Changing U.S. Security Strategy

The Search for Stability and the “Non-War” against “Non-Terrorism”

More than a decade into the “war on terrorism,” much of the political debate in the United States is still fixated on the legacy of 9/11. US politics has a partisan fixation on Benghazi, the Boston Marathon bombing, intelligence intercepts, and Guantanamo. Far too much attention still focuses on “terrorism” at a time the United States faces a much broader range of threats from the instability in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Islamic world.

Moreover, much of the US debate ignores the fact that the United States has not actually fought a “war on terrorism” over the last decade, as well as the US failures in using military force and civil aid in Afghanistan and Iraq. The United States has not fought wars as such, but rather became involved in exercises in armed nation building, where stability operations escalated into national building as a result of US occupation and where the failures in stability operations and nation building led to insurgencies that forced the United States into major counterinsurgency campaigns that had little to do with counterterrorism.