Smart Power Approach to Counterterrorism

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 9, 2011

On September 9, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks on U.S. counterterrorism strategy at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York City. Secretary Clinton said:

"...Ten years later, we have made important strides. Our government is better organized. Our defenses are safer than on 9/11. But we still face real threats, as we see today, and there is more work to be done. As the members of the 9/11 Commission recently reported, a number of their major recommendations remain unfulfilled. For example, much-needed radio frequencies have not yet been allotted to first responders to allow them to communicate effectively in a crisis -- an issue that I worked on for years in the Senate and is long overdue for completion.

"As President Obama has said over the last decade, our government also sometimes went off course, failed to live up to our own values, but we never lost sight of our mission, and we set aside those detours to stay focused, and we made progress. As we move forward, we are determined not to let the specter of terrorism darken the national character that has always been America's greatest asset.

"The United States has thrived as an open society, a principled nation, and a global leader. And we cannot and will not live in fear, sacrifice our values, or pull back from the world. Closing our borders, for example, might keep out some who would do us harm, but it would also deprive us entrepreneurs, ideas, and energy, things that help define who we are as a nation, and ensure our global leadership for years to come.

"Before 9/11, the commission found that America did not adapt quickly enough to new and different kinds of threats, and it is imperative that we not make that mistake again. It is also imperative that we adapt just as quickly to new kinds of opportunities, that we not be paralyzed or preoccupied by the threats we face, that we not squander our strengths.

"So we keep our focus not only on what we are fighting against -- on the terrorist networks that attacked us that day and continue to threaten us -- but also on what we are fighting for -- for our values of tolerance and equality and opportunity, for universal rights and the rule of law, for the opportunity of children everywhere to live up to their God-given potential. That's a fight we can be confident of and a mission we can be proud of. So today, after a decade of learning the lessons of 9/11, let's take stock of where we stand and where we need to go as a nation.

"We find ourselves in a moment of historic change and opportunity. The war in Iraq is winding down. The war in Afghanistan has entered a transition phase. Millions of people are pushing their nations to move away from repression that has long fueled resentment and extremism. They are embracing universal human rights and dignity. And this has discredited the extremist argument that only violence can bring about change. Against this backdrop, the death of Usama bin Ladin has put al-Qaida on the path to defeat. And as President Obama has pledged, we will not relent until that job is done.

"Earlier this summer, the Administration released its National Strategy for Counterterrorism. It makes very clear we face both a short-term and a long-term challenge. First, to keep up the pressure on al-Qaida and its network. Second, to face down the murderous ideology that fueled bin Ladin's rise and that continues to incite violence around the world. To meet these challenges, our methods must match this unique moment. And we need to apply hard-learned lessons.

"We have seen that precise and persistent force can significantly degrade even an enemy as elusive as al-Qaida. So we will continue to go after its leaders and commanders, disrupt their operations and bring them to justice.

"But we've also learned that to truly defeat a terror network, we need to attack its finances, recruitment, and safe havens. We need to take on its ideology, counter its propaganda, and diminish its appeal, so that every community recognizes the threat that extremists pose to them and they then deny them protection and support. And we need effective international partners in government and civil society who can extend this effort to all the places where terrorists operate.

"To achieve these ends requires smart power, a strategy that integrates all our foreign policy tools -- diplomacy and development hand-in-hand with defense -- and that advances our values and the rule of law. We are waging a broad, sustained, and relentless campaign that harnesses every element of American power against terrorism. And even as we remain tightly focused on the terrorist network that attacked us 10 years ago, we're also thinking about the next 10 years and beyond, about the next threats, about that long-term ideological challenge that requires us to dig deeply into and rely upon our most cherished values."

You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.



United States
September 11, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

Well, you SAY that "we cannot and will not live in fear" but that is exactly what the TSA does at the airports - TSA creates a climate of fear. It is precisely the wrong response to acts of terrorism. TSA and Homeland Security add to the problem.

The TSA exists out of fear. Considering the false terror alerts mentioned by Tom Ridge in his recent book, the groping, scanning, questioning, surveilling, threats, arrests, etc., it seems that fear is exactly what this government wants to generate.

Contrast the Bush-Obama fear response to that of Roosevelt after the attack on Pearl Harbor - "We have nothing to fear...except fear itself." That sentiment is 180 degrees opposite of this government's reaction to 9/11.

Watching grown men and women cowering in fear of a loaded diaper, a colostomy bag, or a bottle of perfume, would have given FDR a long laugh before he shook his head in wonderment about what happened to America's courage.

The British often went about business as usual as V-1 and V-2 rockets hit London. At Columbine, a girl chose to refused to renounce her Christianity rather than save her life from a killer's bullet. They chose freedom over security.

Examples of American courage are endless until one reaches the Bush-Obama administration's theatrics at the nation's airports. After which billions of dollars were wasted on imaginary threats, the pretext of extradition of bin Laden resulting in endless wars against the Islamic boogymen, and the designation of American veterans and ordinary citizens as potential terrorists. If an individual acted in such a crazy manner as Homeland Security and TSA, she would be facing involuntary committment to a mental health facility.

