying cries about making America, or France, or The Netherlands great again.
If we are truly committed to curbing terrorism at home and abroad then, yes, we must tactically—and sometimes tactfully—eliminate with force the threats we face.
But, at the same time, we must ensure that we continue to strive for—and build—civil and welcoming societies that do not discriminate based on skin color, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or one’s choice of headwear.
More than military might, or any immigration ban, civility and inclusivity will be the difference makers in the fight against terrorism.
It’s the 5th of June, 2017.
You can reach me on Twitter at @DecisionLab.