اتل شمس :IS The United States winning the war against terrorism


This paper will discuss the United State’s policy regarding to global war on terrorism as it has evolved over the past fourteen years, it will debate whether United States of America is winning the never ending global war against terrorism or vice-versa. After a brief history of what terrorism is, it will be essential to present the full explanation of weaknesses that United State’s foreign policy in the global war against terrorism faces. It is worth noting that while analysing the challenges they have been facing for the past decades, it will be helpful to comprehend that by curing the symptoms it will absolutely not going to solve the problem as the root cause of it needs to be treated. United State must pursue a different strategy in the war against terrorism. In other to discuss whether Global war against terrorism is achievable, it is worth observing the primary cause and why are the terrorism groups becoming more sophisticated.

It would be ideal to begin by defining terrorism. There is no one general consensus to the definition of terrorism even the United Nation have failed to come up with an internationally accepted one up to in the aftermath of the atrocities 11th September 2001. However, Noam Chomsky puts it this way, terrorism amount to the killing of unarmed civilians and it’s something that is engaged in both states and none state terrorism. It is largely an apparatus through which states use formidable tactics in some cases violence in order to control the mass population and maintain themselves in eternal elite powers. The characteristics of the 9/11 attacks have made international terrorism a new and long term dangerous threat against the West, which is associated with new breed of terrorists, religious fanatics and surfing the internet, improvising new methods to carry out inhumane and callous acts of barbarism.

In other to prevent atrocities of this nature, a thorough evaluation must be taken into perspective in preventing terrorism, and what steps to take. First and foremost the State needs a vibrant and conclusive political impartiality. It can be argued that the world is facing a new type of guerilla warfare therefore, new ways of thinking are required but this is often missing among military establishments and politicians or absolutely overlook by both. It is challenging for each State to acknowledge and the fact that there will be severe risk by simply proclaiming a termination to the global war on terrorism, one can say there is no light at other end of the tunnel so far, and it could last even lengthier than the Cold War. Some critique strongly argue that United States attitude to the war on terror has produced more terrorists than it has proclaimed to nullify, so therefore if it will continues to do so unless the United States drastically changes their approach.

Alongside the actual problematic nature of global war against terrorism around the world, it will be hard to distinguish between the famous phrase “one man is terrorist and another man is freedom fighter” In most cases the rhetoric around it does deviate, equally there are various instances, Martin McGuiness a well renowned former (Irish Republic Army) IRA member was recognised terrorist who is currently the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. In some cases former terrorists even became head of the State such Nelson Mandela, he was regarded as terrorists almost for three decades by the then South African apartheid regime. Equally the leader of the Jewish Irgun an Organisation that British considered them as terrorist in 1947 their demands were to fight against British for the creation of Israel State the person behind the movement was Menachem Begin, who later became the prime Minister of Israel’s Independent State. It can be argued that the above giving cases were newly created countries out of the former French and British colonies that they had been in the run for the offences against their white colonial masters, which they regarded them as terrorist or even served time in prison. The current situation of war on terrorism does differ from the 20th century struggle.

In contemporary war against terrorism it is vital for the United States to comprehend as the world’s superpower that, what is the core issue for the rise of extreme views in mainly Islamic countries? One may strongly argue that the main reason for the rise of radical movements around Islamic world was the legacy, which developed during the grand strategy of United States foreign policy of Containment. According to (Cox and Stokes 2012,p131) throughout the Cold War Containment was the core groundwork of American foreign policy and their ultimate aim was to contain the spread of Communism and its expansion. Here it can be explored that the American did not predict the backlash of very Einstein Monster that they created to fight their proxy war against the Soviets just over a decade passed by, came back to haunt them. The US backed the Afghan terrorists (Mujahedeen) who were fighting against Soviet Backed secular and extremely sophisticated Afghan government. According to Stuart Elden professor of political Geography (Terror and Territory, 2009), the impact of the state that harbor terrorist groups it shows these are the states where the supposedly inviolable relation between sovereignty and territory has been broken down. Afghanistan became the first safe heaven and ungovernable territory for extremist to seek refuge. This country was not strange to conflict. When the Soviets left defeated, in 1988, pro Soviet President, Mohammed Najibullah, managed to survive merely 4 years after their departure. Afghanistan fundamentally melted into an intricate civil war, a contest eventually won in large measure by the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement in 1996 and later Al Qaida. So therefore unaware of the future chaos, United State foreign policy of containment continued to provide financial and military assistance for extremist barbaric Mujahedeen. (Unholy Wars Cooley, 2002). As a result the secular Afghan government collapsed. Simultaneously a contemporary parallel example could be given about US foreign policy preferences of extremist terrorists groups over a fully functional secular sovereign state under the pretext of war against terrorism or freeing the oppressed minority such as Iraq, Libya and Syria to name a few.

