Public Policy on Terrorism and Defense

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PublicPolicy on Terrorism and Defense

PublicPolicy on Terrorism and Defense


Thespecific foreign policy issue under consideration is the policy ofcounter-terrorism adopted by the United States in the post-September11 era. The policy involves the United States forging strongpartnerships with other foreign governments, non-state actors, andmulti-lateral organizations to ensure that the country is safe fromthe machinations of terror groups on the local and internationalstage. As such, the counter-terrorism policy involves craftingspecific approaches that guide defeating terrorists and terrorgroups, securing the borders of the United States, and securing thesupport and cooperation of other countries to adopt an internationalcounter-terrorism regime. The policy also involves identifying terrorgroups, identifying individual and state sponsors terror activities,and their designations with the single aim of finding best means tolimit their networks and eventually defeat them.

Ethical,ideological, and practical failures of the counter-terrorism policy

Whetherthe executions of the counter-terrorism strategy are within therealms of its goals is a matter of debate. However, the policy hasfailed ethically. The first indicator that the policy has ethicalfailures is the focus on killing suspected terror militants andmasterminds without a commitment to ameliorate the main societalissues that lead people to the terror. Secondly, thecounter-terrorism policy does not have the moral underpinnings thatwould guide strategy used to deal with the threat of terror.Consequently, the counter-terrorism policy has ended up creating moreextremist groups such as ISIS, which have proven to be more committedtowards executing terror activities than the original ones such asAl-Qaeda.

Thecounter-terrorism policy has also exhibited ideological failures.Evidence of ideological failures of the policy is the increased levelof terror attacks in the world. Increased attacks in countries suchas Yemen, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya, Tunisia, Iraq, and Libya meansthat the fight against terror has not been backed with a strongideological stance that can possibly reduce the spread of extremism.Currently, there are stronger militant groups that are competing formedia attention by the magnitude heinous acts they commit to thepublic.

Thepractical failures of the counter-terrorism policy lie in the absenceof engrained strategies to deal with rising number of countries inthe Middle East that have suffering from failed governments. Thepolicy has not addressed the issues such as lack of economicopportunity, stagnant social structures, and authoritarian regimesthat exploit Islam, and the genera lust for power in the Middle East.The actual practical failure of the policy is that it deliberatelyignores these issues while purporting to forge regional andinternational coalitions to fight terrorism. In forging thecoalitions, the policy does not create practical ways of dealing therise of extremism and the threat of failed governments.


Remediesthat would make the Counter-terrorism theory more ethical, practical,and ideologically feasible

Thebest remedies to the challenge of terrorism in the world aretherefore to address the real causes of terrorism. One way of dealingwith the real causes is to unite with different governments in theworld to find long-term and short-term solutions to economicexclusiveness, authoritarian governments, and static cultures interro-prone regions. The second remedy to deal with the challenge ofterrorism in future is to examine the historical foreign policyengagements that caused an increase the number of terrorists. Forexample, the United States cannot claim to have an all-inclusivecounter-terrorism strategy and yet she supplies other nations withweapons that are used to kill innocent people. Israel gets armed bythe United States to attack Palestine. The third remedy that willreverse the damage caused by the current counter-terrorism policy isto complement the military engagements in foreign lands with moreinclusive means. For example, after toppling, Saddam Hussein, theUnited States did not initiate a series of efforts that would havereconciled the Sunnis with other communities. David in his article,“America’s Counter-terrorism Policy is falling” reiterates thatthe decision to use targeted drone strikes in the Middle East doesnot follow an articulated theory that would lead the nation’scounter-terrorism policy. In this case, investing all resources andtime to shed light on the multifaceted economic, social as well asreligious trends is paramount. By expanding cooperation with linkedsecurity services as well as by enhancing defenses, the US cancontrol the terrorists in short-time. It can also employ militaryforce to strengthen such measures. In the long-term, implementing therecommendations in the policy and adopting it would allow theweaknesses of the terrorists to materialize allowing the same to bedelegitimized. By and large, an efficient counterterrorism policynecessitates the country to enhance its security forces.

Howthe policy would be implemented in the light of groups (stakeholders)that would favor or oppose the policy proposals

Counterterrorismpolicy can only succeed if it is supported by people who are beingprotected. A majority ( over 50 per cent of the national population)population of the population is opposed to the counter-terrorismpolicy because they feel it is too aggressive and has created a waveof extremism that may make the war on terrorism more complicated.However, a section of conservatives still consider thecounter-terrorism policy too liberal o deal with terrorism.Apparently, terrorism affects all people and as a result, unitingthem against such threats would be a major foundation in curbingterror attacks. Counter-terrorism strategies should be as inclusiveas possible. They target the primary and systemic factors that makeyoung people to join extremist groups. Perhaps, a lot of should beborrowed from the Marshal Plan that sought to build Europe afterWorld War II. The plan was not only too inclusive, but also addressedthe core issues that led European nations to rise against each other.


Thecounter-terrorism policy should be replaced with a policy, which isethical, practical, and ideologically feasible. The ethical facet ofa policy entails attaching a moral message that resonates with theworld through the actions of countries collaborating with the UnitedStates to fight terror. For instance, it would be meaningless tofight terror by training militia to topple a government because itdefeats the essence of the terror policy. Ideologically thecounter-terrorism policy should aim to enhance inter-religious andinter-governmental efforts against terror. It should not be a case ofonly the west fighting terror, but all governments involved. In thepractical sense, the counter-terrorism policy should seek to addressthe historical mistakes that created more extremist groups. Theinteresting fact that most extreme terror groups originate fromcountries where the United States has had active military engagementsince the height of the cold war.


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Forst,B. (2008). Terrorism,crime and public policy.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pillar,P. R. (2001). Terrorismand American foreign policy: Intelligence in recent publicliterature.Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

U.S Department of State. Bureauof Counterterrorism.Retrieved from