Hard vs. soft power in the fight against terrorism

WHAT IT IS

  • Terrorism is defined as unlawful use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
  • Random acts of terror occur with no warning, aim for maximum destruction and succeed with instilling fear.
  • These acts are outside of conventional warfare because they almost always target civilians.
  • The rise of radical Islamic group ISIS has increased terrorism attacks in Europe and United States, causing fear and panic.

WHY IT MATTERS

Terrorism has become the new form of war since the attacks of September 11, 2001, with attacks being sporadic in seemingly innocent places. The United States spends over $16 billion on anti-terrorism defense, a cost too high for failure. President Trump promotes a “hard power” war approach, while some believe in a “soft power” diplomatic approach.

  • SOFT POWER: “Win with diplomacy”

  • HARD POWER: “Win with military”

    • Save our time:   Soft power is a long term strategy that could still fail, leading many to support the immediate results of hard power.
    • Protect our land:   President Trump’s platform includes stomping out ISIS as he begins drone strikes.
    • Price to pay:   President Trump has rolled back a lot of soft power programs, and has pushed for more support and funding for hard power tactics.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • No western countries are in the top ten list of countries with the most terrorist attacks in 2015-2016.
  • Read more about Homeland Security terrorism prevention here.
  • How can people work together to fight terrorism without more violence?
  • The Terrorism Index tracks terrorism among all radical groups in all countries.