It can be argued that under the name of global war against terrorism operations has aided the United States to spread various strategic goals in different parts of the globe, of course these agendas in most cases are designed to control over natural resources that are paramount for the United States economy. Therefore the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan and also the destabilising of Libya and Syria or across Arab world all have the same resemblance to geopolitical strategies are vigorously critical to United States national interest. In addition regardless of countless deaths by US bombing or drone attacks in these countries under the pretext of US war against terror has further intensified internal tension amongst ethnic groups, from authors personal account for instance, the internal ethnic conflict since the occupation of Afghanistan amongst the cities and provinces has enormously increased, which historically Afghanistan never experienced. Another example could be given Libya, Syria and Iraq; correspondingly the sectarian divide in Iraq is at its peak over the issues of Shiite and Sunnis.

To emphasize the United States have immensely failed on the war against terrorism since the involvement of Iraq and Afghanistan the world became an insecure place despite the fact that security measure has been tighten allover the world. This unequivocally means bombing them by drones or putting soldiers on the ground are not the solution to the problem since the war on terrorism has deteriorated, United State must try to change their tactics and ways to tackle the problem of terrorism. (Killing by police) For example in every society there are numerous laws in place to prevent murder and killings, however the murder still happens, it can be reduced but cannot be eliminated. Military might is not the answer to tackle terrorism, if the continuation of either side such as US bombing by (drones) to win or for terrorists dying by (suicide) to win continues there will be no winner. In fact in the war, nobody is the winner only war itself is the winner. One should really ask the question what does success or defeat really mean in the war against terrorism? Will this kind of conflict ever end? Currently people around the world are psychologically suffering from this never-ending war, let alone the financial cost of the war. How long will it take, and would one see victory coming in the near future? A common prediction can be drawn all wars ultimately ends, nothing in this world remain eternal, would we recognize it when it came to end?

The failure of US foreign policy to fight terrorism in particular Al Qaeda over the last Fourteen years has ended disastrously, it backlashed and the world is now seeing the emergence of ISIS, this must be explicitly indisputable evidence enough that the current strategy is failing. As Chomsky once said “everyone is worried how to stop terrorism, its easy stop, stop participating in it” American counterterrorism policy is the wrong remedy to bring peace and stability in the world. Since the growing numbers of none state actors of Islamic terrorist groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Shabab becoming challenging force around the world from Africa to central Asia the United State is simply losing the war against Islamic extremism. In contrast it can be argued in last six to seven years the Middle East and central Asia become the breeding ground for radical Islam such as ISIS. It managed to develop and advance through North Africa. This undoubtedly indicates that the policy of United States towards war against terrorism has failed. It is obvious that various countries in the Middle East and around the world have experienced the threat and the rise in domestic instability at the hands of Islamist extremists. The United States has had to re-engage in the Middle East in order to fight once again the swift rise of Islamic State.

Furthermore the rapid homegrown Islamic extremism is another dangerous concern for the United State to tackle it in subtler techniques, the rise is not just in America, Europe is also facing enormous problem when it comes to the augmentation of ISIS sympathisers and supporters in particular in Britain, ISIS are using progressively and very sophisticated social media to recruit and communicate and influencing reasonably diverse groups of people from different parts of the world, specially in some cases there are some will educated females with their children. There are many grey areas to disapprove the whole process of war against terrorism as they say in United States ‘we do not negotiate with terrorist’ it means the only method to use is to eliminate the terrorists, this will remind us all, the brutality of twentieth century dictator Stalin, when anyone was creating trouble for him or if he was facing domestic dissidents he would annihilate them to get rid of the problem. Therefore, military action for the purposes of eliminating it will further exacerbate the incident of terrorism. Reducing the incident of terrorism will also require a patient and more prudent approach that would mark a departure from certain major aspects of what we have seen so far in the war on terror.

To conclude, the United State strategy on how to tackle the problem has not just failed the war against terrorism, but it ignited this heinous disease around the globe, as Al Qaida started from Afghanistan fourteen years ago now the new brand emerged as ISIS across the Middle East and Africa. Therefore the fail policy of military action for the purposes of eliminating it will further exacerbate the incident of terrorism around the world. This must be explicitly indisputable evidence enough that the current strategy has failed.

08 January 2016


Chomsky, N. (2004). Hegemony or survival: America’s quest for global dominance. London: Penguin Books.

Cooley, J. K. (2002) Unholy wars: Afghanistan, America and international terrorism. London: Pluto Press.

Cox, M. and Stokes, D. (eds.) (2012) U.S. Foreign policy. 2nd edn. New York: Oxford University Press.

Elden, S. (2009) Terror and territory: The spatial extent of sovereignty.

Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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