Bush is correct that America needs to create a narrative about a better future that undercuts the message of hate and violence promoted by the extremists. But we have to learn to do it with our soft or attractive power and not succumb to the illusionists' belief that we can impose it by force. And it has to be credible to others. Grandiose rhetoric merely leads to charges of hypocrisy. In the long run, a democratic future may help reduce some of the sources of rage. But if we continue to choose inappropriate means in the short run, we may never get to that long run.
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., is Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University and author, most recently, of The Power Game: A Washington Novel (2004).Essay Types: Essay