Prompt 3 (Global Issues 2014)

Should countries like the United States rethink the “war on terror?”

For more than a decade, the United States has made the elimination of terrorist organizations that pose a threat to national security one of its central foreign policy objectives.  This “war on terror” has cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers, has entailed extensive collateral damage to innocent civilian populations in countries that harbor terrorist groups that the U.S. has targeted, and is costing taxpayers trillions of dollars (Reuters: 14 Mar 2013).  And given the continued turmoil in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Pakistan, for instance, in which terrorist organizations are known to exist and are said to continue to pose significant risks to the U.S. and Europe (New York Times: 25 Mar 2014), it is unclear whether efforts to eliminate the threat of future terrorist attacks have been successful.  It is unclear, in other words, that the “war on terror” has made us any safer.

Is it time that countries like the United States reevaluate their approach toward global terrorism?  Why or why not?  Would a different foreign policy strategy to eliminate the threat of terrorist violence be any more effective?  Are there more important foreign policy goals we should be pursuing?


Filed under 110_2014: Global Issues

11 responses to “Prompt 3 (Global Issues 2014)

  1. Mich B.

    Put a halt on an endeavor that is impossible

    There is a website that lists quite a few terrorist attacks that were against Americans, either in other countries or on United States soil. This website is rather interesting because there have only been about three terrorist attacks that al Qaeda, or other terrorist groups, perpetuated that actually occurred in the United States (Infoplease).

    The articles for this week’s discussion stated that the war on terror is costing the United States more than 5 trillion dollars. This includes benefits for soldiers who fought in the war.

    The situation of the war on terror has always seemed a bit odd. Terrorists attack Americans more when they are on foreign soil. Car bombings at embassies and kidnapping journalists are both popular means for terrorist groups in their home countries (Infoplease).

    The cost of civilian and military life in the war on terror isn’t exactly known. The heart of this debate is very similar to the genocide one. Other countries are going to have guerrilla/terrorist groups performing attacks quite frequently (Bernis). Very rarely do they actually make attacks on United States soil. Hezbollah is another large terrorist organization similar to al Qaeda in the Middle East. They focus on attacking Israel, not the United States. United States hasn’t expressly attacked this terrorist group and it continues to operate in Lebanon (Benari).

    At the start of the War on Terror President Bush said, “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated” (Byman). However, this slogan for a campaign is just ridiculously impossible. Because of this the war on terror should likely be put on pause until a more apt and direct game plan can be put together. This assessment is due to cost, risk, and benefits.

    An argument to my case would be that we need to keep our country safe from attacks from Jihadists, however they rarely attack while we are in our own country. There is more risk for attack if we invade their country and set up embassies there. Plus, the cost in money and lives is just getting to be absurd.

    Benari, Elad and Yashir, Ari. 2014. “Katyusha Rocket Fired on Northern Israil from Lebanon” Arutz Sheva 14 July.

    Byman, Daniel. 2003. “Should Hezbollah Be Next” Foreign Affairs. 15 July.

    Infoplease. 2014. “Terrorist Attacks in the U.S. or Against Americans.” Web. 16 July.

  2. Jason B.

    The “war on terror” has lead to a rise in terror

    After September 11th, 2001, the United States entered a crusade to crackdown on international terrorism; however, Americas’ involvement in this unconventional war has lead many to reevaluate how terrorism should be fought. The United States has had its fair share of terroristic attacks prior to 9/11; from the OKC bombings, the “Unibomber,” anthrax attacks, and The World Trade Center bombings in 1993; however, after 9/11 the United States became a large scale target for international terrorists rather than domestic terrorists. It took this horrific act for the United States to wake up and come to grips with what the world has been facing for a long time.

    When the United States pledged to fight the “war on terror,” they soon realized that this type of war is unconventional. So unconventional that according to John Mueller and Mark Stewart authors of Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security, states that the United States currently spends over 400 million dollars on terrorism prevention per victim annually, as compared to cancer, for which the U.S spends only $9,000 for prevention research per victim” (Mueller and Stewart 2009). The argument then states, “well…if the United States spends all this money, then American lives are saved.” This argument is false, according to statistics from the Global Terrorism Database, over the last 20 years (which includes 9/11) average deaths from terrorism totals 162 Americans per year (Global Terrorism Database). To put this number in perspective, 685,941 Americans die from heart disease per years (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Since 9/11, the United States government has spent approximately 5 trillion dollars fighting the “war on terror” (Thompson 2011). To me, it seems like a lot of money is being used to combat terrorism, when in fact that money could be used to save greater lives, not only in this country but abroad.

