October 6th, 2009
01:29 PM ET

Al Qaeda’s support is fading

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/10/04/us.terror.probe/art.zazi.denver.gi.jpg caption="Terror suspect Najibullah Zazi has admitted having ties to al Qaeda."]

Audrey Kurth Cronin
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Audrey Kurth Cronin, a professor at the U.S. National War College and research associate of the Changing Character of War program at Oxford University, is the author of "How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns" (Princeton University Press, September 2009). This article represents her views only, not necessarily those of any U.S. government agency.

President Obama entered office hoping to displace the global war on terrorism with a new age of engagement, thereby replacing fear with hope and relinquishing terrorism as the centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy.

Yet terrorism is once again in the center of the bull's-eye for Washington policymakers.

The war in Afghanistan is at a watershed. Having been relatively neglected in favor of the intervention in Iraq, the administration must now decide whether to recommit to a full-fledged counter-insurgency, perhaps with an additional 40,000 U.S. troops on top of the more than 60,000 already slated for the conflict. Alternatively, some argue for a strategy that focuses on the original problem - of al Qaeda and its extremist associates rather than more ambitious state-building.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • al Qaeda • Barack Obama • President Barack Obama
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