Response to Terrorism
The terroristic menace definitely exists, being one of the beloved themes of the American mass media of the previous years. The government is proclaiming anti-terroristic slogans, the soldiers are sent to the Middle East, and the ambassadors of the United States are actively reminding the international community that their country is the guarantor of democracy in the “third world”. The dominant approach in international relations in the USA is realism that determines the military way of dealing with the terroristic menace. However, this problem can be solved with the help of other theoretical approaches like liberalism (or pluralism) and structuralism (or Marxism). In this response essay the attempt to compare and contrast the prospective policy recommendations that realism, liberalism/ pluralism, and structuralism/ Marxism would provide towards solving the problem of terrorism is provided.
A French philosopher Raymond Aron (2011) wrote that the diplomat and the soldier are the two symbolic figures in the international relations of the country, because the relations on the international level consist of the alternation of war and peace. This metaphorical depiction of international relations corresponds greatly to the state of things disregarding the chosen approach for building communication. The state can rely only on its own forces in the communication with other countries and it is its vital need to care about the increase of its powers. Aron considered the absence of one center that has a monopoly on violence and enforcement to be the initial reason for the development of international relations. According to him, the state of war is natural and it is better to search for the reasons of peace rather than to the reasons of conflicts.
A strange thing is that even though Aron criticized the basic ideas of realistic approach expressed by Morgenthau, he finally came to the same conclusions as his opponents. Despite the fact that the significance of the military power has decreased and the influence of economical, ideological and non-violent factors in the international policy has increased, the risk of armed conflicts remains the same. The reason for such state of things is that the international relations remain in their natural condition, when every state has its own interests and does not trust its partners.
The diplomats try to change the approach to the international relations from realism to liberalism, but there are still many people in the governments of various countries who are used to solve the problems with the help of the military. Their stereotypes were formed years ago, but they still influence the way international relations look like. As a result, the personal issue becomes and extremely significant point in building effective communication with other countries.
As it was mentioned earlier, realism is the major approach the government of the United States uses in fighting with the terroristic menace. It is necessary to note that the notion of terrorism is actualized by the image of a radical Islamist from the Middle East. The entire region is considered to be in the state of chaos, and the mission of the American government is to accumulate as much military power as it can to ensure the order in this anarchic region.
From one point of view, the realistic approach is the efficient one, because the menace is quite real, especially after hundreds of people have died because of the actions of the mujahideens. The majority of Americans feel well-off when the government is able to protect them. From another point of view, the government that uses the realistic approach to international politics acts without asking its citizens and other members of international community about their ideas and wishes.
The country that wants the other states to see how powerful it is pays too much attention to the military. Every year millions of dollars are spent on the army in the United States. That money could be used for other purposes like improving social care system in the country. In addition, thousands of American soldiers are sent to the countries of the Middle East, where there is not enough democracy yet.
Many of those young men do not return home and these tragedies of numerous American families lead to the negative attitude of the citizens towards their own government. In my opinion, it would be better for the United States to fight with terrorism without leaving the American continent, because taking this problem from the domain of domestic politics to the international level leads to the increase of the number of the terrorists who want to kill the Americans.
Pluralism and Liberalism
Pluralism and liberalism view the international relations from a more complicated perspective as compared to realism. According to pluralist ideas, the state is not the only institution that makes decision regarding the international relations. Average people also participate in it and their opinion matters. The problem is that not all countries are developed enough to let the nation decide their destiny.
Chances are that the majority of the Arab people in the Middle East and the Muslims will be against radical actions and terroristic attacks on the United States, just like the majority of the Americans will not go to another country to kill potential enemies. The problem is that modern pluralist and liberal ideas are not popular in practice in the questions of international relations. The officials often think that they know better how international relations should look like and there is no need to ask the citizens. Perhaps, there would be no terroristic outburst at all if there is no military intervention to the Middle East.
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The realistic approach considers the egoistic struggle for influence and power, thus the only desire of every country in the context of international relations is to be leading. According to the liberal approach, such issues as religion, culture, ideology and economics are not less important for the desire to be dominant. The American mass media creates the image of the terrorist who is an adapt of the Muslim religion and everything that he/she wants is to kill as many Christians as they can.
It is evident that this image is far from the reality and the group of radical Islamists is not that numerous. However, from ideological perspective, the mass media does the wrong thing. It creates an offensive image of the person from another religion and popularizes it. Such policy sharpens the conflict between the two nations. Perhaps, it is done without any negative intentions, but more tolerant attitude towards another culture might solve many problems related to the terroristic menace in the United States. The current state of things concerning this issue reminds the story of a person without legs who is constantly asked why he/she can not ride the bicycle. In fact, there is nothing wrong in being curious, but such unhealthy interest makes the atmosphere extremely nervous.
