softpower: terrorism and the next US president

war on terrorism

if an american city is attacked by terrorist nuclear power, the world as we know it will change. human rights issues out the window

this guys is a very biased and it is very difficult to listen to him:

  • lets call it extremism, not terrorism
  • the old testament is a very violent book
  • America supports: israel, saudi arabia, iran under the shah, undemocratic oppressive regimes
  • Islam is under attack post 6 day war, after israel did that thing

key takeaways:

intelligence vs human rights. no way to fight terrorism according if playing by the rules

claim: most moslems would chose moderation over violence

a violent response is ‘what divides you and unites us’

linguistics is very difficult to apply to this matter. what is the definition of terrorism? who gets to call whom a terrorist. this is a big issue

time: al-quida sees this is a 1000 year initiative. so time is on their hands


fresh – can restart, sometimes easier than continuing

credible and balanced approach

in 90s many US attempts to appease islam which did not play well.

when did terrorism start? actually the jewish zealots under roman rule in 66-73 AD are the first. called sicarii

historical lessons:

  • win the hearts and minds (in the Moslem world)


  • avoid over-reaction. makes terrorists strive. violent and repressive turns out to be a recruiting tool and create legitimacy. creates violent cycles of action and re-action. who started?
  • avoid under-reaction. latin american governments and marxist groups.

study algeria and FLN. movie ‘the battle of algiers’.

also bbc, 2004 dirty war. does a good job of people’s believes.

joseph nye, coined softpower:

The basic concept of power is the ability to influence others to get them to do what you want. There are three major ways to do that:

  1. one is to threaten them with sticks;
  2. the second is to pay them with carrots;
  3. the third is to attract them or co-opt them, so that they want what you want.

If you can get others to be attracted to want what you want, it costs you much less in carrots and sticks. [1]

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