State responses to international terrorism: a case study of the us and the war against terror (2001 - 2004)
Mboya, Hillary Tom
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During the Cold War, containment of communism provided the raison d'etre in all US foreign policy initiatives. Yet, with the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the US now finds itself faced with new and even greater challenges of global leadership as the sole superpower in this "unipolar" system. Indeed, the end of the Cold War not only produced profound changes within Europe, but also had major implications on the international system as the earlier existing loose bipolar structure gave way to a multi-polar fragmented system. The US, in particular, has re-orientated the objective and course of its foreign policy to reflect the goals and aspirations envisaged by Pax-Americana, the epitome of American civilization, order and values. In this unique world leadership role, the US has been made to walk a diplomatic tightrope while attempting to balance her national interests with those of other actors within the international system. It is against this background of conflicting interests and values pursued by different actors that disagreements have often emerged, sometimes manifesting themselves in acts of terror. In recent times, international terrorism has received greater prominence in policy and intelligence circles as a major threat to international peace and security. Acts of terror, especially those aimed at US interests and allies have emerged as a testimony of the skepticism with which certain actors have come to regard American globalism and dominance. Indeed, since September 11 th 200 1, the US has assumed a leading role in the war against terror. As a superpower it has a moral obligation to safeguard world peace and order. Furthermore, as a leading power, it has interests that span the globe thus providing more potential targets for terrorists than any other country the world over. This study evaluates state responses to the threat of international terrorism against the backdrop of US hegemony and the implications that this could have on coalition building in the war against terror.