My latest with The New Republic tries to put the Brooklyn ISIS arrests in context, and looks at the hyperventilation about Islamist threats to Central Asia:
So why the hyperventilation? For one, the region is distant and amorphous enough that America engages it, if at all, via pure guesswork. Witness The New York Times recently inventing the nation of “Kyrzbekistan,” and following quickly with a correction. And last fall, there was Director of National Intelligence James Clapper singing the dangers of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Khorasan Group, which took its name from a historic reference to part of central Asia as well as from ISIS’s descriptor for the region. “In terms of threat to the homeland," Clapper said, "Khorasan may pose as much of a danger [as ISIS].” Naturally, Khorasan has barely been heard from since. The overheated analysis has avoided scrutiny, largely because it involved a region whose immediate associations in the West are Muslims and “-stan" and not much else.