Just as containing the Soviet Union required much more than a strategy of hope, so too, containing ISIS will require fighting the organization’s spread with both military and diplomatic means. It took nearly 70 years for the Soviet Union to collapse, which occurred, in large measure, as a result of internal economic forces and the Soviet people’s discovery that what they had been promised was available only to their leaders. ISIS, too, will no doubt eventually collapse as a result of its equally false utopian promises and difficulties delivering even rudimentary human needs, such as healthcare. In the meantime, the United States and its allies need to implement a continuously evolving strategy of robust containment.
Read Jessica’s article in the Atlantic: How Not to Contain ISIS December 9, 2015.
People often wonder, how afraid should we be? My answer is that it depends on who you are, where you live, and what you do. But even with a rise in the number of mass-casualty attacks, the likelihood that any given individual will be caught in such an attack is vanishingly small. Statistically speaking, you are far more likely to die in a car accident than in a terrorist attack, especially if you don’t wear a seatbelt.
In many years of studying this subject, I have come to understand that a mass shooting or terrorist attack evokes a powerful sense of dread. It is a form of psychological warfare whose goal is to bolster the morale of its supporters and demoralize and frighten its target audience — the victims and their communities. Terrorists aim to make us feel afraid, and to overreact in fear.
The good news is that when people are reminded of what they value most, such as the divine, before being reminded of their inevitable death, the negative impact is reduced. And when people are reminded of values such as tolerance or their commitment to individual rights, their awareness of mortality increases these commitments.
Read Jessica’s article in the New York Times: How Terror Hardens Us. December 5, 2015.