Is terrorism the Communism of today for the West,or are our modern conflicts significantly unique from anything seen before?
I think it is.
Terrorism is today's Communism which was yesterday's witch hunts.
A unifying factor, in both Fascist regimes and Democratic societies that rely on a public mandate, is a "common enemy." In the West, or more specifically in the US, the fear of communism unified the nation in BOTH post-war periods. There was a Red Scare after WWI, and of course, the more famous one following WWII, causing the Korean, Vietnam and "Cold" Wars. Before the US became involved in these, the common enemy was usually a minority group, easily targeted as the cause of ANYTHING negative, from unemployment and depression to infiltration and subversive media. Blacks were blamed for societal ills such as promiscuity and interracial marriage during the 40s and 50s, mostly because their dances and rhythms were being imitated by white ...
The extensive use of fear in creating a common enemy, or rallying support for an otherwise unpopular action, is a time-honored American tradition. Recalling the Salem witch hunts and the HUAC communist hunts, today's America is obsessed with the hunt for terrorists, both real and imagined.