America’s top diplomat gets so many things wrong here that it’s hard to know where to start. He’s in Brussels, and during a press conference the subject of radicalization came up. Secretary of State John Kerry gets out in front of the facts.
The question from the reporter, according to a transcript provided by the State Department, was, “Sir, with the problem we have that young people go to Syria (inaudible), does that matter also to the U.S., do you have the same problem?”
“Well, of course we have the same problem. We just had a young person who went to Russia, Chechnya, who blew people up in Boston. So he didn’t stay where he went, but he learned something where he went and he came back with a willingness to kill people,” said Kerry.
That is suspected, but not yet proven. Jihadists don’t necessarily have to travel the world to become jihadists, not when the Internet can bring bin Laden and Awlaki back from the dead to exhort them to kill. There’s still the matter of where the Boston bombers learned to build their bombs, which could also have happened on the Internet or in Chechnya or someplace else. We just don’t know yet.
From there, Kerry goes off into an odd, one-world riff.
I think the world has had enough of people who have no belief system, no policy for jobs, no policy for education, no policy for rule of law, but who just want to kill people because they don’t like what they see. There’s not room for that. That’s what we’ve been fighting against after all of the wars of the 20th century. Now we’re in the 21st century, and it’s time for a different organizational principle. And we need to, all of us, do a better job of communicating to people what the options of life are. And we’re open. Democracies are open to people participating in the democracy, not killing people. And so I hope that we can all figure out how we translate these better opportunities more effectively in our politics.
People having “no belief system” isn’t the problem. It’s what they do believe that becomes the problem. Osama bin Laden and Pol Pot both had strong and easily identifiable belief systems. They were also mass killers. Hitler, Mao, Mussolini, Stalin…they all had belief systems. The Iranian mullahs, Hizballah, Hamas…they all have belief systems. Whatever Kerry is trying to say there, he isn’t making a lick of sense. None of those people or the Tsarnaevs kill just “because they don’t like what they see.” They kill, at least in part, as a means to bring about the kind of change that they do believe in.