The unpleasant likelihood is rather of a shifting, open-ended conflict, engaging different Islamic extremist groups at different times and in different places, probably for decades: a long, low war of attrition, or perhaps triage, not a short, sharp war of conquest. It was the Taliban yesterday, it is the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, today, it will be someone else tomorrow. What is more, there is nothing we can do about it. Whether or not we choose to fight them, they will fight us: They have made that brutally clear. So we had better get used to it.
Two notions enter my head as I read this. One - the Fall of the Roman Empire. Two - the Clone Wars.
Can we get used to war in perpetuity? Of course we can - it's been the norm for people in various parts of the world for ages. There's a massive impact on education, productivity, infrastructure, social cohesion, healthcare, etc. but hey, that's all sociology stuff.
Unaccounted in this narrative is the other emerging threat - climate change. Military minds the world over are pondering the grave risks that worsening storms, changing landscape and access to arable land and fresh water will have geopolitically.
So where do we go from here?