American Consequences - September 2021

by an implied threat of coercion) by buying support through foreign aid or some other economic incentive. So maybe I agree with Mr. Iskyan in a way. By spending $9 trillion on the War on Terror, the U.S. has had less “soft power” to throw around. – David S. Kim Iskyan Response: David S., the point I was trying to make was that indeed, the War on Terror was extremely successful at preventing another 9/11. Jihadist terrorism is alive and well (unfortunately), but not in the U.S. While we can’t know if that’s thanks to the War on Terror or some other factor, I’d argue that it has played a pretty big role. Soft power refers to the ways of exerting influence via non-military, non-boots-on-the- ground ways (FYI, I wrote about soft power in more detail here.) Kim, Thank you for your insightful article of Sept 10, 2021. You addressed the issues defining the U.S. policy regarding conflict resolution and its effect on our country’s political, social, and credibility standing in a rapidly changing world. In my opinion, an important issue that is almost never included in our dialogue is the fact that since the 1950’s the U.S. has never completed a mission. This more than anything is robbing our society of its image of purpose, accomplishment, and credibility. – Paul H. Kim Iskyan Response: Paul H., thanks for your thoughts. There hasn’t been a kind of big “national project” for a long time (it’s before

Kim Iskyan Response: Tim P., every generation has its bogeyman, very much so. I think global thermonuclear destruction was the one of my generation... though terrorism in Spain in the 1970s and 1980s, when I was growing up there, was the main big deal. With respect to stealing freedom, I was trying to focus on the War on Terror – and WHO and the Paris Agreement are only tangentially part of that. But I’d bring them into a discussion on the broader issue of how American privacy is slowly eroding... though, to be honest, I see tech companies and Uncle Sam as the bigger challenges to the freedoms of Americans. In “The Unseen Costs of the War on Terror”, Kim Iskyan argues “in terms of the actual threat... no, [Americans had nothing to fear from Islamic terrorists]. According to think tank Brookings Institution, just 100 Americans have died in militant Islamist terrorist attacks since 9/11.” Doesn’t Mr. Iskyan seem a bit too eager to find proof that Islamic terrorism does not exist? The statistic cited by the Brookings Institution could be used to argue exactly the opposite... that the War on Terror was actually successful in preventing another 9/11. The author goes on to argue that the War on Terror, has caused the U.S. to lose “soft power”. He says “Soft power” is the ability of a country to influence – and convert the preferences and behavior of – other countries, companies, and communities by using attraction or persuasion... rather than through force or coercion. Soft power? Really? As long I can remember the U.S. has influenced other nations (if not

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American Consequences


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