Towards the end of his term Jimmy Carter seemed to learned a few things about international relations. Is it possible that it just took Obama longer? Yesterday he said most of the usual but there were three interesting items in his speech. One, he admitted that Fort Hood and Chattanooga were terror attacks. Two, he asked for Congressional support for what used to be called the war on terror. Third, he said:
That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.
Is this a change of viewpoint or just a way to get through the last 13 plus months? Follow-up will be the key. Does he continue to call out Muslim leadership in speeches and actions or will he continue to emphasize the ephemeral problem of backlash against Muslims? We hope but experience suggests we will be disappointed.