The 9/11 attack on the World Trade center and also the Pentagon gives vital exposure of the Bush administration in combating terrorism. It opened a new chapter about the analysis and the redefining of US foreign policy. Soon after the attack, all the officials in Bush administration took to reiterate that destruction of terrorism would be achieved and accordingly its foreign policy would be rewritten and amended to punish and attack those nations that harbor and support terrorism. It was reported he played out poor with much of arrogance and controversy.
Two decades ago during Reagan’s administration, the situation was not grim and any opposition to terrorism was linked with human rights. The policy makers did not weigh at it as imminent threat and thus opposition of terrorism was never focused as primary topic. Although the CIA and FBI reported on terrorist groups and acts, a strong policy to deal with it came into force of late. Bush followed realist formula to achieve idealistic goals. However the debate hangs on.
In the government circles, international terrorism is defined as politically motivated behavior. The terrorist act could be through physical weapons, infiltration, sabotage, internet virus and biological attack. Day by day, the range of terrorism is taking new manifestations that a strong diplomacy and commitment to involve in international cooperation is a must. The diplomatic measure includes economic sanctions, military force and forceful execution of the brains behind the evil acts. For policymakers, predominantly the anti-terrorism tool had been the imposing of economic sanctions such as suspending US assistance for economical assistance. Globalization paved way for expanding commerce with side effects of terrorism in the later years. ‘Some events associated with the downfall of communism have underlain some of the principal changes in the face of international terrorism’ (Paul Pillar, Terrorism and US foreign policy, p44)
President Bush rightly stressed that no distinction be shown between terrorists and the countries that harbor them. Realistically, the aftermath effects of 9/11 attack had been so destructive that the government policy were unanimously aimed at a strong military response for the acts of war and assault on terrorism.
It was also mooted that an international cooperation has to be established to know the plans of the groups before they could attack. It has to be agreed that international cooperation has become stronger after the Cold War. Hitherto, terrorism was viewed as a national problem by every victim nation and had to bear the grunt. When U.N. sponsored actions on erring nations, U.S. had the full power to combat terrorism.
There were short comes when some nations that signaled to join with the U.S. team, showed reluctance for the fear that its trade interest might hamper or it could face an attach from sympathizers. Falling in line are many nations in the Middle East and South Asia that had to yield under a wider pressure from the U.S. Some nations that visibly harbor the terror groups had to limit the freedom and power of terrorist groups, and as well secretly help them to network.
For a democracy like U.S., the policy framed had to be framed within the constitutional frame of limitation. Any nasty step would result in the direct threat to property and security of citizens. More ways had to be found to identify and suppress the rogue nations that support terrorism and widely spend for state sponsored terrorism. U.S. policy on international counter-terrorism has always been sanctions related. Hence, a strong fumigating policy has to be framed without dilemma to punish a whole state that continuously supports terrorism and ignores the warnings from the U.S. Though U.S. is aware of the Islamic nations that indulge in the heinous acts of violence, it is unable to take the nations for a task.
The radical Islamic fundamentalists pose a major threat U.S. and its friendly nations. The Congressional Research Service in its report has pointed out that Iran and Pakistan are the aggressive sponsors of terrorism. It has to be also noted that sanctions have not affected them appreciably. The Secret service of the State has enough evidences to prove that these groups raise funds through charitable contributions and drug trafficking through the supporting nations.
At this point of time, it is meaningless for the policy makers to remove any of these nations from Terrorism list sponsors. Any effort by a government to enhance regional economic development becomes the object of attack. The extent of involvement and presence of the peace-keeping U.S. military force on a foreign Islamic soil has to be given a second thought. Perhaps, this might be a trigger for future attacks. Due to the dependency for oil on these nations, any enforcement would deteriorate the relations. Extradition of a mastermind to U.S. for trial and justice would certainly jeopardize the foreign relations and set a bad precedence. The State has to pay higher attention to tough combating tools through customs and intelligence without the intervention of politicians or resulting in revenge through hijacking. Owing to the severity of the magnitude, an international court of terrorism can be given bigger scope.
After the 9/11 attack, the foreign policy has definitely undergone changes but would periodically need changes to counter pattern of terrorism in future. Russell Mead writes, ‘Our long successful history of the US and its foreign policy would offer American people real hope for a democratic future’. Hope policy makers would revise the policy in accordance with the prevailing scenario.