War in Afghanistan Following the Research Paper
- Length: 13 pages
- Subject: Terrorism
- Type: Research Paper
- Paper: #30447159
Excerpt from Research Paper :
A section of commentators have taken issue with the manner in which the federal government denied suspected terrorist the due process of law as stipulated under the constitution. The government even commissioned the establishment of a torture chamber in Guantanamo Bay. This amounts to gross violation of human rights and civil liberties. There is another clause in the patriot act dubbed "enhanced surveillance procedures," which allows federal authorities to gather foreign intelligence by breaching firewalls of 'terrorist nations.' This controversial foreign policy clause damaged the relationship between America and the Middle East.
A section of scholars argues that key players in the oil industry manipulated the United States to wage war against Afghanistan. According to an article published on the BBC World Service in December 2007, the execution of Saddam Hussein was unwarranted. Political scientists reckon that a cartel of multinational oil companies wanted to control the oil in the Middle East. Sympathetic to their cause, Bush's regime waged the war against terrorism to cover up the real agenda. This in turn enabled the government to establish a permanent military presence in the Middle Eastern region causing international conflict. As the situation in the region remained volatile due the fallout that ensued, oil prices skyrocketed creating an economic boom and a subsequent recession (Herman, 2011).
The issue of terrorism has since become a partisan political issue in the U.S. political mainstream. The overzealousness of U.S. military official to maintain national security is just but a mirage; the real issue is to institute control both at the domestic level and in the international front. With the help of the Patriot Act and the fact that the U.S. has proved to be a nation that always gets her way, this proved to be very easy. The government can now spy on and foreign nations (in this case, the Middle East) masquerading as champions of national security.
Looking at the situation through the perspective of the realist approach to international relations, there is reasonable ground to believe that the war against terrorism spearheaded by George W. Bush was a means through which the U.S. could establish a permanent military presence in the Middle East. Establishing permanent military presence would then ensure systematic control of the oil in the region. This way, major U.S. companies would have unlimited access to the untapped oil reserves estimated to be over 150 million barrels in Iraq alone.
Social Contract Theory
Social contract arguments characteristically postulate that citizens within any given state have consented, either tacitly or explicitly, to surrender various rights and freedoms to the authority of the state (Rousseau, 1973). In return, the state guarantees protection of citizen's rights and freedoms. The state also guarantees citizen's protection from external aggression and preservation of national security in return for citizens' sacrifice of certain rights. The most prominent social contract theorists are John Locke (1689), Thomas Hobbes (1651), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762).
Realist Theory of Power Politics
In his political discourses, Thomas Hobbes envisages a conflict dominated international system where powerful players are in a perpetual bid to dominate and control world affairs. Hobbes runaway success dubbed Leviathan clearly articulates how selfish interests of power politics dominate international relations. He bases his notion on the fact that human beings are inherently flawed. Hobbes further likens the international system with life in the state of nature as envisioned by social contract theorists. He believes that the nation-state, international organizations and multinational corporations are merely instruments for furthering conflict in the quest for domination and control so that any pursuit for peace, understanding and coexistence are just but a mirage.
Echoing the same sentiments, Machiavelli argues that any effort to forge peace in international relations is virtually implausible since the actors involved value their selfish interests more than they value peace. Machiavelli dismissed liberal quest for world order as naive and misguided since parties often lack the enthusiasm to compromise their interests for the greater good. Machiavelli and Hobbes' viewpoint formed the basis of the Realist Theory of International Relations, which posits that politics of power, domination and control overcomes efforts for peace and coexistence as nation states and international organizations remain compromised by pervasive interests of the economic class, political elite and powerful dynasties in the international system.
World Systems Theory
In an attempt to tackle the query at hand, it is important to understand the roots of the economic power plays of the international system. In his discourses, Immanuel Wallenstein discusses political economy of global capitalism. In an attempt to articulate his major argument, Wallenstein develops a theoretical framework, which he calls the World Systems Theory. According to this theory, there is a characteristic structural disparity brought about by capitalism. He espouses that in the political economy of capitalism, the developed economies of the West emerge as the holders of capital since they control the market. Subsequently, the impoverished countries of the third world provide cheap labor and raw materials required to facilitate production. Echoing the same thoughts, Karl Marx had earlier noted that elite nations of the West could not continue to enjoy this prestigious condition without exploiting the poor countries (Wallenstein, 1983).
In his sociological discourses, Karl Marx observes that chaos and social discord is imminent in any given society. Marx describes the society as fragmented into various groups, which are in persistent conflict in their struggle for power and economic resources. Echoing the same, Marxist scholars liken the society to the state of nature as envisioned in Thomas Hobbes' political theory, according to the Leviathan. As a sociological theory, the conflict theory draws from Marx and Hobbes' line of thought. Since conflict is imminent in the society, chaos and social discord become inevitable (Herman, 2011). The restoration of social order and harmony, as Marx and Hobbes explain, is only possible through power and coercion. Marx believed that in a society full of chaos, domination is the most plausible means of restoring order (Lenski 345). Hobbes reinforces Marx's thought by arguing that those with the greatest economic and social resources as well as dominant political authority use force to restore order.
Leader of the Free World
As the world's sole superpower nation, America has proclaimed itself the 'leader of the free world' conferring on itself the mandate to 'care for and protect' the world. In the opening statement of his inaugural address to the nation following his entry into the Oval Office, his first State of the Union message, Ronald Reagan spoke very highly of the United States. He described America as "this last and greatest bastion of freedom" and, towards the end of his speech, Reagan acclaimed that America was "the last best hope of man on earth." Reagan's sensational remarks aired around the world as the western media sensationally over publicized the issue. It is quite challenging to decide whether these remarks were subtly crafted to elicit certain sentiments about the United States, or they were just innocent patriotic remarks. Either way, Ronald Reagan was perpetuating what has turned out to be one of America's major myths. A 1987 cover story in TIME magazine's July issue titled Rediscovering America tackled this issue (Josef, 2009). The cover story discussed the American myth of 'exceptionalism' as it has come to be called, where Americans believe they are "a new order of man" "a Chosen People," (Josef, 2009). This exceptionalism myth is entrenched in the hackneyed national ethos dubbed 'the American dream,' which highlights a set of ideals such as equal opportunities for success, prosperity, and upward social mobility (Cox, 2005).
Cold, Calculating Power Machine
As America assumes the responsibility to mandate to 'care for and protect' the world, the nation has made it its forte to fight terrorism. A section of commentators, however, do not share this thought; realist scholars have defined America as a cold, calculating power machine whose mantra is 'the end justifies the means.' Their ends are free market enterprise, democracy, and social conformity. To achieve these ends, the U.S. uses any means necessary. Their power keeps increasing every time. Observers have dismissed America's dedication towards global peace as disingenuous. Given a nation with such a dogmatically resplendent image, there are historical inconsistencies in which America has been at odds with their virtuous myth. For instance, what were the founding fathers as well as author of the Declaration of Independence doing with a house full of slaves? In his almost spookily prescient 1955 novel, The Quiet American, Graham Greene remarked that their innocence makes Americans the most dangerous people in the world. The war against terror became a fully blown military confrontation that bore all the evils imaginable to humanity. The acts of the U.S. In Afghanistan and other perceived enemy states as well as the experiences of social injustices during the war undercut the self-professed American myth of 'reverence, respect and integrity (Herman, 2011)..
Realist theorists of power politics believe that, over the years, America has amassed global influence through force,…