    In order for the United States to become effective in this “war on terror” they must work side by side with other countries to establish an international language of who a terrorist is and the proper forms of punishment, they must work with impoverished countries where terrorism is a breeding ground and try to lift up those countries economically, and identify the causes of terrorism. Currently, the United States is considered the “Worlds Police” and many view the United States as exploiting governments to pursue policy and military objectives that benefit the U.S., reduce civil liberties, and infringe upon human rights. Since the “war on terror” the United States government has illegally and unconstitutionally spied on innocent Americans, claimed the power to assassinate its citizens without due process of the law, and created secret laws to justify mass surveillance (Singel 2008).

    With the small risk of terrorism to the United States and its citizens, the U.S. government needs to reevaluate its position on the ‘war of terror” and move away from policies that threaten human life on a large scale.

    Singel, Ryan. “FBI Tried to Cover Patriotic Act Abuses With Flawed, Retroactive Subpoenas, Audit Finds.” 13 March 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2014.

    Thompson, Mark. “The $5 Trillion War on Terror.” Times 29 June 2011.

    • Meghan J.

      The never ending “war on terror”: fueled by violence and vengeance

      Response to Jason

      Jason, you have made some really great points all throughout your response, like the fact that this is unnecessary spending. I agree with this point because the main reason the nation has such a large debt is mainly because of this “war on terror.”

      A statement you made that grabbed my attention was, “In order for the United States to become effective in this “war on terror” they must work side by side with other countries.” I could not agree more with this statement. One benefit from this “war on terror” is the fact that there are fewer terrorists seeking to attack on U.S. soil, which is good for us, but that does not mean the ending of the war on terror. In my opinion just because they stopped attacking on U.S. soil does not mean we are closer to ending this. By working closely together with alliances, this will at least move us in the right direction to some sort of “victory”. By working with our alliances this will result in the sharing of intelligence, resources, and technical assistance. As well as offering more aid (Rothkopf 2014). By working with alliances this also results in a lesser risk of “other countries using the “war on terror” as an excuse to pursue more aggressive options on their own citizens” (Shah 2013).

      Another statement you had made that caught my eye was, the fact that we need to “move away from policies that threaten human life on a large scale”. The problem with the foreign policies began when Bush was president. “Bush’s focus on Iraq instead of tackling terrorism was the single most disastrous foreign policy decision by a U.S president in the past decade, if not the past century” (Shah 2013). By just focusing on Iraq it allowed Al Qaeda’s power to strengthen. Al Qaeda has largely succeeded in accelerating the decline of U.S. global power (Shah 2013). The foreign policies are causing more damage that actually doing any good, for the past few decades the foreign policies have done nothing but make U.S citizens question them. But on the other hand adding a different foreign policy strategy would most likely make things worse. I believe that if we do strengthen the ones we have now, we can make an impact in ending terrorism. The foreign policies are there for a reason, and that reason is not to question them. Even though that is what we are doing at the moment, I think that with a little extra effort, they will actually be able to do some good.

      This war on terror is far from over. The only positive thing that has come from these 13 years of war is the death of Osama Bin Laden. Because of this war we now see all Muslims as threats, thousands of U.S solider and civilian deaths, and vengeance. Right now we are only fighting violence with more violence, when will we make a step in the right direction?

      Shah, Anup. “War on Terror.” – Global Issues. N.p., 7 Oct. 2013. Web. 16 July 2014.

      Rothkopf, David. “We Are Losing the War on Terror.” Foreign Policy. N.p., 10 June 2014. Web. 18 July 2014.

    • John L.

      Response to Jason

      Though I agree that the international community must come to an agreement on what is classified as “terrorism”, I don’t believe that it should need much consideration. Terrorism should be thought of as any violent act targeting a group with the intention to do bodily harm. Whether a mentally-ill individual walks into a subway station and blows himself up, or an Al-Qaeda group plots a major attack on U.S. soil, both are forms of terrorism, and in both situations the victims were the same: innocent civilians. So in regards to the War on Terror, it should be noted that this should include all acts of violence, both foreign and domestic.

