Bush, Obama, And Trump

The Evolution Of U.S. Counterterrorist Policy Since 9/11

Published in: International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) [Epub September 2017]

Posted on RAND.org on October 06, 2017

by Brian Michael Jenkins

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More than sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, American forces are still deployed in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq; and, in smaller contingents, they are training and supporting local forces combating terrorists across Africa and Asia. Whether one chooses to call it a "global war on terror," "countering violent extremism," or stopping "radical Islamic terrorism," it has been a very long campaign — and it appears far from over. As commanders-in-chief, three presidents have now supervised this campaign. George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have exhibited dramatic differences in rhetoric and style and some real changes in policy, but overall, there has been remarkable continuity in their efforts. Instead of sharp reversals, policy has evolved as circumstances have changed and as each administration has learned lessons from previous experience and has tried to avoid or correct what it viewed as mistakes.

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