Liberalism is the basis of the democratic society where the human rights of everyone are respected and there is no problem in expressing the individuality. The state of things in the country is the most important issue in explaining the way the country presents itself on the international level. The popular idea is that the countries that are potentially dangerous from the terroristic point of view are not democratic, and the United States that suffer from the mujahideens are democratic. According to the liberal approach to international relations, the democracies do not fight with other democracies, while fighting with dictatorship is considered normal. From this perspective, the liberal ideas do not differ much from the realist ones, because they both accept the military presence on the territories of other countries (Vasquez).
The situation is complicated because there are no objective rules about what is a democratic state. The evaluation of the regime varies depending on the situation on the international level regarding this state. Thus, it seems that even though liberalism is an efficient approach, it should not be aggressive to be considered optimal from various approaches.
According to the liberal approach, which differs from the realist one, the participation in different international organizations and blocks is essential for the country. The liberal state tries to make as many manifestations of its democratic position as it can by participating in the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, the International Convention Against Torture and many others. It is difficult to say for sure whether it is positive or negative, because the majority of countries in Europe do it and are living peacefully without any terroristic menaces. The United States seem to prefer to gather other countries around it rather than to join those states. From the perspective of successful dealing with possible terroristic attacks, attraction of too much attention is negative. From another side, being like the others is not a way out of the problem for the United States. The country is too big and too powerful to stay in the shadow. That is why a strong military that does not travel around the world in search of problems is the best means of protecting the state from possible terroristic attacks and not to provoke new enemies.
Marxist structuralism is another important approach in the theory of international relations. It emphasizes the devision of the society into the classes and the crucial impact of economic development throughout history on the present state of things. According to Marxism, each epoch creates a dominant economic class that rules the other layers of the society. The liberal and the realist ideas were created by ruling elite to justify and explain why other people are poor and unequal. That is why all the international organizations were created by the wealthiest people in the world to control the natural resources, the money and the power (Viotti and Kauppi).
According to the Marxist theory, the countries of the “third world” were not always that poor. They had the wealth before the capitalists came and took everything away from them. This idea sounds quite strange, because it gives people a false explanation of who is to blame in their problems. It often leads to the aggression towards the countries that are wealthier and can be an explanation of the terroristic phenomenon. The level of welfare in the countries of the Middle East is generally not very high. Many countries are poor and destroyed by civil wars. The external enemy can become for a reason of pessimistic economic situation in their native state and it might cause aggression.
Marxist approach is oriented towards globalization and creating one powerful international system. The ideological component that needs to be used in attracting people to Marxism is supposed to be very important. The idea that everybody will be equal, and there will be no rich and poor people in the world is quite attractive for the majority of people who are far from being wealthy.
Though, there is another point of view about Marxism. The great number of economical international organizations like WTO, IMF, NAFTA and NATO are considered to control the entire international community, because they possess the biggest monetary resources. The main issue is that the importance of all these organizations in international relations shows that the main thing in politics is not fighting for ideals, but for money. So, the key problem is not a lack of security and possible terroristic attacks, but inequality and poverty of the majority of people in the world.
The terrorists usually come from the countries of the “third world”. They fight for their religion and for the sake of Allah. However, it is possible to assume that the existence of a powerful, wealthy country like the United States, which tries to show the Arab world the way they should live, is a simple explanation of the reasons why the countries where the terrorists come from are extremely poor. Their striped outside enemy comes to their homes, kills their families and talks about democracy. In reality, those people do not need democracy; they need normal conditions to survive.
It is dubious whether it is necessary for the wealthy American nation to give monetary support for the developing countries with potential terroristic menace, even though it would correspond to the Marxist point of view. It seems that this action might be viewed as offensive and will not give any positive results. Though, certain attempts to make people more equal in their possibilities might be an efficient way of preventing terroristic attacks.
It is possible to fight with the evil using different approaches. Terroristic menace can be analyzed from the realist, liberal and Marxist points of view. The realist might destroy the whole potential menace. The liberal might talk about human rights and democracy and destroy the menace in this way. The Marxist might give money to the poor, so that they are not aggressive, but the reaction might be dubious. Every approach to international relations has both advantages and disadvantages. Thus optimal way to cope with terroristic attacks is to have a good military force just for the security of the Americans. It does not mean the demonstration to the international community that the United States are the first to fight the evil.