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War on terror 2.0: threat inflation and conflation of far-right and white supremacist terrorism after the capitol “Insurrection”



This article examines more than 100 scholarly, think-tank, government, and media reports and three data-sets and finds that since the 6 January 2021 Capitol “insurrection”, War on Terror (WoT) 2.0 is conflating far-right, white supremacist extremism (WSE), and other terminologies, which have superseded “Islamic extremism” on the U.S government’s radar. Further, distinctions are not being recognised between violent and anti-violent far-right/WSE groups, and especially ideologues, and it is far from certain this phenomenon is “global”, “rising”, or comparable to ISIS. Perpetrators of WoT 2.0 terminological conflations and threat inflations are inter-related and mutually reinforcing, be they media, academics, think-tanks, or government officials, and are continuing WoT 1.0’s legacy, which exhibited its own set of inflations and conflations after 9/11. This article employs primary sources extensively and critical approaches to identify and remedy existing problems in studying far-right/WSE terrorism and proposes policies to more effectively address the rare and primarily “lone actor” lethal attacks of such terrorists while reducing potentialities for repeating WoT 1.0’s excesses.

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