"Fundamental Shift" Underway in Islamic Society, Former State Department Official Says

Nov 3, 2014

The Syrian town of Kobani was yet again hit by fierce fighting between Islamic State and Syrian Kurdish forces.
Credit Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

Last week on Lake Effect, former CIA official Graham Fuller commented on the root causes for the rise of ISIS in the Middle East - laying a large part of the blame on US military action in Iraq.

On the same day Fuller was in Milwaukee to talk about Middle Eastern policy, another former high-ranking foreign policy leader was here to talk about national security.

Thomas McNamara served in a variety of senior levels in the foreign service, including US Ambassador to Colombia in the Reagan administration and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security following the attacks of 9/11.

He spoke with Mitch Teich about how the country needs to reevaluate its interests and strategies in the Middle East, and proceed with thoughtful caution.

"I believe we are witnessing a fundamental shift in Islamic society that hasn't occurred since about the time of the first World War, and the fall of the last Calafate, the Ottoman Empire," McNamara says.

Thomas “Ted” McNamara is now on the adjunct faculty at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.  He was in Milwaukee last week to speak at a variety of venues, including Marquette University and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, and wrote an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.