Week 8 Discussion: America and Terrorism in the 21st Century
Read/review the following resources for this activity:
Initial Post Instructions
Consider a few terrorist activities since the 1980s until today. Here is a starting point:
Then, address the following and craft a response, as a whole, for your selections:
This activity will be graded using the Discussion Grading Rubric. Please review the following link:
Course Outcomes (CO): 3, 4, 6, 7
George Herbert Walker Bush won the election of 1989. During his one term in office, Bush was able to continue the Republican platform that included military action such as the Persian Gulf War and breakdown of the former Soviet Union. Bush was experienced in politics and brought to the White House government experience and a distinguished personal background. During the Bush Administration, the United States engaged in the Persian Gulf War to liberate Kuwait from the Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein. The war lasted 6 months and cost more than $60 billion, but without raised taxes, this caused a worsening economic gap.
William “Bill” Clinton won the election of 1992 in a landslide. Clinton had shaken hands with President Kennedy, who helped cement Clinton’s ambitions for becoming United States president later in life. As President, Clinton earned respect internationally for his leadership and work for world peace. At home, he worked to balance the federal budget and reduced the national debt. Clinton’s wife Hillary decided to take up a range of responsibilities as First Lady more so than any other since Eleanor Roosevelt, and later sought the office of Senator and won. During his consecutive terms, Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of misconduct but acquitted by the United States Senate.
In 2001, Bush George Walker Jr. came the presidency without the popular vote, and his term was barely underway before the catastrophic series of terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. His popularity grew to new heights as he declared “War on Terrorism” and invaded Afghanistan to bring to justice Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. In 2003, Bush decided to attack Iraq and deal with Saddam Hussain for storing weapons of mass destruction. The Bush Administration was also faced with challenges in the homeland such as the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which proved more fatal than any hurricane before. Bush established the Department of Homeland Security to house over 22 government agencies to protect American citizens in any cases of a national emergency.
Barack Obama became the 44th President in 2009 and the first African American president in the history of the United States of America. Obama grew up during the Civil Rights era, the time in American history that would open the door to his presidential candidacy four decades later. As a Harvard graduate and armed with political experience serving as Senator, Obama set out to lead the nation through one of the hardest economic challenges since the Great Depression. Obama took office with a commitment to heal divisions and secure the country’s future.
During his consecutive two terms in office, President Obama was instrumental to promote equality for minority groups socially and economically, funded assistance to college students, implemented healthcare and environmental reforms, extended the Bush tax cuts, and held a meeting with Pope Francis in the White House. President Obama used strategic diplomacy in foreign policy and was able to end the war with Iraq, announced the death and assassination of Osama bin Laden, implemented successful economic sanctions on Iran’s nuclear production of weapons, enhanced immigration reform, and signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) of 2010 with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia
America and Terrorism
The War on Terrorism opened a new chapter in American History. September 11, 2001 was a direct attack on the United States using American assets and lives to carry out the deadliest onslaught in the nation’s history. The Congressional 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks clearly details that Clinton signed several important documents during his Presidency in order to take action in regards to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida’s terrorism against the United States (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 2004). It is also interesting to note that the United States Security Council in Room 302 of the White House had warned that there was a new religious motivation behind Al-Quada (The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 2004). The attempt to warn the American people against Osama Bin Laden in several newspapers in 2000 were not taken seriously (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 2004).
In a scholarly comparison, Robert Kagan (2003) wrote of the significant difference in Europeans and Americans, not only on a cultural level, but he also stresses the huge difference between the two when it comes to foreign policy. Kagan (2003) also points out the Americans are less tolerant and want an immediate solution to global issues, while Europeans are looking for long range diplomacy. While America principles are looking to safeguard humanity by immediate action, Europe wants to talk about what might possibly be done through bureaucracy while the enemy could strike in a mass destructive manner.
The threat of international terrorism is growing, and it is obvious that the world is becoming more and more divided on this point. Jihadist are found in nearly every nation using social media to incite attacks on the West. Social media has also been used to lure youth to leave their homes and nations to train as ISIS fighters in the Middle East. Jihadist groups have not only taken over vast areas of the Middle East and Africa but have also pushed into Europe, using democracy and equal rights protections to establish Sharia Law and court systems. ISIS has also advanced into South East Asia, reorganizing as home-grown terrorists to carry out attacks. Research suggests that terrorism is a reality in the 21st Century. We have also witnessed and understand that in some way’s historical events might repeat. Consequently, global leadership is working in coalition to contain and defeat the growing threat of international terrorism.
View the following video that shows what New York City has done since 9/11 in counteracting terrorism:
60 Minutes, The Counter-Terrorism Bureau (14:09)
produced by Nicole Young, fl. 2009, Pat Milton, fl. 2008-2015 and Robert G. Anderson, fl. 2000, Columbia Broadcasting System; interview by Scott Pelley, 1957-, in 60 Minutes (New York, NY: Columbia Broadcasting System, 2011), 14 mins
Kagan, R. (2003). Of paradise and power: America and Europe in the new world order. Alfred A. Knopf.
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (2004). The 9/11 commission report: Final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/sept11/911Report.pdf
Young, N., Milton, P., & Anderson, R. G. (Producers). (2011). The counter-terrorism bureau [Video]. Columbia Broadcasting System. Academic Video Online.