Davos, 25 de Janeiro de 2007, por Joseh Nye

Davos Day 2: The Term "War on Terrorism"

READ MORE: Joseph Nye, Davos

With 800 CEOs, two dozen heads of state, and topics ranging from global poverty to Web 2.0, Davos is impossible to describe. Like the blind men touching the elephant, each participant feels a different part of the beast. My favorite touch for the day went as follows: In a plenary session on terrorism, I asked David Cameron, head of Britain's Conservative Party, whether he agreed with the British Foreign Office position that the term "war on terrorism" was counterproductive because it reinforced the Al Qaeda narrative of being engaged in a holy war. He agreed, and said it would be better to call it a "struggle." Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff basically ducked the question. (Not long ago, the US State Department had tried to get the White House to stop using the term, but the move was vetoed by President Bush.) Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said not to worry about words because the root causes of terrorism were local deprivation (read: more aid to Pakistan). Gijs de Vries, Counter Terrorism Coordinator for the Council of the European Union, replied that the term "war" not only helped terrorist to recruit, but also led us to justify violating the rights and freedoms that provide the soft power we need to prevail in this struggle. Clearly, where people stood on this question depended on where they sat.

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