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

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5.9 Reflection

Activity 19 Reflection

This activity invites you reflect what you learnt so far, by considering one of two questions. It may help you to write down your thoughts; aim for about 1,000 words.

Please choose from the following options:

  1. Why should great powers consider terrorism to be a ‘considerable threat’ to global order? OR
  2. Has the United States become less or more powerful an international actor as the result of the consequences of 9/11?

Guidance notes

Why should great powers consider terrorism to be a ‘considerable threat’ to global order?

This question encourages you to define modern terrorism (as variously discussed in section 2). You should also briefly assess some of the impacts and methods of such non-state and sub-state terrorist actors, particularly those described by Oded Lowenheim (in section 3) as ‘persistent agents of transnational harm’. In thinking about the nature and form of modern terrorism, you need to draw on your work from sections 2 and 3. To answer the question it will also be useful to briefly analyse the degree to which ‘new’ forms of terrorism differs from ‘old’ forms of terrorism. You need to also carefully consider the relationships between terrorism and asymmetrical and symmetrical forms of warfare (as defined in section 3).

Has the United States become less or more powerful an international actor as the result of the consequences of 9/11?

This question invites you to consider the consequences of 9/11 for the United States. You need to draw some conclusion based upon your reading and reflection of the materials you have encountered. The question asks you to explore the standing of the United States in light of the international significance of 9/11, particularly as it subsequently affected the foreign policy of the United States, the United States’ perception of its international standing and the ways in which other world actors see the country. Answers to this question will draw on sections 3, 4 and 5 of the course. You can, having assessed the impacts of 9/11 on United States foreign policy, additionally, but briefly, reflect on claims that 9/11 changed ‘everything’ with the case that Caroline Kennedy-Pipe and Nick Rengger make in section 3 arguing that, by itself, 9/11 changed little in international terms or in global politics. You should also assess the arguments posed in section 4 for pre-emptive war and consider the neoconservative argument that the United States and its allies had no choice but to pursue a ‘war on terror’ in response to the threat that had been clearly demonstrated by 9/11.

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