President Barack Obama’s oval office speech Sunday was intended to show toughness and resolve in the war against the self-declared Islamic State, and to reassure a jittery public in the aftermath of the domestic attack by followers of the group in San Bernardino, California. At the end of his remarks, however, he reminded Americans to not allow their anxieties about terrorism to turn into hostility toward Muslim Americans. This is not sentimental rhetoric. It’s a critical part of the strategy toward defeating the group that can strengthen America’s social capital at home and soft power abroad.
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