      It is easy for many to think that the current War on Terror has been an utter failure. Over the past two decades, total war expenditures have topped $4 trillion while estimated fatalities exceed 300,000. With not much progress made against these terrorist groups, many question the United States involvement in the Middle East, and if we are fighting for a lost cause. According to a 2013 December Poll held by CNN, support for the War on Terror dropped to %17, which is down from %52 five years prior (CNN, 2014). Although there are obvious economic, social and human costs from the War on Terror, I think the most essential factor of the war rests on a question which cannot be answer: How would the world look today had military action not been taken in 2001? If the United States did not get involved in the Middle East, is it not inconceivable that we may have thwarted potential attacks?

      As a whole, I do agree that there are many problems with the United States occupation in the Middle East. However, I think it must take due consideration that potential attacks and harm to civilians may have been prevented because of the war effort.

      CNN Poll: Afghanistan war arguably most unpopular in U.S. history. (n.d.). CNN Political Ticker RSS. Retrieved July 19, 2014, from

    • Amanda O.

      Reevaluate the ‘War on Terror’ and Save Lives

      Response to Jason

      The alleged al-Qaida attacks on September 11, 2001 proved as an opportunity for the administration to propose global terrorism as a justification for military action (Levine, 2010). Per Jason’s argument this unconventional war approach has taken its toll not only time-wise, and expense-wise but also in damages. Damage that British foreign secretary David Miliband suggests caused “more harm than good” (Borger, 2009). If we step back and question has it been worth it (monetarily)? Worth the estimated $2 trillion spent on the Iraq war, or the 134,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, or the 6,802 American soldier’s lives? (Trotta, 2013) I think not, and agree that a reevaluation of the ‘war on terror’ is needed. Additionally, different foreign policy goals need to be pursued, such as stepping away from military objectives that infringe on human rights, and cause “more harm than good.”

      To further Jason’s argument, he makes a valid point that money could have saved not only American lives, but also lives abroad. More specifically perhaps helping the 20 million displaced Pakistani’s after the devastating floods in 2010. “The US is currently spending at least $12bn each month prosecuting the war in Afghanistan and the broader ‘war on terror’. That is 25-times the amount the UN has asked for to aid the 20 million displaced Pakistanis” (Levine, 2010). Call me crazy, but this unfortunate event seemed a perfect opportunity for the U.S. to step in and help with relief and rebuilding. To gain the trust and unanimity of the people, and importantly with groups and possible extremists (Levine, 2010). An obvious reevaluation on the approach to the ‘war on terror’ needs to be made, respectively in that the response to terrorist threats is primarily a military (Levine, 2010). With the U.S. holding a negative connotation as “Worlds Police” a more subtle approach toward military action could help. A revision to the approach during the devastating floods in Pakistan could have proved more beneficial to not only the ‘war on terror’ but lives of countless Pakistani people.

      As Jason states, it is detrimental to the ‘war on terror’ that there is an established international language of who a terrorist is and proper forms of punishment. In reference to our reading, Ganor suggests, “an objective definition of terrorism is not only possible; it is also indispensable to any serious attempt to combat terrorism” (Ganor, 2010). By establishing this definition, you consequently establish the cause and ultimately a goal. With a like-minded goal, all around appropriate action can be taken. Also it would be effective for the US to move away from the notion that we must kill our way out of the problems of insurgency and civil strife (Borger, 2009). Take the opportunities to work with nations on more grass root levels, gaining trust and solidarity, opposed to the approach now which has helped desperate groups find common cause against the west (Borger, 2009). The US has pledged itself to a “multigenerational” campaign against al-Qaeda; however, would it not also be wise to pledge a multigenerational campaign against poverty, inequality, authoritarianism and corruption in these very places where terrorism is so rife? (Borger, 2009).

      Borger, J. (2009, January 15). ‘War on Terror’ Was a Mistake, Says Miliband. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from Global Policy Forum:

      Ganor, B. (2010). Definig Terrorism: Is One Man’s Terrorist another Man’s Freedom Fighter? Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, 19.

