My pal Malcolm Nance goes on Rachel Maddow’s show to push forward his idea that ending the threat from al-Qaeda requires a push by the U.S. and affiliates to rebrand al-Qaeda as a “cult.” That is, a marginal entity that perverts Islam like David Koresh did Christianity and Baruch Goldstein did Judaism. Since I’ve been writing for months that the proper way to understand al-Qaeda is through the lens of conspiracy theorists — Jews n’ Americans stand in the way of a grand restoration of the Caliphate! — I think it’s right on.

Naturally, it’s hardly a sufficient condition, as we have to recognize that the demand for al-Qaedism or toleration of the demand for al-Qaedism is impacted by U.S. strategy. Public diplomacy is not a substitute for policy. But it ought to be a component of national strategy, and Malcolm has some worthwhile ideas in this regard. I can’t wait to read his book.

Notice a lot of what Malcolm outlines to Rachel gels quite well with John Brennan’s depiction of al-Qaeda’s potency. Malcolm thinks his strategy stands a good chance of working on a 24-month timeframe. I’m personally inclined to be skeptical of promised lights at the end of dark tunnels, but his ideas deserve a hearing in any case.

Update: Defeat! Not destroy, defeat! I spaced. Thanks to Starbuck for pointing out the mistake.