Jan 25, 2018 in Political

American Reaction to Terrorism

Terrorism is a planned use of unlawful violence or threats that are intended to instill the fear intimidate or coerce the government into doing something. Terrorism in the United States of America dates back to the first century. Various administrations have made or amended some policies on terrorism. Terrorism is a term that has been used over the years. Yet, there is no single agreed definition for it. It has been described both as a strategy and a tactic or organized crime. In the Middle East, terrorism is perceived to be a holy war. Historically, America has had some enemies who targeted at the U.S and gave a justification of the oppressing political influence and policies by America. Due to the evolving world, terrorism is becoming more complex and prevalent. This has provoked the United States’ government over the years to come up with the stringent policies to curb terrorism. It is from these procedures that the United States’ administration has been said to increase its power and political influence. Agencies dealing with terrorism such as homeland are experiencing difficulties in defining what terrorism is because of its expanding and changing nature. The range at which terrorism is extending is alarming; and the methods applied by terrorists are limited only to the one’s imagination.

Since the 9/11 attack, the American administration has come up with the policies aiming at countering any future terrorism on the soil of the United States. These policies have raised the debates among the Americans and among other nations that these policies are increasing its power and political influence. These policies are also thought to be undermining democracy. Several years after the September attacks, the struggle against the domestic and international terrorism has not only been an affair of the United States’ government, but also the business of the entire world and international organizations. The current counterinsurgency and counterterrorism policies have been adopted and implemented by the United States’ government as it has increased its power.

How Terrorism Policies Have Increased the United States’ Power?

Various presidents in the history of America have come up with various policies to counter terrorism. These policies have continued to increase the United States’ power in comparison with other governments in the world. All the American presidents have been informed of the same guiding principles. The foundation of the American counterterrorism policies, as stated by the U.S department for counterterrorism, is exemplified in four principles. These principles have portrayed the United States as a super power in dealing with terrorism. These guiding principles state that the United States’ government will never make concessions to or in any way agree or give in to terrorist demands. The second guiding principle states that any terrorist or a terrorist group will be apprehended and brought to justice for any crimes committed or any crimes intended to be done. The third principle states that the sponsors of terrorists or terrorism must be pressured and if necessary isolated to make them change such behaviors. Finally, the fourth principle that has acted as a guide to the formation and implementation of terrorism policies is that the United States can support counterterrorism activities of states or countries allied to the United States’ government.

As a result of the above guiding principles, the United States has continued to stand as a powerful nation. This power is also enhanced by the fact that the American controls impact much on the world economy. It has called for economic sanctions to the world-known terrorist areas. This leaves such countries with no options, but to change from such behavior. Other states give credit to America because of such sanctions; and, thus, the American power continues to increase.

During Reagan’s administration, the policies adapted can be said to be almost wholly reactionary. During this period, the USA was not ready for violence on such a large scale and certainly not for the subsequent attacks that occurred. Policies adapted by Reagan’s administration were completely reactionary because he did strike a deal to sell arms to Iran in the expectations of acquiring freedom of the American hostage. However, such a policy was described as unethical and an abuse of the executive power, Reagan was intending to maintain the power of America by not sacrificing the lives of the U.S military officers and civilians. Another way that the policies of Reagan’s administration enhanced the power of the United States is that he increased the budgetary allocation to the military. This ensured that the military had the best equipment’s to prevent any terrorist activities. Equipping the military power with the best equipment ensures that terrorism is kept at the minimal level.

During Clinton’s administration, several policies contributed to the United States’ power. Clinton’s administration responded swiftly to terrorist attacks. Clinton took a more decisive action and ordered a missile attack against suspected al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan. This put the United States in the forefront as a country capable of curtailing terrorism activities in any part of the world. This also contributed to the American power. During Bush’s administration, terrorist activities on the United States’ soil were immense. Terrorists were successful in hitting several United States’ buildings such as the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre. President Bush waged the war on al-Qaeda. This portrayed America as a powerful country that can start the war against any terrorist group. During Obama’s administration, the United States’ policies against terrorism were as the most fruitful. The administration invested more on the policies that involved intelligence gathering on terrorist groups. This led to capturing of the world known terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden.

Just like the soldiers wearing camouflaged uniforms in order to remain undetected, terrorists also come in all forms. This has informed the current U.S policies against them. The government is developing its intelligence gathering methods so as to identify any terroristic activity. This includes such measures as visual surveillance and wiretaps. All these activities have continued to portray America as a powerful nation with the capability to handle any form of terrorist attack. Over the history, terrorism is changing. The modern advances and development in communication systems and the development of more sophisticated electronics have opened a wide array of opportunities for a delivery of weapons of mass destruction. The frustrations and difficulties associated with countering terrorism. They have facilitated the adaption of more radical measures by the United States’ government. These polices have also displayed the political influence by the government.

How Policies on Terrorism Display the Political Influence

Throughout the history, the magnitude and fatality of terrorist activities in America have been on a rise. Terrorists have acquired more destructive weapons so as to pursue their own agenda. However, due to its economic, political and social power, America has continued to display its political influence on the world. Through bans and restrictions, the United States of America continues to display its political influence. The United States’ department of state has identified and listed the countries that sponsor terrorist activities. This is followed by bans and restrictions being imposed on these countries. In so doing, the American government has continued to display its political impact on other countries. Terrorism has been a concern to many world governments. The United States and its affiliates have responded to terroristic attacks with a full support from all countries to stop terrorism spreading. The American government is able to convince its affiliates to also impose bans and restrictions on the countries that are thought to sponsor terrorists. The successful conviction of other countries by the United States’ government to impose the restrictions and bans display the political influence of the American government. The efforts of the American government and other countries have made it possible to work against terrorism while using intelligence, financial investigation, military actions, humanitarian aid and diplomacy.

