As the United States observes the thirteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, it is an ideal time to reflect on America's international response to the attacks and how it affects the world we live in today. After the Twin Towers fell on that fateful day, President Bush declared what he called a "War on Terror,” which spurred the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as anti-extremist actions spanning the globe. The War on Terror has been a part of American foreign policy for more than a decade, but today, we face a world more dangerous than the world we faced in 2001. Today, ISIS continues to advance in Iraq and Syria, Afghanistan is on the brink of falling to the Taliban and Iran continues to creep towards obtaining a nuclear weapon. Arrogance and presumption led the United States to believe we could dictate our values to foreign peoples without developing strong relationships first. The blame for this global disrepair can be principally attributed America's failure to nation-build in Iraq and Afghanistan by working with the people to create benevolent governments.
A similar calamity has emerged in Iraq due to the failure of the Bush administration to build an inclusive government that encompassed Shia and Sunni Muslims. While the basis for going to war in Iraq was largely misguided, the US did manage to quickly remove Saddam Hussein from power. America was then tasked with working to create a government that included both minority Sunni Muslims and majority Shia, who faced oppression under Hussein. We placed our faith in Shia Muslims who refused to cooperate with Sunni leaders and instead marginalized Sunnis using the same policies Shia suffered from under Saddam. The Shia-led government's policies led to the influx of Sunni terror groups that attacked US and Iraqi government forces.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group, known for its incredible brutality, was born out of this chaos and is now taking over swaths of Iraq, murdering American journalists and thousands of Shia Iraqis. President Obama has now been forced to initiate airstrikes against ISIS because of American foreign policy missteps in executing the war on terror.
Maximillian Foley-Keene. Hello! My name is Max and I'm an Editor in Chief for SCO this year. I like writing about what I think, especially current events, American foreign and economic policy. I also like music (jazz and 2000s post-punk are my favorites), art (Wassily Kandinsky is … More »
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