      Levine, M. (2010, August 23). The Real War on Terror Must Begin. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from Global Policy Forum:

      Trotta, D. (2013, March 14). Reuters. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from Iraqi war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion:

  3. Keelin C.

    The average eighteen-year-old entering the US Military today was five years old when the Terrorist Attacks of 9/11 took place. According to BBC Newsround, over 3,000 people were killed in America on 9/11 (bbc). As of April 2014, since the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, over 6,000 Americans have died (costs of war). And, according to Huffington Post over 500,000 Iraqi’s have died since we invaded the country in 2003 (huffingtonpost).

    Statistically speaking, America is not helping innocent civilians in these war torn countries. Our “War on Terror” isn’t working; in fact we are making it worse. According to one of our reading assignments, “after 9/11 terrorist activity fell back to pre-2000 levels until after the Iraq invasion, and has since escalated dramatically” (Apps, 1). Does America need to reevaluate its approach to global terrorism? ABSOLUTELY! Clearly what we’re doing now isn’t working. I do believe a different foreign policy strategy to eliminate terrorist violence would be more effective. Obviously shipping suspected terrorists off to Cuba and waterboarding them is not getting us the results we wanted. If it were, we would’ve left Afghanistan and Iraq long before we started to see how negatively this war has impacted American society.

    On a different note, I thought what Jackie Northam reported about drones was fascinating and completely terrifying all at once. It seems as though America has a bit of a complex. See, we can have all the nuclear warheads and “surveillance” drones as we want. But the minute another country steps on the scene and has the same toys, we get up in arms (no pun intended), because they could use them against us! It’s a known fact that America is the only country in the world to have ever used nuclear warfare against another country. But the minute after we did it we said, “well shit, that was really bad. NO ONE ELSE DO THAT!” And that makes America a hypocrite. If we expect other countries to use their toys responsibly, we must do the same. What kind of example have we set so far on an international level? Not a very good one.

    Greene, David. “As Drone Strikes Increase, So Do Concerns Over Use.”

    Apps, Peter. “Terrorist Attacks Soar, India Among Most Affected Nations.”

  4. Anna G.

    Fighting Terror With Terror is Contributing to the Problem

    According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, in Pakistan alone, between 415 and 951 civilians have been killed by United States drone strikes, including 168 to 200 children (Sledge 2014) Fighting terror with terror is an ineffective way to eliminate threats to the United States, because these atrocities only build more hated of the United States and are likely to result in even more terrorism. There is never justification for killing children. Even if they are not the intended targets, they’re still dying as a result of the United States’ foreign policy. Drone strikes will never end terrorism. In fact, it’s likely to cause more terrorism. If terrorism had an official definition, it is likely that the United States would be guilty of it to some extent. After losing his elderly mother in a drone strike, Rafiq ur-Rehman comes to the United States to get answers about why his mother was killed. “I am a human being. I am a citizen. I just came here to speak the truth and I want people to know that I have children who have been injured.” says Rehman in his meeting with United States Congress. Pakistani officials stated that the strike was the result of mistaken identity (Sledge 2014). How often has a similar mistake taken place? And at what cost will the United States continue to pursue a war on terror that is ineffective in the first place? Military occupation will never stop terrorism either. In fact, many people believe that military occupation actually causes terrorism (Pape 2010). Taking on the task of pushing Western ideals of democracy on a country that shares no similarity in culture should be insulting to us all (Paul pg166).

    Sanctions in countries that support terrorism will not eliminate terrorism either, because only the civilian populations, especially children are affected. This was demonstrated for years in Iraq, at the cost of the lives of half a million children (Gordon 2010). What would help to eliminate terrorism would be to create an official definition of terrorism, such that anyone who directly or indirectly targets civilians is guilty of terrorism, regardless of who the perpetrator is. Creating a functional International Criminal Court that actually prosecutes terrorists would do more to end terrorism than drone strikes. Another place to start would be to base foreign policy in fairness and equality, rather than self interest (Mager 2003). The downside to this is that the United States government is not actually interested in ending terrorism, but achieving its own self-serving goals in the Middle East, so it is unlikely that these ideas would ever actually be used.

    Sledge, Matt. “The Toll Of 5 Years Of Drone Strikes: 2,400 Dead.” Huffington Post. N.p., 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 16 July 2014.

    Sledge, Matt. “Why Did America Kill My Mother? Pakistani Drone Victim Comes To Congress For Answer.” Huffington Post. N.p., 29 Oct. 2013. Web. 16 July 2014.

    Pape, Robert A. “It’s the Occupation, Stupid.” Foreign Policy. N.p., 18 Oct. 2010. Web. 16 July 2014.