Although the United States have been displayed as a world political power that has continued to have the political influence on the world, there has been a disconnection in some of these policies. Some negative effects that these policies had on Americans and other people in the world cannot be ignored. The American economy is, to some extent, struggling. There are over 100 world known terroristic groups in the whole world. This will continue to drain the United States’ resources. This includes both human, i.e. military officers lost in battles, and the financial resources. These policies against world terrorism have led to the establishment of Guantanamo’s detention camp. It is an interrogation facility established during Bush’s administration. The questions have been raised on the methods used to acquire the information from terrorists or suspects. Former and current prisoners have complained of tortures and abuses while in this facility.

Other areas that these policies display are a disconnection where the United States appears to infringe on the sovereignty of other states. The United States in conjunction with other affiliates continues to conduct the weapon’s inspection on other states. This can be perceived as a way of domination and control of other countries’ internal affairs. It also shows that the American administration does not respect other countries’ internal businesses. Historically, the policies adapted by different administrations in America display the American quest for its domination. America’s invasion in the Middle East has been described as its strategy to control the Middle East having the substantial oil wells. Therefore, it is worth noting that not all policies claiming to curb terrorism are genuine. Some of them have the hidden agendas.

Anti-Terrorism Policies and Democracy

Policies that Display Democracy

Democracy and liberty promotion have long been a core aspect of the U.S foreign policy. The US government has been committed towards supporting democratic institutions and ideals around the world in the fight against terrorism. These efforts have been significant especially in the Muslim majority countries. This is because the principles of the democratic and liberal governance are normally powerful antidote to extremists’ hatred and repression. In the war against terrorism, the US government has prioritized the promotion of democracy and individual freedom through its anti-terroristic policies. These policies aim at extending the blessing of freedom to other countries and protecting the US national security. Encouraging the democratic values has not only helped in the protection of citizens against human rights’ abuse by an authoritarian regime, but it has also provided a safeguard against Islamists’ extremist movements. Anti-terrorism policies have aimed at countering the extremist ideology by proving that Muslim majority nations and autonomous doctrines are compatible. In addition, anti-terrorism policies are normally involved into countering Islamists that do not support terrorism publicly. However, thy still seek to destabilize democratic systems and pursue a dogma that leads to the segregation against religious views.

Historically, most American anti-terrorism policies have been aimed at promoting the concept of liberty and democracy. This is usually determined for protecting the US against the possibility of abrupt political shifts especially in the Middle East that anti-American Islamists can exploit to champion for their terrorism agendas. The US government normally strives to support democracy and liberty in its fight against terrorism. This is because any kind of instability in terroristic active nations provides a bleeding ground for Al-Qaeda sympathizers.

The concept of supporting democratic institutions and ideals in other countries as a foundation of the US foreign policy on terrorism has deep roots. The American founders have structured the foreign policy with an interest of preventing any power from dominating in Europe. This would threaten the independence of the newly established USA. This has made them develop a prudent foreign policy that was both principal and practical with regard to democracy. All these policies were founded on the concepts of freedom and democracy. Anti-terrorism policies have been formulated on the same concepts and fundaments to promote democracy and freedom abroad.

In the fight against terrorism, Bush’s administration prioritized democracy building in the Middle East through the formation of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in  2002. The policy was aimed at firming the capacity of the civil society, rule of law, women empowerment and expansion of education as well as the encouragement of economic reforms. This would consequently increase the political participation with the help of non-governmental organizations. The support of a democratization process was aimed at reducing the enmity to the west and countering Islamist extremism towards the west. According to Bush’s administration, the support of the democratic institution and ideals through the local empowerment would play significant efforts in the war against terrorism. It was also evident that a democratic nation would be unfavorable for extremism agendas to be bled.

Obama’s administration has been proactive in support of democracy in its efforts to fight against global terrorism. In 2010, in the speech to the Council of Foreign Affairs, the secretary of state Hillary Clinton emphasized that the United States of America was committed to champion for democratic ideals and values thorough the world parallel to the war against terrorism. Obama’s administration has championed for the construction of the international architecture of values that will play a critical role in countering repression. It has also extended freedom and democracy as well a challenge of authoritarianism that promotes terrorism.

The fight against extremism and terrorism is often viewed as an ideological battle and a principle of the democratic governance. In addition, the democratic governance supported by liberal institutions has been a powerful antidote for extremists and terrorists. The US government has foralong used democracy as a strategy to make Muslim societies less incubators of extremism. Democratizing societies have been adopted by the American government as a way to reduce extremism and terrorism. This is because it permits avenues of dissent, the protection of minorities and alternation of power.

Douglas Feith, a former secretary in the Department of Defense, has noted that American terrorism policies have been promoting some ideas being favorable to individual rights and liberties in the Muslim societies. These policies have been focusing on developing the effective ways of inducing debates among Muslims on the radical dogmas. They are promoted by terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. The main objective of these policies is not to compel Muslims to like the US, but to encourage the Muslims to discard and reject understanding and ideologies of Islam that support or even encourage the subversion and violence against the west. In addition, it has been noted that extremism and radicalism can also result from modernization, religious traditions or opposition to the US policies in the region. However, the American government has acknowledged that the absence of democracy provides a ground for the extremist groups to fester. Democracy has been used by the government to weaken radicals and open a way for the larger radicalization especially when there is a pressure for the social transformation. For example, a social change was witnessed in Algeria and Palestinian in 1990s and 2006 respectively. This has made the US government to tailor anti-terrorism policies fitting the unique democratic circumstances of individual countries. The US government normally respects the activities and autonomy of each and every country, but its activities have become a concern to the US only when they threaten the fundamental human rights and liberties of its people.


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