Right after the massacre in Paris, the question on many a pundit's lips was: How will the struggle against Islamic State terrorism affect the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign?
Now, almost a week later, the more pertinent, and worrisome, question is: How will the 2016 campaign affect the struggle against Islamic State terrorism?
To put it more broadly, can the United States actually wage an effective fight against the Islamic State, as many both at home and abroad expect, much less meet broader global responsibilities, when our leaders are obsessed with short-term advantage in domestic politics?
To be sure, Americans have never achieved perfect consensus, even amid the greatest national security crises. Abraham Lincoln faced serious opposition in the 1864 election; Woodrow Wilson battled dissenters during World War I; the Cold War was a time of broad anti-Soviet consensus but also domestic turmoil.