Terrorism is one of the most serious issues that mankind faces in this century. It is the phenomenon that undermines the basic principles of human existence in the society and places threat of destruction over the whole mankind. The United States of America is the country which is largely subject to the threat of terrorist attack due to the active role of US in the foreign policy and in domestic affairs of many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, etc. Thus, according to the classification offered by Donald Nuechterlein (2000), every country has its interests that are distinguished into four major groups on two levels. Led by this theory, US national interests and threats the country faces can be aimed at Defence of Homeland, Economic Well Being, Favourable World Order and Promotion of Values (Nuechterlein, 2000).
Consequently, the threats faced by the country nowadays can be survival issues, vital issues, major issues and peripheral issues (Nuechterlein, 2000). The threat of terrorist attack under today’s conditions is viewed as one of the major issues but is actually treated as a vital issue. In 2001 after the terrorist attack on September, 11 in New York it was a vital issue or even survival issue but with the course of time defence measures and military operations against terrorism made it possible to reduce the intensity of threat to a lower level. Consequently, today’s situation is on the way of improvement as Barack Obama is to return American troops from Iraq and by this correlate the actual threat of terrorist attack and measures that are taken to handle it by the US Government.
To continue the topic, it is obvious that United States had to fight the threat that emerged rather obviously in 2001. It was decided by Bush Administration that the use of military force against al Qaeda members located in Afghanistan was the most effective step. The military operation was started there and followed later by Iraq war directed against Hussein’s regime that allegedly supported terrorism and had weapons of mass destruction at its disposal. Nevertheless, war in Afghanistan brought little results in catching terrorist leaders responsible for attacks on New York and other anti-social actions. Moreover, Iraq war did not prove the existence of the weapons of mass destruction in that country, neither proved it the support of al Qaeda by Hussein. Drawing from this, the international community became troubled by the issues of use of military force by the United States in other countries.
As a result, nowadays a powerful campaign is being carried out against the unlimited use of military force by the US to settle its disputed with other UN or NATO members or countries that do not belong to any of the organizations. Separate countries, like Russia, France, etc. condemned the war in Afghanistan as an unacceptable means for fighting terrorism. Moreover, such powerful organizations as UN also expressed their concern about the military expansion of the US army to Afghanistan and Iraq. UN called for peaceful settlement of the conflict and for the joint struggle of all countries against terrorism. Thus, it can be said that social attitude towards use of military forces, political opinions of countries and organizations are the factors that limit the US use of force in fighting terrorism.
Drawing from this, it can be stated that the use of military forces by United States was rather substantial and resulted in social and political protests against it. It can be concluded then, that the policies of the US Government in respect of fighting the threat of terrorism in the world look more like deterrence than defense. To clear it up, it is necessary to define the terms regarding their actual meaning. Thus, defense in this context is the set of activities a country undertakes to protect itself and its citizens from external threats including terrorism. Defense may include border control activities, defensive wars, etc (Scowcroft, Brent, and Peter Hays, 1997). But the case with the United States is an example of deterrence as a method to fight terrorism. Deterrence thus is a process of threatening one’s opponents against their committing of crimes or terrorist attacks as well (Scowcroft, Brent, and Peter Hays, 1997).
As it is obvious from the recent events in the US foreign and domestic policies, the tactics chosen by Bush Administration is a deterrence tactics as it makes use of military enforced control over those countries where terrorism is allegedly supported. Moreover, there are no obvious proofs of these facts presented for the public view, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq seem to harm ordinary citizens than terrorist and their supporters. In addition, the use of force is always a sign of inability of the countries authorities to find any peaceful and politically correct means to fight the threat of terrorism without sacrificing thousands of lives of innocent people. Thus, it is obvious that the threat of terrorism is of vital importance for today’s society but the means the US chose to fight it are sometimes irrelevant and too much based on the military force rather than on a political dialogue.
- Nuechterlein, Donald. 2000. America Recommitted: A Superpower Assesses Its Role in a Turbulent World. University Press of Kentucky; 2 Sub edition.
- Scowcroft, Brent, and Peter Hays. 1997. American Defense Policy. Johns Hopkins University Press.