    Paul, Ron. A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship. Lake Jackson: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, 2007. Print.

    Gordon, Joy. Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2010. Print.

    Mager, Andy. “Ending Terrorism: What Would It Really Take?” Syracuse Post. N.p., 30 Nov. 2003. Web. 16 July 2014.

    • Carly P.

      Response to Anna

      I agree with the first half of your statement, that terrorism only begets more terrorism, whether by the United States or by the hands of other nations. I agree that “military occupation will never stop terrorism,” as many such acts are retaliatory in nature, and that such acts of war will “only build more hatred of the United States.” However, I disagree with your ideological proposals as ways to help end the War on Terror.

      Your first idea was to “create an official definition of terrorism, such that anyone who directly or indirectly targets civilians is guilty of terrorism, regardless of who the perpetrator is.” As we read in class, Boaz Ganor’s article—regarding the definition of terrorism—has already summarized such an argument. You state that “if terrorism had an official definition, it is likely that the United States would be guilty of it to some extent.” Ganor’s article postulates upon that very question: “can countries as well as organizations be held responsible for carrying out terrorist acts? In effect, this question has already been answered in the form of existing international legislation (United Nations, 1949).” The United States certainly falls guilty into both categories of ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ in the article, as well as the article’s proposed definition of terrorism. But even such articulate definitions do little unless there is some kind of international agreement to such terms.

      Regarding international agreement of such terms, I come to your second point regarding the need for an International Crimes Court. You state a need for “a functional International Criminal Court that actually prosecutes terrorists.” Well, first of all, there’s already an International Criminal Court which already prosecutes terrorists. Or perhaps you were advocating the creation of a separate, more effective International Criminal Court with a specialty towards previously defined terrorists. This year in November, for example, the International Criminal Court will be trying Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourainon for terrorism and war crimes in Darfur.

      Ganor, Boaz. “Defining Terrorism, Is One Man’s Terrorist Another Man’s Freedom Fighter?” 27 0ct 2012. Web.

      The International Criminal Court webpage:

  5. Jennie F.

    The War on Terror: Destructive on All Fronts

    On September 11th, 2001, the world watched in horror as hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. For considerable reasons, this event triggered the US to go to war with terrorists across the globe.

    It’s been nearly thirteen years since this event, and the US doesn’t have a lot to show for it’s so-called “war.”

    Sure, Osama Bin Laden is dead. This was a great victory for America. But it came at the cost of many years and soldiers lives (estimated at over 6,000), not to mention the trillions of taxpayer dollars spent on hunting terrorists (Shah, 2013). However, with the deaths of thousands of civilians in the Middle East, America is a terrorist itself to these people. Our “war” is only creating more and more violence and terrorists, rather than quelling the problem. It is evident, then, that America’s approach to fighting terrorism desperately needs reevaluation.

    Throughout his presidency, Bush Jr. insisted time and time again that the war was progressing positively, other higher-ups like the Defense Secretary had no idea how to tell if the war was progressing or not (Shah, 2013). If the President has to lie repeatedly about how a war is progressing, then obviously something is going very wrong. It is horrifying that America went in, guns blazing, to impressionable countries that already didn’t like us very much, only to kill a bunch of innocent people. This has been America’s “war of terror on terror.”

    Terrorism hasn’t decreased in the decade since 9/11: it has only increased. Sure, America itself may not be a direct target anymore, but our war has sparked increased hostility towards the Muslim people all around the world, and extremists have in turn retaliated. From subway bombings in England to increasingly aggressive attacks in western China, terrorism hasn’t died because of us—it has spread. Even in a time when the US is attempting to withdraw from the area and recalculate, this decision has become very difficult because of new terrorism acts. Just as President Obama was on the track to fully withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, 200 young girls were abducted in Nigeria, causing the President to question his decision (Calabresi, 2014).

    Of course, something had to be done when the towers were struck, and that something was go to war. The people responsible needed to be punished, which we accomplished. But the problem with terrorism is that it will never truly go away, and it is an idea, not a thing. We can’t just drop a nuclear bomb on Terroristville, TerrorCountry, and kill only “bad guys.” And before America can even think about being some authority on controlling terrorism, we should first fix our own home-grown brand of it. School shootings, government bombings and the like all take place here and now, with little signs of slowing. Are shootings like the Aurora shooting in 2012, which left 12 dead and 58 injured (Frosch, 2012), acts of terrorism? It only shows that America has a lot to learn about combating terrorism, and should maybe rethink it’s policies concerning the matter.

