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What Clausewitz would say about the strategies we are currently using in the Global War on Terrorism - Research Paper Example

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What Clausewitz would say about the strategies we are currently using in the Global War on Terrorism

The State Department defines terrorism as “the use or threatened use of violence for political purposes to create a state of fear that will aid in extorting, coercing, intimidating, or otherwise causing individuals or groups to alter their behavior” He wrote the book On War which was published only after his death. Translated into almost all the major languages, the book has been controversially interpreted in various ways by different authors. Clausewitz emphasized the traditional approach to war. He advocated combining the will of a nation with its resources and the efforts of the citizens in an immense campaign to defeat an enemy through warfare towards resolute conclusions. It is important to examine whether Clausewitz’s concepts on the essentials of war can be applied to the global war against terrorism. “Terrorists are not guerillas or irregulars who conduct unconventional warfare against recognized military targets for political purposes”2. Being no match for conventional armies, terrorists avoid a massive confrontion. They employ asymmetrical warfare through uncustomary means such as suicide attacks, to conduct illegal attacks against primarily civilian targets for political reasons. Terrorists operate in secrecy, Their objective is to compel legitimate political systems to change their policies, in order to gain unlawful advantages. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether Clausewitz’s ideas on war are concurrent with the strategies employed in the global war on terrorism. Clausewitz’s Ideas: Whether Applicable to Global War on Terrorism Carl von Clausewitz’s key ideas include the following concepts: the purpose of diplomacy is for imposing a nation’s will on the enemy, war is essentially the pursuit of diplomacy through a different method, armies of citizens fighting for their country show greater determination than professional soldiers figting to gain new territory, to be victorious in war, a nation must take risks and act boldly, and aggressors would prefer to take over another country unopposed rather than engage in conflict3. The State Department defines terrorism as “the use or threatened use of violence for political purposes to create a state of fear that will aid in extorting, coercing, intimidating, or otherwise causing individuals or groups to alter their behavior”4. Terrorists do not comply with the laws of war nor do they wear uniforms like regular soldiers. Terrorism is predominantly a form of political violence, and the purpoes of all terrorists is the same, in that they try to impose their will by force. Hence, terrorism is not confined to thugs and outlaws; international terrorism is a generic type of aggression towards realizing political goals through the threat of harm and destruction. Although terrorism frequently appears mindless, this is most often not the case. It is a means to an end, to change unacceptable circumstances through violence, and is not an end in itself. The source of terrorism which is a form of political violence lies in the basic structure of contemporary international politics. Structural terrorism contributes to the prevalence of terrorism by promoting the use of fear and violence for achieving political goals. The growth and spread or terrorism in its present day manifestations may be perceived as a new form of coercion. Thus global terrorism is not an accepted part of the rules and customs of international behavior. This violent creation of prevailing global cirumstances is “a product of the attributes of the global environment that came into being with the creation and spread of nuclear weapons – and the fear they elicit”5. Thus, terrorism has grown into a predominant means for international and intranational conflict resolution. Prior to 2006, the Pentagon leadership failed ...Show more
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The State Department defines terrorism as “the use or threatened use of violence for political purposes to create a state of fear that will aid in extorting, coercing, intimidating, or otherwise causing individuals or groups to alter their behavior” …
What Clausewitz would say about the strategies we are currently using in the Global War on Terrorism
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