Realism and the War on Terror

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Can America win the war on terror?

Just to comment briefly on the question, America's war on terror is a highly simplistic characterisation of something so complex. Saying war can be easily waged against terror makes it seem as if it can be easily won. America's war on terror is like waging a war on littering or waging a war against racism (which still goes on in the US and most parts of the world) . It cannot be fully won but it can be controlled to an extent. If the US aims to win this war on terror the US has to look at the why and how question of terrorism, the underlying causes, and it has to find a solution. America also needs to re-examine its foreign policies in the Middle East and to the rest of the world, America needs to change it strategies towards dealing with threats, crisis and conflicts, and until it does, the US wouldn't be terrorists prime target. However, just to keep a balance view, one should look at the series of events that led the US to wage this war on terror, one has to examine the strategies for winning this war and whether or not this war on terror has been a success in relation to the question.

According to the US federal statute, "terrorism means premeditated politically motivated violence perpetrated against non combatant targets by sub national groups intended to influence an audience" (Hayden, Lansford, Watson, 2003 xii). These acts can either be done through bombings, hijacking or even kidnapping. This definition of terrorism as a "premeditated politically motivated violence" shows the extreme measures that terrorist groups are willing to take in order to change the structure in their society, which leads to the question of why such extreme measures have been taken to warrant change in their society. Terrorism has resulted as a product of globalisation, which makes the threat more imminent than ever. Terrorists will always have the element of surprise to their advantage they don't necessarily need to posses advance technological weapons this was proved during 911. The first thing one has to understand is that terrorism did not spring up overnight, it has been going on for centuries also, terrorist attacks has been aimed at the US through bombings of US embassies in Tanzania, Kenya and Lebanon. It wasn't until the events of 9/11, which prompted America to wage this war on terror. The US foreign policy following the incident of 9/11 changed drastically in a number of ways, firstly it showed the vulnerability of the US on its own soil, which increased the threat to the US security. This also brought terrorist awareness to the US. Secondly, America felt it could be attacked again at any time in the near future; government experts were able to point out that WMDs could easily accessed and deployed on the US. Thirdly, terrorism became the number one agenda on the US foreign policy; before 911 intelligence operations had existed it wasn't until 911 that they were given high priority, with the creation of the Homeland Security, which is aimed to protect America from terrorism. Fourthly, the US doctrine changed from one of containment and deterrence as was used during the Cold War, to the use of prevention and pre-emption. Which is a highly controversial issue that will be addressed later in the essay.

The question can America win the war on terrorism is an extremely debatable issue. On the one hand America could win the war on terror if they could offer a plausible explanation as to why it's a subject of terrorism to its citizens. After 911 Bush focused more on the inexplicable acts of the terrorist rather than why America was targeted in the first place. "They hate what we see right here in this chamber- a democratically elected government, their leaders are self appointed. They hate our freedoms- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other" (Hayden, Lansford, Watson 2003 29)

Bushes speech doesn't offer an explanation at...
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