A great deal has been written about Islamist ideology and its connection to terrorism, but relatively little of it has seriously addressed the unique strategic problem that Islamism presents to the United States: the difficulty that the secular American republic has experienced in framing its intellectual struggle of ideas with ideologues whose worldview is religiously-based. It is striking that, thirty years after the Iranian revolution and well more than a decade after Osama Bin Laden emerged as a clear threat to the United States, US government statements addressing the various threads of Islamism still tend be simplistic, often misleadingly so. Indeed, if anything, the American "counter-Islamism" effort has become increasingly unfocused in recent months, with the new Administration seemingly placing great faith in its ability to translate President Obama's personal popularity into soft power influence, but no clearly enunciated vision of what it is going to do with this supposed influence—a fact reflected in the Administration's vague and underwhelming reaction to the explosion of protests in the days immediately following the 12 June Iranian presidential election.
Ilan Berman's new book attempts to move the "victory debate" forward in the United States. Berman argues that in recent years, military operations have broken the back of the original Al Qaeda organization. However, rather than progressively fading into irrelevance, as many unsuccessful terrorist movements have in the past, Al Qaeda has morphed into something new, "more an idea than an organization—a Sunni jihadist front" comprised of many groups that essentially are operationally independent. This "3.0" version of Al Qaeda, as Berman calls it, is extremely dangerous, but it does have a critical vulnerability "to properly calibrated messages that highlight the poverty of its ideas, the costs of its ideological program, and the dire consequences should it succeed in its radical endeavor." Also, "[t]he Iranian regime is similarly bankrupt, on both an ideological and practical level," a claim whose accuracy already has been borne out by events.
Berman's chapter titled "Messaging to the (Muslim) Masses" is a damning, and convincing, indictment of US public diplomacy in the Islamic world. He argues that, "Nearly eight years into the fight, America still lacks anything remotely resembling a coherent strategy for competing on the Muslim world's intellectual battlefields. And without one, it has steadily ceded the strategic initiative to its adversaries, who do." Unlike in the Cold War period, relatively little money is spent on public diplomacy, particularly for Muslim-majority countries—Berman gives figures of $1.15 billion for total public diplomacy spending, and "$154 million... for public outreach toward the Middle East, the principal theater of operations in the struggle against radical Islam."
Winning the Long War also contains a very interesting chapter that offers suggestions on how economic warfare can be waged against terrorist and terror-sponsoring states, particularly Iran, as well as one on international law, the United Nations, and related matters. The final chapter in the book, titled "Strategic Democratization," is a brief but thoughtful discussion of the possibilities and perils—particularly the ability of Islamists to use democracy as a tool to advance their agenda—of democratization in the Islamic world.
Winning the Long War is a valuable contribution to the policy literature, containing many ideas that merit further discussion and exploration. Moreover, its brevity makes it accessible even for those with little time for reading. It is to be hoped that many policymakers, academics, and others will do so.
 Ilan Berman, Winning the Long War: Retaking the Offensive Against Radical Islam (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2009), p. 2.
 Ibid., p. 26.
 Ibid., p. 31.
 Ibid., p. 45.