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Smith Family Foundation Debate on Anti-Americanism in the Arab World

By Craig Charney | video | December 6, 2006

Video Link

Responding to Anti-Americanism in the Arab World: Have We Been Effective Since 9/11?

Over the five years since 9/11, American foreign policy, security policy, and psychology have been reshaped to address Arab anger and the terrorism that can result from it. On 9/11 what most of the world saw as a horrific act of brutality, many in the Arab streets saw as a success. While currently the Iraq war overshadows all, the Administration has also aggressively sought to engage the Arab world and convince it that America is not the enemy it assumes.

Have these efforts been successful? Are they hopelessly overshadowed by the Iraq War and our Israeli alliance? Does trying to understand and react to the motivation of the Jihadists amount to appeasement? Should we simply be grateful that — despite several well publicized attempts — there has not been a major terrorist attack on American soil in the five years since 9/11?

The Need for a Forum

Until 2001, New York City did not have a high-profile forum devoted primarily to public policy debates.

A Forum is Created

Now, The Smith Family Foundation brings together some of the most interesting and influential policy makers and authors in the world, help to present their ideas to an audience of professionals, students, media, and other interested members of the public, the likes of which only New York City can gather.

Our Role

The Foundation does not take sides, functioning only as a host and moderator. Yet, its impact on policy arguments will, we hope, be profound. With debaters and audiences of the caliber we invite, simply changing the thinking of our participants affects the broader intellectual climate. (When future historians of ideas discuss trends in twenty-first century thought, they may well record that time and again the seeds of change could be found in talks held at the Smith Foundation.)

Our Mission

The Foundation defends free speech and a free society through the critical examination of ideas, sponsoring debates and related activities in the New York area. In a world where philosophical arguments all too often take the form of partisan rancor and anti-intellectual appeals, the Foundation hopes to serve as a reminder that we are united by a deeper loyalty: to skeptical analysis, reason, and truth-seeking. The Foundation aims to foster informed debates that are both vigorous and civil, on topics ranging from economics to ethics, from politics to art, and beyond. Some debates will yield clear answers and some debates can never be settled, but the argumentative process itself can serve as a model of rational discourse in an often divided society.

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