Chapter 11: Pirates, Warlords, and Terrorists: Challenges to the State

Action:

Reduce US presence
Terrorism exists because the US meddles in world affairs too much. Our presence either conducts or enables local atrocities and oppression, creating the 'blowback' effect of inciting radicalism. The US needs to pull out of Saudi Arabia while denouncing its support of Israel and other states that oppress minority Muslim groups.

Outcome:

The American people resent your decision to pull out of the Middle East and isolate America from global politics. They view your actions as the end of American hegemony. If another terrorist attack were to occur, you will surely be brought up for impeachment as your withdrawal from the Middle East constrains the US' ability to intervene in the region in the future.

Next, you must deal with the issue of weapons of mass destruction. If a terrorist network were to obtain a weapon of mass destruction, they could kill tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands or even millions) of civilians. The easiest way for a terrorist network to acquire a WMD would be through a transfer of materials from a lesser-developed sympathizing state. States such as Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq are potential states that the US believes could develop and transfer WMDs to terrorists. Saddam Hussein in Iraq is thought of as a particularly dangerous potential supporter of al-Qaeda. He is a despotic ruler with strong anti-American sentiment. How should the US proceed?

What do you do now?



Invade IraqSaddam Hussein is definitely going to develop WMDs. He needs to be stopped and taken out of power. If we do not remove him now and he develops WMDs, then we face the dangers of both devastating terrorism and increased Iraqi military power. Saddam Hussein would be much more difficult to remove from power once he has WMDs because if he is losing a war, he will face 'use it or lose it' pressures and deploy his WMDs.
Encourage safeguardsThe US should not invade Iraq. That war will likely be long, difficult, and costly (both in terms of money and human life). Saddam Hussein likely does not have the capacity or will to develop WMDs, we can take our chances with him at the helm of Iraq. Rather, the US should try to develop closer ties with these potentially dangerous states, while encouraging strong safeguards and security measures for WMDs globally.