Politics, media and war: 9/11 and its aftermaths
Politics, media and war: 9/11 and its aftermaths

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3.2 Haass: The Opportunity

Richard Haass is currently President of the United States Council of Foreign Relations and was previously Director of Planning at the United States State Department.

Activity 6 The opportunity (1)

Please read extract 1 from Haass’s book, The Opportunity: America’s Moment to Alter History’s Course’, where he further discusses some of the contemporary challenges identified by Lowenheim. When you have finished reading, reveal the discussion below.

Click to view The opportunity (1) [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]


Haass reminds us that ‘every country is or can be affected by what goes on inside other states’. As we have seen, Great Power authority is now challenged by the rise of what Lowenheim described as Persistent Agents of Transnational Harm (PATHs). These PATHs are non-state and sub-state actors that possess – and use – the means of violence. This means that war making is no longer the monopoly of nation states. As a result, a new type of warfare has emerged, one increasingly fought out between states and non-state or sub-state actors. This is often described as asymmetrical warfare, a phrase that reflects the considerable mismatch that exists between the resources of such combatants. In asymmetrical warfare, combatants have markedly different military capabilities and the weaker side often uses non-standard warfare tactics such as terrorism. Here, then, there are no longer clearly defined battlefields, and the distinction between 'civilian' and 'military’ is blurred.

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