There is no doubt that Islamic State (ISIS) has taken responsibility on the Paris, France attacks—an event that undoubtedly forced the world to stand still. Moreover, an incident that sparked a national upheaval to condemn the actions of the terrorist group. 

Even after the attacks, several Americans are still preoccupied with the notion that climate change is still a greater national security threat. In fact, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBrown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Gillibrand announces exploratory committee to run for president on Colbert Dem chairman Cummings meets with Trump health chief to discuss drug prices MORE (I-Vt.) stuck to his guns in saying that climate change is the root cause to Islamic State’s extremism. 


“Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world—this is what the CIA says—they’re going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops. And you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict,” Sanders purported at Nov. 14’s Democratic presidential debate. 

Well guess what Bernie, climate change should be placed second on the list with ISIS out and about. The Islamic State has grown over time to encompass an untraditional extremist ideology that is unlike any jihadi-terrorist group the United States has ever encountered. 

The United States has turned it is back on the world under the Obama administration. On the morning of the Paris attacks, President Obama asserted the situation was contained in his ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos. 

“I don’t think they’re [ISIS] gaining strength,” Obama stated in the interview. “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them.”

That very day, in very, very dark irony, Paris was attacked by the terrorist group that the administration stated was controlled. That’s enough from the administration. 

When a national leader is preoccupied with the petty politics of climate change when international cities are being destroyed, people begin to scratch their heads. 

When the U.S. Defense Department claims that climate changeis a risk, then, okay, it begins to raise some questions on the credibility of such reports; however, the imminent risk of the United States national security policy should be focused on terrorism once again. 

This, ultimately, will come down to the general election next year. Presidential candidates who are vying for their party’s nomination need to utilize their college degrees and start proposing plans that will protect the American way of life. 

When Sanders connected the roots of extreme terrorism to that of climate change at the debate, he lied through his teeth to a cross section of the American public that warmly welcomes his impossible socialist ideologies on a country built on individual liberty. 

Politifact deemed Bernie’s statement as “mostly false” on the grounds that there is no direct connection that would suggest radicalization because of climate change. Granted, changing environments do cause mass migrations because of factors like droughts and famine, but, radicalization of an individual to commit terrorist acts is predominantly psychological.

According to a report from the American Psychological Association, an individual who is recruited into terrorism is typically allured to the ideas of feeling important. 

This sentiment would most typically reside in an individual who feels alienated, disenfranchised, fed up with the government, and feels oppressed by the society. 

The report further asserts that people who succumb to terrorist acts “believe that their current political involvement does not give them the power to effect real change” or “believe that engaging in violence against the state is not immoral.” 

That radicalization is politically, ideologically, culturally, and religiously based as well. It’s just in bad taste to connect two separate phenomena to “win a debate.”   

Studies have been done that show famine, drought, and other natural events, rooted to some form of climate change, can potentially cause a conflict of sorts. However, these studies have not typically included how terrorist groups are linked to climate change (if they are at all). 

“As mass relocations are presumed to occur in response to degradation, conflict may erupt in receiving areas in response to competition, as environmental migrants may burden the economic and resource base of the receiving area and promoting contests over resources,” stated in a World Bank report on the connections of environmental migration and conflict. 

This sentiment, to some, bodes true; however, this specific report considers conflict to only take place between state actors (governments of countries). Islamic State is not a state actor, they are a terrorist group with a network that spans across the globe. Islamic State, just as they did in Paris, want to harm the Western way of life. To them, western governments are not “Islamic” enough to exist, and, therefore, must be removed. That’s a security risk, hands down. 

The Counter Extremism Project, an organization that works to understand and counter the ideas of radical ideologies, indicates that the ISIS doctrine is to instill a pan-Islamic caliphate in the here and now. The ultimate goal for ISIS is to control portions of the world under a literal implementation of Sunni Islamist sharia law. This cannot occur. 

Policymakers cannot allow for an influx of refugees from these regions either. There is an inherent risk that these attacks can, and quite possibly will, occur in cities across the country. Long story short: The U.S. government needs to find a strategy that trumps the current one of watching and waiting. 

McGrady is a contributor Red Alert Politics, and has been featured in numerous publications like The Daily Caller, The Denver Post and The Hill. Follow him on Twitter (@mikemcgrady2).