Last week we discussed the use of--and reaction to--President Obama's phrase (and ongoing policy of saying) "ISIS is not Islamic."
We suggested that there is likely a coherent strategy behind taking such a strong stance despite the fact that there are potential arguments against a decisive declaration either way.
What might that strategy be?
Xander and Erik have launched a new podcast called Reconsider, and in our first episode (go check it out) we discuss the ISIS strategy of the US and other coalition allies, in particular how both rhetorical semantics and military action affect ISIS' recruiting. The podcast explains and expands on a core thesis: pushing ISIS and the Islamic world together improves ISIS' recruiting capabilities; pushing them apart may hinder its recruiting capabilities.
This is a Bigger Lesson on Domestic Politics
"Okay, so toning down our rhetoric about ISIS actually weakens them." Hopefully we're all on the same page about that.
But here's something even more interesting to consider.
What might such a lesson mean about domestic politics?
If our rhetoric groups our entire opposition into one blob with the most fringe elements in that direction, will it weaken or strengthen that fringe? Will it cause those "on the fence" of the fringe to move away and become more reasonable, or become afraid and "join forces" with that fringe?
If we want to weaken the power of the fringe groups of our opposition, what should our semantic strategy be?