Summary of The Evolving Terrorist Threat: Implications for Global Security

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In World War II, American troops swept into enemy territory, fought the forces of evil and then watched their adversaries become their allies. The war on terror hasn’t followed that playbook. Stabilizing Afghanistan, Iraq, and other Middle Eastern hot spots requires a sustained presence, an idea Americans generally find disagreeable. In this stellar panel discussion, experts outline flaws in the US approach but ultimately assess that the terrorist threat on US soil is contained. getAbstract recommends this video to policy makers and global managers seeking clear-eyed analysis of the war on terror.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the United States has struggled to win the war on terror,
  • Why policy makers face a no-win decision between toppling or supporting Middle Eastern dictators, and
  • What factors perpetuate insurgency in the Middle East.

About the Speakers

Peter Bergen is vice president of the New America Foundation. Philip Mudd is a former CIA analyst and former head of the FBI’s National Security Branch. Ben Connable is a senior political scientist at RAND Corporation. Mark Mazzetti is Washington investigations editor at The New York Times.



Throughout the war on terror, the United States has devoted years of effort, lost thousands of American lives and spent billions of dollars. Yet victory remains elusive. Why? One answer lies in the US mind-set toward military action abroad: Americans think in terms of short-term campaigns rather than long-term occupations. They don’t want to admit that their troops can’t simply parachute into a hot zone, quickly eliminate the bad guys and then step away as tranquility reigns. But short-term strategies in the war on terror have put Iraq in chaos, and Afghanistan is as dangerous and unstable now as when US troops invaded in 2001. These failures leave Americans “petulant and disappointed.”

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