“Rethinking the “War on Terror”: New Approaches to Conflict Prevention and Management in the Post-9/11 World” by Paul B. Stares and Mona Yacoubin
In the article, Rethinking the “War on Terror” New Approaches to Conflict Prevention and Management in the Post-9/11 World, Stares and Yacoubin start by drawing an analogy between the present-day challenges. This is especially a terror threat and the twentieth-century struggles, such as the’ Cold War.’ The authors note that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the global perception of terrorism has been enhanced. This is because the attacks revealed that present-day terrorism, unlike the 20th-century struggles, is a global conflict with no defined engagement rules. Moreover, its operations are highly decentralized, and motivation is based on religious beliefs and affiliations. In addition to that, Stares and Yacoubin point out that the lack of a proper definition of just what exactly constitutes a threat and the lack of a common agenda among the various terror organizations presents an obstacle.
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This is regarding combating this threat. According to Stares and Yacoubin, an epidemiological approach to defining the Islamic militancy reveals that this global phenomenon bears some characteristics of a disease. Therefore, an epidemiological analysis of the same can aid in the definition of Islamic militancy. Various epidemiological aspects, such as the disease agent, the spread of the disease, containment measures, protective and remedial measures applied, and the treatment of the vulnerable group, have been identified concerning the Islamic militancy. This has been helpful in drawing a comparison between the two. As outlined by Stares and Yacoubin, some of the containment measures include the destruction of the militants’ networks, their communication channels, and propaganda. Protective measures aim to ensure that the vulnerable communities are not brought on board, as far as Islamic militancy is concerned. This essentially involves the prevention of the spread of the Islamic Militant agenda. When it comes to remedial measures, Stares and Yacoubin prescribes that such measures should be geared towards remedying the situation in the Muslim world, which has acted as a source of conflict in the region for many years. This also includes adopting proper governance measures that will ensure that the government authority does its work efficiently.
To sum it all up, Stares and Yacoubin stresses the importance of a proper definition of the terror threat, as far as its effective containment is concerned. They prescribe an epidemiological approach to addressing this issue and outline various specific epidemiological solutions that can be used to address this global threat. As much as this approach can be effective in combating terror, there are some weaknesses. There are aspects of terrorism or Islamic militancy that cannot be addressed by this epidemiological analogy.
“Terrorism and the New Security Dilemma” by Philip G. Cerny
Just like in the case of Stares and Yacoubin, Cerny’s articles also address the threat of terrorism. This is against the backdrop of the increasing measures taken to avert this vice on a global scale. Cerny points out that the post 9/11 period has seen a rejuvenated approach in tackling terror threat in the country. The Bush Administration put in motion a chain of events targeting to secure the national border against terror threats, tackle Islamic militancy in foreign soils, and collectively put in place measures to enhance the country’s security. This is as far as protection from terror attacks is concerned.
Just like Stares and Yacoubin, Cerny also appreciates the transnational nature of the present-day terror threat. Cerny notes that terrorist organizations have managed to establish connections in many countries and, thus, any approach in tackling terrorism should be founded upon this fact. In addition to that, Cerny also notes that present-day terrorism distinctly differs from conventional warfare, where the targets and parties involved are easily identifiable. In addition to that, Cerny also asserts that present-day terror heavily relies on state support. Thus, to effectively deal with this threat, one should take action against such states that have been proved to harbor and support terrorist organizations.
One aspect that has clearly been brought to the fray by Cerny’s assertions is that the nature of the present-day terror threat has resulted in a new security dilemma. This is because of the global village that the world has become today, making it difficult to isolate and deal with threats. In addition to that, globalization has resulted in a neo-medieval society that Cerny perceives to be a threat in itself. As much as globalization has enhanced global interaction, mainly for commerce, the neo-medieval culture tends to limit the level of interconnectedness and acceptance among various societies residing in the world today. This has resulted in every society developing its own set of cultures and practices regarding activities in their socio-economic settings.
Consequently, acceptance of each other’s way of life has proved to be a stumbling block, resulting in societies engaging in conflicts based on ideological differences. The weakness in the present-day conflict resolution methodologies is that they mostly over-rely on the military approach at the expense of other approaches. Therefore, to effectively address the modern-day conflicts that the world faces, including terrorism, an approach that seeks to address socio-economic and political issues should be adopted, as opposed to a military approach.