Tuesday, 13 February 2007

The Terrorism Index

Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress have released their second "Terrorism Index" (full PDF) six months after the first one (which was released around the five year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks). This is really interesting...

Six months ago, we launched a groundbreaking new index that asked more than 100 of America's top foreign-policy hands if the United States was winning the war on terror. Their answer? No. Now, surveyed again today, this bipartisan group sees a world that continues to grow more dangerous and a U.S. national security strategy that is failing on several fronts. In the second FOREIGN POLICY/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index, these experts warn that not only is another attack imminent, but that the United States may be distracted from the threats that matter most.

Bush administration policies (14%) are more dangerous to US national security than the Iraq war (10%), al-Qaeda/Jihadist movements (11%), WMD (12%), or terrorism (11%), say the experts. However, nuclear weapons and materials (25%) as well as "other" (17%) are higher. By far most of the people surveyed say that the world is becoming a more dangerous place for the United States and Americans in general (81% versus 12% who think it is becoming safer). When asked whether "the United States is winning the war on terror" the experts were categorized by declared political ideology. 43 conservatives, five moderates, and five liberals agree; 50 conservatives, 81 liberals, and 93 moderates disagree with the statement. Overall 16 agree and 75 disagree with the notion that the US is winning the 'war on terror'.

Putting political ideology aside, six in 10 of the experts think Bush is doing the worst job possible in Iraq. A majority think the US should not raise troop levels in Iraq, but definitely should in Afghanistan — which I agree with. There is little faith in the government on its progress since 9/11 on the 9/11 Commission's recommendations; which is in line with this administrations abysmal report cards from the Commission. Most agree that the US has "worked to curtail terrorist financing" and the lesser majority believes that identifying terrorist hot-spots and sanctuaries has seen some improvement. The Taliban is stronger; al Qaeda is about the same; Hezbollah is much stronger; Hamas is stronger say the polled experts.

North Korea's nuclear program (see here and here for latest developments) is ranked the overall most pressing and dangerous issue facing America and the world. In addition a majority say the United States' policy towards North Korea has only worsened the problem. Nearly one in 10 of the experts believe the US is the most dangerous government in the world today, only beaten by Iran (40%) and North Korea (35%).

But how does the American public's views differ from the experts'? The public is clearly too sure of the government, too optimistic, seems jut plain uneducated in general according to the date this index displays. Most think the US is winning, the Bush administration has a plan and is doing well, and that the US is more secure — all things the experts dissent to a higher majority than the public agrees (e.g. more experts think the US is loosing the "war on terror" than public think the US is winning). Nonetheless, while I agree with practically all of the experts' decisions in this index, the public is way off base. I am not too surprised, but it is still disturbing that a majority of people in America hold such off views.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments: