The United States has been consumed with the War on Terror ever since 9/11. And in the most recent presidential election, it was one of the most prominent issues during debates, speeches, and newsrooms. President Trump promised to eliminate ISIS (along with other terrorist groups) and that's partly why he won the White House 2 years ago. Now, the question is where do we stand in the fight against extremism?
The decline of ISIS in Iraq and Syria shows the U.S. is trending towards progress in the region. At the start of 2018, the Islamic State faced a 93 percent reduction in its territory. By the time 2019 rolls in, it's possible we could see more reduction in its territory. Military forces in the Middle East have all but diminished ISIS from the region. The collapse of ISIS under the Trump administration upholds a promise made by the Commander in Chief.
Along with the decline of the Islamic State, terrorist attacks are also down. News stories and headlines were dominated by attacks around the globe by extremist organizations. Every time a news anchor got on the air and broke down a terrorist attack, there was a strong sense of deja vu. Today, things seem a bit more hushed. The top story of the evening news is no longer about the most recent terrorist attack. It's a comforting change of pace. Those kinds of news stories and coverage were becoming too routine. It was harmful to terrorist attacks to become normalized to us.
That was where we stood 2-3 years ago. Now, global attacks are falling. 2017 saw a big drop, as global attacks decreased 20%. 2018 could also see a similar trend. The majority of attacks occur in the Middle East and North Africa. These trends can show where we stand in this 21st-century struggle. Are we closer to the end than we think? As they say, it's always the darkest before the dawn. 2019 will be a big year for the goals of the current administration in terms of foreign policy.
After World War II, the focus of foreign relations for the rest of the 20th century was on the conflict against communism and Soviet Russia. Foreign relations has changed a great deal at the beginning of this century. We are fighting an enemy that at times seems unstoppable. The consensus is that you cannot defeat an ideology. Changing people's minds is just as hard as moving mountains. During his first term, however, President Trump appears to have cracked the code. ISIS is diminishing and so is their influence.
Other terrorist organizations still hate America and our western allies and attempt to topple the powers in their regions. During the Cold War, there were times the citizens of this country thought we were on the brink of World War III. Then the influence and power of communism faded. Islamic extremism may fade the same way communism did. But it will take a lot more than rhetoric to overcome this struggle. Perhaps there is light at the end of this long, dark, tunnel.