From the beginning, the War on Terror has been both abattle of arms and a battle of ideas.
In the short run, the fight involves theapplication of all instruments of national power and influence to kill orcapture the terrorists. In the long run, winning the War on Terror meanswinning the battle of ideas. (Department of State)The US long term strategy for winning the war on terrorism,according to state department, is the advancement of freedom and human dignitythrough effective democracy. One of the signs of democracy is elections, itshows the express of free will by the people. Effective democraciesexercise effective sovereignty and maintain order within their borders.
Ineffective democracies, freedom is indivisible. They are the long-term antidoteto the ideology of terrorism today. Democracy is the antithesisof terroristtyranny, which is why the terrorists denounce it and are willing to kill theinnocent to stop it.There are two approaches aimed at effectivelycombating terrorism. Deradicalization and prison-based approach. Prisons havebeen long characterized as hotbeds of radicalization and as inefficient inreforming criminal behaviour.
(Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, 2015) theseprogrammes aimed to reduce the number of active terrorist in a society thusenabling individuals to abandon terrorism.Deradicalization is “the social and psychologicalprocess whereby an individual’s commitment to, and involvement in, violentradicalization is reduced to the extent that they are no longer at risk ofinvolvement and engagement in violent activity” (John Horgan, WalkingAway from Terrorism, 2009). This, however, goes hand in hand withdisengagement, which includes some sort of rehabilitation of these individualsonce released back into the society.
In conclusion, soft approaches will most likelycontinue to play a significant role in the counterterrorism strategies. At themoment, there are more than 40 counter-radicalization programs worldwide. Thisis due to realization of declaring war on terrorism globally nearly a decadeago. However, having such programmes does not bring us any closer toeliminating the threat today.