The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror

Essays on U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Middle East

Robert Satloff
Release Date: November 1, 2004

“We will also wage a war of ideas to win the battle against international terrorism.”

—The National Security Strategy of the United States

”We actually misnamed the war on terror. It ought to be [called] the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies and who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world.”

—George W. Bush, August 6, 2004

“We need a commitment to explicitly winning the battle of ideas. We basically are seeing all over the world today a contest between people who are obsessed with yesterday and people who are obsessed with tomorrow.”

—Bill Clinton, June 17, 2002

“It’s a battle of ideas as much as it is a military battle.”

—General John Abizaid, January 29, 2004

In this collection of essays — including several written expressly for this volume — Robert Satloff takes aim at the conventional wisdom concerning the post-9/11 “battle of ideas” and offers a bold, hopeful, and unapologetic vision for U.S. public diplomacy in the Middle East. The essays take a closer look at U.S. government efforts to reach out to Arabs and Muslims and recommends how–and how not–to wage a campaign for their “hearts and minds.”