    Calabresi, Massimo. “Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria: The War on Terror Is Over. Long
    Live the War on Terror.” Time. Time, 16 June 2014. Web. 16 July 2014.

    Frosch, Dan, and Kirk Johnson. “Gunman Kills 12 in Colorado, Reviving Gun Debate.”
    The New York Times. The New York Times, 20 July 2012. Web. 08 July 2014.

    Shah, Anup. “War on Terror.” Global Issues. 07 Oct. 2013. Web. 16 Jul. 2014.

  6. Jackson H.

    To begin, I would like to illustrate my point with a story. Imagine you are a parent, eating with your child at the park. You see your child is not too far away, tearing at grass and trying to collect insects and so forth. You feel safe, so your eyes wander towards other things. Only a few minutes later, you hear a scream and immediately jump up to aid your child. You find your child crying and quickly recognize teeth marks on your child’s arms. A dog has bitten your child. As a parent, there are several actions that come to mind. One parent may try and isolate their child from the outside completely, fearing the unknown and the possibility of danger. A second parent may try and isolate their child from all dogs, eliminating the source of the previous danger. Lastly, parent number three may realize that not all dogs bite, and decide to reintroduce dogs into their child’s life so that the child may learn not to be irrationally afraid because of one unfortunate experience. It is easy to see that parent number three is making the smartest decision, however the United States is still treating their “dog bite” as parent number two. Currently, the United States’ counter terrorism measures are nothing more than a band-aid to the real problem at hand.

    Of course, all three parents must be wary around dogs as a rule, just as the United States must be cautious about terrorism. A Washington Post article explains that terrorism is on the decline and that only a few major attacks share the highest casualties. “The attacks on September 11 in New York City, Arlington, and Pennsylvania are counted as just four events, even though there were far more fatalities than all the rest combined” (Plumer 2013). Despite these rare few aggressive dogs, we still harbor fear for the entire species. In order to move forward, the United States, instead of avoiding the problem like the second parent, needs to stay rebuild relationships like the third parent and address the root of the problem instead of the band-aid solution that we have now.

    Knowlton, Brandon. “Holder Voices ‘Extreme Concern’ About Terrorist Bomb Makers.” 13 July 2014 16 July 2014.

    Plumer, Brad. “Eight facts about terrorism in the United States.” 16 April 2013. 16 July 2014.

  7. Sam D.

    Terrorism Works

    For decades, the U.S. has focused most of its massive military might into one area – fighting terrorism. While the War on Terrorism reached a critical point after the 2001 September 11th attacks, it was by no means the start of the war. The Iraq War followed shortly after, and that cost us much, not only in money (though it definitely was expensive!), it cost lives. The cost was substantial. “The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades…,” (Reuters, 2013) leaving many Americans to wonder, why did we do this in the first place? Many will jump to the War on Terrorism as an explanation. In order to combat radical Islamists in the Middle East, the U.S. brought its military to Iraq in order to unseat Saddam Hussein and combat terrorism. However, while we achieved the first, the latter seems to be an unobtainable goal. However, this unobtainable goal has been our only focus for years. The truth is, though many would be ashamed to admit it, is that we are afraid of terrorism. In essence, it has worked; we fear terrorists, and the only way to alleviate that fear is to continue to fight it. However, is this truly the right path for U.S. foreign policy to take? What has been left at the wayside while we crusade against terrorism?

    Currently, another flashpoint of U.S. foreign policy is the Ukraine Crisis. This crisis could lead to a complete deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations, as new sanctions were put into place today, leading to another rising of tensions. “Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying sanctions would take US-Russia relations to a “dead end”.” (BBC, 2014) Meanwhile, Ukrainians continue to face dangers and instability, with Russia looming on the borders and shady militants rampaging across the country. The long War on Terrorism needs to be left alone for now – and the U.S. needs to focus on the present, visible threats.

    Trotta, Daniel. “Iraq War Costs U.S. More than $2 Trillion: Study.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 14 Mar. 2013. Web. 14 July 2014.

    “US Widens Sanctions against Russia.” BBC News. N.p., 2014. Web. 16 July 2014.

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