Press Release

RELEASE: The Terrorism Index

Majority of America’s Foreign-Policy Experts Now Say That the Troop Surge Is Failing in Iraq, Call for a U.S. Troop Withdrawal in 18 Months - Pakistan Most Likely Country to Become Stronghold for al Qaeda; Russia is Least Valuable U.S. Ally

A majority of America’s foreign-policy experts now hold a negative view of the White House’s “troop surge” strategy in Iraq, and two thirds support a redeployment of troops in the next 18 months, according to a bipartisan survey produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress.

The third Foreign Policy/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index—published in the September/October issue of Foreign Policy magazine and available today at and—is the first comprehensive attempt to determine the American foreign-policy establishment’s assessment of how the United States is fighting the war on terror.

Of the more than 100 foreign-policy experts (both liberals and conservatives) surveyed, 53 percent now say that the surge is having a negative impact—an increase of 22 percentage points in just the past six months. Nearly all of the experts (92 percent) believe that the war in Iraq is having a negative impact on U.S. national security.

A bipartisan majority (68 percent) now say that the United States should redeploy troops from Iraq in the next 18 months, though most oppose an immediate withdrawal. Surprisingly, more conservatives (25 percent) called for an immediate pullout than liberals or moderates. 

Overall, nearly all of the experts (91 percent) say that the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans and report that the country is not winning the war on terror (84 percent). More than 80 percent predict a 9/11-scale terrorist attack on the United States in the next 10 years.

Pakistan was named as the country most likely to become the next al Qaeda stronghold, ahead of Iraq. Seventy-five percent also said that Pakistan—home to A.Q. Kahn’s now infamous nuclear black market ring—was the most likely to transfer nuclear technology to terrorists in the near future.

But when the experts were asked to name the ally that least serves U.S. security interests, Pakistan placed second to Russia, with Moscow’s consistent criticism of the United States, refusal to back tougher sanctions against Iran, and the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of President Vladimir Putin likely weighing on the experts’ minds.

For complete survey results, methodology, list of participants, and experts available for comment, visit and

About the Foreign Policy/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index

The Terrorism Index is survey of more than 100 of America’s top foreign-policy experts—including two former secretaries of state, a national security advisor, intelligence officers, and senior military leaders—and represents the first comprehensive attempt to determine the U.S. foreign-policy establishment’s assessment of how the United States is fighting the war on terror. 

The index is based on the results of a survey designed by the Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy. Participants in the survey were selected by Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress for their expertise in terrorism and U.S. national security. No one currently working in an official U.S. government capacity was invited to participate.

The nonscientific survey was administered online from May 23-June 26, 2007. Respondents were asked to self-identify their ideological bias from choices across a spectrum: very conservative, conservative, somewhat conservative, moderate, somewhat liberal, liberal, and very liberal. Twenty-five people identified themselves as some level of conservative, 39 identified as moderate, and 44 identified as some level of liberal. To ensure balance, the survey was weighted according to ideology to make the number of weighted liberal respondents equal to the number of conservative respondents. Moderate and conservative respondents remained unweighted.