Published Volume XXXIV, Nos. 1 & 2, 2021

The quote above refers to the recurring dialogue between Miss Sophie, a sophisticated English lady, and her butler James in a British comedy sketch from 1963. Miss Sophie every year celebrates her birthday by holding a festive dinner for her friends, Mr. Pomeroy, Mr. Winterbottom, Sir Toby, and Admiral von Schneider. Unfortunately, Miss Sophie has long outlived all her friends, so she is the only one seated at the table; her guests are represented by her butler James, who ends up waiting on the imaginary guests and consuming all of their alcoholic beverages while toasting Miss Sophie. All four courses of the dinner follow the same pattern: Miss Sophie will choose the beverage that best fits with the course, followed by James asking, “The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?” and Miss Sophie answering, “The same procedure as every year, James!”

The exchange might also be used to describe U.S. counter-terrorism strategy since the 9/11 attacks. Even though Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump could not be more different in terms of their political outlooks, personalities, and leadership styles, there has been a remarkable continuity in their approaches. Since 9/11, U.S. counter-terrorism policies have focused on externalizing the terrorism threat, designed to prevent the enemy from coming close to the U.S. homeland, by means of border security and surveillance measures, and tie them up offshore, either on far away battlefields, at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, or in other overseas prisons. Military operations have been a dominant feature of U.S. responses since 2001, including full-scale invasions, airstrikes, armed drones, and special forces, as well as intelligence…

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