(See also Muslim extremism.) Successful counterterrorism involves good diplomacy and good police work. Foiling it depends largely on the good will of people around the would-be terrorists who can alert authorities. Police and community work has the best track record. In contrast, invading and occupying Muslim states reduces the fund of good will on which successful terror prevention depends. The reconstitution of the US Information Service (gutted in the late 1990s) would allow better public diplomacy. Promoting American studies in the Muslim world, in its major languages rather than just in English, would help overcome widespread misconceptions about the US among educated Muslim observers. Increasing federal funding for Middle East studies at home would better equip this country to deal with this key region. More adept diplomacy with the Muslim states, most of which are as afraid of terrorism as we are, could lead to further cooperation in the security field. Cooperation with the police of Middle Eastern states would be much more effective than launching invasions.
-- excerpted from The Nation, 11/19/2007