On the face of it, President Obama's speech calling for an end to the 'perpetual' war on terrorism could not have been timed much worse. Obama's political opponents could easily accuse him of retreating in the fight against terrorism just as terrorists make another brutal statement of intent on the streets of London.

Nevertheless, it strikes me as an important speech, primarily because it seems to be as close as Obama has come to formally declaring an end to the war on terrorism, something I have personally been hoping and waiting for since he was inaugurated in 2009 ('this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands'). He is also radically scaling down the description of the threat ('the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11').