New York city first responders attend the scene of the attack in lower Manhattan after a Home Depot truck struck down multiple people on a bike path, killing several and injuring numerous others, on October 31, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Brendan McDermid

Foreign Affairs writer Lisa Monaco, in an eerily-timed article published on Tuesday, said that a current climate of international instability is boosting the threat posed by homegrown and lone-wolf terrorists to the US and Europe.

Monaco’s essay, titled ‘Preventing the Next Attack: A Strategy for the War on Terrorism,’ was posted by Foreign Affairs on the same day that a suspected terrorist reportedly plowed a rented truck into a crowd of pedestrians in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, near the site of the 9/11 terror attack.

Monaco, who served as homeland security and counterterrorism advisor to President Barack Obama, observed in her piece that homegrown and lone-wolf terrorists have changed the nature of terrorism since 9/11, with more than 50 such attacks taking place in just the past three years in Europe and North America.

“To date, the United States’ strategy has succeeded in preventing another 9/11-type attack, largely because it built a net designed to do just that. But for the next phase in the war on terrorism, the country will need a new net,” she writes in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs.

Monaco, who is currently a distinguished senior fellow at New York University’s School of Law and a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, says that Washington must confront “physical safe havens from which terrorists continue to plot attacks, virtual safe havens through which ISIS and other groups mobilize individuals to commit violence, and a global and domestic environment increasingly hospitable to terrorists.”

She found that “what may most influence the future terrorist threat, however, is not the flourishing of physical and virtual safe havens per se but the breakdown in order that is sure to spawn more of both.”

Monaco argues that “the United States’ future safety demands that it, and not its adversaries, dominate the technological domain” and that “partnerships with local allies are the key to successfully taking back territory from terrorists.”

Monaco continues: “It would be a mistake, however, to look only outward, ignoring the growing terrorist threat at home… The challenge that bedeviled both the Bush and the Obama administrations — building trust between communities and their government to address extremism in all its forms — seems harder than ever.”

Doug Tsuruoka is Editor-at-Large of Asia Times