(Associated Press) Some call it wishful thinking, but President Barack Obama has all but declared an end to the global war on terror.
Obama is not claiming final victory over extremists who still seek to kill Americans and other Westerners. Instead, he is steering the United States away from what he calls an equally frightening threat: a country in a state of perpetual war.
In a landmark speech Thursday in which he sought to refine and recalibrate his counterterrorism strategy, Obama asserted that al-Qaida is "on the path to defeat," reducing the scale of terrorism to pre-Sept. 11 levels. That means that with the Afghanistan war winding down, Obama is unlikely to commit troops in large numbers to any conflict -- in Syria or other countries struggling with instability in the uncertain aftermath of the Arab Spring -- unless, as his critics fear, he tragically has underestimated al-Qaida's staying power.
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