The Battle for Hearts and Minds

From Washington Quarterly Readers

The Battle for Hearts and Minds

Using Soft Power to Undermine Terrorist Networks

Edited by Alexander T.J. Lennon

Examining the potential of nonmilitary strategies to reduce terrorism, including postconflict reconstruction, public diplomacy, and foreign assistance.





Examining the potential of nonmilitary strategies to reduce terrorism, including postconflict reconstruction, public diplomacy, and foreign assistance.

Although military operations have dominated media coverage of the war on terrorism, a much broader array of policy options may hold the key to reducing the appeal of global terrorist networks, particularly in economically destitute areas. These strategies involve the use of "soft power," a term first used by political scientist Joseph Nye in a 1990 article in Foreign Policy to describe nonmilitary strategies to shape international relations and behavior. The Battle for Hearts and Minds discusses four aspects of soft power.

The first section of the book considers failed or failing states as havens for transnational terrorist networks, and examines the most effective ways to build stable nations in unstable regions, including focused looks at Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. The second section explores postconflict reconstruction, including in-depth examinations of security, justice and reconciliation, opportunities for achieving socioeconomic well-being, and increased participation in government. The third section examines public diplomacy, asking whether the United States needs new policies or simply a new image to increase its appeal in the Arab and Muslim world. The final section of the book looks at foreign assistance, and assesses the potential of the current administration's "Millennium Challenge Account" (or as one contributor puts it, "Compassionate Conservatism Meets Global Poverty") to combat poverty, increase democracy, and reduce the appeal of terror. The Battle for Hearts and Minds presents a balanced assessment of the role that nonmilitary options can play against transnational terrorist networks.


$26.00 X ISBN: 9780262621793 352 pp. | 6 in x 9 in ?


Alexander T.J. Lennon

Alexander T. J. Lennon is the editor-in-chief of The Washington Quarterly, the flagship journal of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He is also a fellow in the international security program at CSIS, and an adjunct professor in Georgetown University's Security Studies program. He is the editor of The Epicenter of Crisis: The New Middle East; Reshaping Rogue States (MIT Press, 2008): Preemption, Regime Change, and U.S. Policy Toward Iran, Iraq, and North Korea (MIT Press, 2004); The Battle for Hearts and Minds: Using Soft Power to Undermine Terrorist Networks (MIT Press, 2003), What Does the World Want from America? and Contemporary Nuclear Debates (MIT Press, both 2002), and the coeditor (with Michael T. Mazarr) of Toward a Nuclear Peace (St. Martin's Press, 1994).


  • Success in the struggle against terrorism will require a strong offense, a tough defense but also a long term strategy. We have to ask ourselves: what can the United States do to shape the international environment in ways that will make us more secure? This thoughtful and provocative volume offers some important answers.

    Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

    Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

  • This excellent book, written by top-level analysts and policy experts, surveys the many other tools beyond military, intelligence, and law-enforcement means that must be part of a comprehensive strategy to attack terrorism and the root causes underlying it. It is a major contribution to the discussion over what we must do next.

    Daniel Benjamin

    coauthor of The Age of Sacred Terror and former NSC director for counterterrorism

  • This is a strong collection of timely articles to help students and practitioners come to grips with the multi-dimensional challenges of our age. By placing the war on terrorism in the broader conceptual context it so urgently needs, this volume deserves, and will get, a wide readership.

    Chester A. Crocker

    James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

  • America needs both our hard military power and our soft power—the power to attract rather than coerce. This book is a very good place to start exploring the realities of both.

    Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

    Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University