The attacks also fueled debate over how to end the Syrian civil war, as well as over ongoing efforts to defeat ISIS on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, the latter of which has seen several successes over the past few weeks.
But glaringly absent from the discussions are any serious attempts to understand the ideological motivations of the Muslim extremists, several of them French citizens, who carried out the worse terror attacks in France in a generation – including the first-ever suicide bombings on French soil.
That, says best-selling author Joel Rosenberg, is the reason such acts of terror are bound to repeat themselves.
Joel spoke to me prior to the attacks at the recent , and voiced concern that by failing to grapple with the apocalyptic ideology behind actors such as ISIS, Western states would never be able to decisively defeat them.
The current US administration is particularly hesitant to label the threat as it is.
“Obama refuses to even acknowledge radical Islam. Come on – really? At this stage in the 21st century you’re not even ready to acknowledge the ideology that is motivating these folks? That’s a problem.”
But beyond the relatively wide umbrella of “radical Islam” Rosenberg warns of a far deadlier threat.
“But the western political class doesn’t want to even deal with the theological ideas that are driving the radical Islamists – let alone to explain the end of times theologies of two ‘nation states’,” he continued, referring to Iran and ISIS’s self-declared “Islamic State,” which encompasses huge swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
“Never in history have we had one, much less than two states, whose leaders are trying to force the end of the world,” Rosenberg noted.
While Jews and Christians also have their own beliefs in the “end of times” or the messianic age, the difference is that “we don’t believe we have to commit a genocide to bring about the end of times.”
While some strategic and doctrinal differences do clearly exist between Iran and ISIS – who are themselves mortal enemies – Rosenberg emphasized that the fundamental threat was essentially the same.
“Shia apocalypticism and Sunni apocalypticism are similar. Both believe the messiah is coming soon, that his kingdom is coming, they need to change their behavior to accelerate his coming… but the eschatology and strategies are different.
“ISIS’s strategy is to commit genocide today, because the goal is to build the caliphate, to force the hand of the messiah to come.
“Iran is not trying to build a caliphate today. They’re building the infrastructure to build nuclear weapons. Why? Because while ISIS wants to commit genocide today Iran wants to commit genocide tomorrow. The point is: don’t launch until you’re ready. Rather than kill thousands in one day, Iran wants to eventually kill millions.”
“For these guys killing is at the center of what they’re doing. When you bear that in mind making concessions isn’t just a mistake or misguided – it’s insane.”
Johnson noted the 15-year buildup in China’s maritime and air forces with its doubling of the defense budget every five years has covered everything from aircraft carriers, submarines, a large coast guard to electronic warfare and improved intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.