America's Underrecognized Ally in the Fight Against Terrorism: Geography

America's Underrecognized Ally in the Fight Against Terrorism: Geography by Philip Bump – Washington Post

When a bomb exploded on a London subway train Friday morning, President Trump was quick to put the incident to his own political use.

“Another attack in London by a loser terrorist,” he said on Twitter.  He continued: “Must be proactive! The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific — but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”

Trump’s assertion, mirroring similar ones in the past, was that the attack demonstrated the need to curtail new immigrants to the United States. Never mind that, when Trump tweeted, it wasn’t clear who’d planted the bomb (a missing bit of information that British authorities pointedly noted in response to Trump). Never mind, too, that recent attacks in the United States by individuals inspired by radical ideology were committed by American citizens.

And never mind that there’s a significant and often unmentioned protection the United States enjoys that Europe doesn’t: the Atlantic Ocean.

Dan Byman is a professor at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who served as a staff member on the 9/11 Commission. He spoke by phone with The Washington Post to explain how the geography of the United States offers us a distinct advantage.

That advantage isn’t only about the relative difficulty of getting to the United States from the Middle East as compared with getting to continental Europe, but that’s a lot of it.

“Europe has all of these land entry points,” Byman said. “And especially when you’re taking about the Islamic State — notionally, you could drive from Syria to Paris. You wouldn’t drive, technically; you’d cross borders, take buses and all that, but even so, it’s just harder to secure.”

To get to the United States is much harder…

Read on.

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