Speeches notwithstanding, this government promotes fear, it bathes its citizens in fear, it drowns us in fear.

Like a desperate drug dealer, this administration pushes fear of everyone and everything, even to the point of selling guns to L.A. gangs and Mexican drug cartels to create still more fear in the citizenry.

The message is: the terrorists won, be afraid. "If you see something, say something." Don't be a hero.

At our airports and in our cities, America displays fear to the world, to every terrorist and citizen alike. Many foreign visitors wonder how could such a frightened people remain so terrorized for so long? The answer is that this fear is promoted by our government officials. Without Homeland Security telling us to be afraid, we just might get through the day without searching grandma for weapons.

Did you know that more people died from smoking cigarettes than were killed in all the terrorist attacks ever done? Bee stings killed more people than Al Qaeda.

Did you know that governments alone killed more people than all the terrorists, criminals, thugs, and murderers, who ever lived?

History’s worst serial killer still roams the Earth - calculating, methodical, and brutal.

The victims --- men, women, and children - numbering 170,000,000 in the 20th century.

Tragically, these victims actually depended upon their killer: they trusted the killer to protect them. But in the end, using laws, edicts, propaganda, and finally sheer force, the killer rendered millions powerless...and destroyed them.

Horrific persecution, slavery, and mass murder engulf nation after nation.

Germany, China, Cambodia, Soviet Union, Guatemala, Uganda, Turkey, Rwanda. No country is safe. Not even the U.S.A.

But who is this killer whose victims incomprehensibly out-number those of every Bundy, Manson, or Dahmer?

It's GOVERNMENT - theirs, ours, everyone's.

Now, that's something worth a speech or two.

Virginia, USA
September 12, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

Think this calls for a celebration, ten years later and no attacks on our Nation. Well done to the Obama Administration. Obviously, you guys have the right team in place to deal with terrorism. If we didn't have an attack on 9/11 that proves National Security is on the ball, and lives are being saved in the United States! Good Job and keep up the Excellent Work!

Karen H.
Oregon, USA
September 19, 2011

Karen H. in Oregon writes:

It is impossible for the United States to win the War on Terror. It is making the crisis worse, based on faulty assumptions.

The root cause of terrorism is not that "some people are good, and some people are bad, and the bad people want to hurt the good people," as George W. Bush stated. It is that people on the bottom have no voice in matters of grave concern, and must raise their voice to be heard, oftentimes to the point of violence.

Who is to be the judge of who is good and who is bad? From the perspective of the so-called terrorist, he may consider himself to be a patriot, defending his country from "the oppressor."

Muslims stand on the principles of the Jihad, and rise in protest when they see oppression. They should do that. Everyone on the planet should rise against oppression.

Acts of terrorism that draw in innocent people, such as suicide bombings, are just as oppressive. No one has the right to do that.

For conflict resolution, all sides must be considered equal, all sides must recognize the need to end the conflict and assume responsibility for their part in the conflict, everyone must come up with a plan that benefits everyone involved and work together to bring it about.

There is a plan for world peace that is being debated around the world, and people in 54 nations, including Muslim nations, support the plan. It is a plan for an internation government based on fair and equitable practices--on the US Constitution. Under the World Peace Plan, every person on the planet is guaranteed the same inalienable rights Americans have under our Constitution...

The right to be able to create our life without interference, to be treated fairly and equally, and to have a voice in our government.

Terrorism will end when all people are granted these rights, given to us by the Creator of us all.

United States
September 20, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

World government is dangerous, certainly not an answer to terrorism. Hitler was the lawfully elected leader of Germany and he wanted world government. That was the Nazi plan.

The historic right of exile, the ability to leave one's homeland and start life anew in some distant country, allowed people to get a new start in life and to become good people without continual harrassment from law enforcement. This right would be lost forever under an international government.

There would be no country to take you, no place to start fresh, no sanctuary to allow one to change one's life for the better.

That is not an improvement. It is a disaster for those who oppose tyranny and speak against it, only to find themselves hunted like an animal by some government bureaucrat who dislikes whistleblowers.

Frankly, I'd rather put up with the occasional terrorist attack than the continual harrassment of officialdom.

September 20, 2011

John in Canada writes:

@ Zharkov in the USA - cant say I agree with all that you say, but you do at times make for an interesting read.

One world government would become a one world colossal failure IMHO.

Imagine the dysfunction of one nation scaled globally? That is what would happen.

It would be chaos and I certainly hope we don't have such foolish minds seeking such foolish ambitions.

But then again when people run out of ideas - idiocy becomes the new common sense.

"Smart Power" must be far more reaching than just terror.

There is an art in developing solutions that deal with problems while opening up innovative opportunity and retain moral authority.

I like what is being said by Secretary of State H.R Clinton and President Obama - but it must transform into solid action that people feel and believe.

I'm not so sure that time is on side for the slow moving wheels of bureaucracy.


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