Future Scenarios: Driving Forces

Notes from my week one presentation with Jeff, about how the perceived threat of terrorism is a driving force of foreign and domestic policy:


  • Come in to week 2 with a driving force
  • and 2 or more current conditions which are influenced by it.
  • Do not speculate about the future, just tell us what we know about now and the past. How did it become a driving force? Explain the historical events leading to it. How does it influence the conditions which are influenced by it? What are the counter-forces at play?

Driving Force: Terrorism & Fear

  • How do we define terrorism:
    • no strict definition, but using it in the way that it is used in the general media
    • but generally:
      • acts th9at cause fear
      • publicly causing harm
      • political intent
  • A brief history of Terrorism (knowing that there are driving forces to each of these events and that there were “terror” acts before these events)
    • 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing
      • Two suicide bombers from the group called “Islamic Jihad” claimed responsibility. 241 US and 58 French peacekeepers, 6 civilians died.
      • “Opening salvo in a war that we have waged ever since — the global war on terror.” – Mike Pence 2017
      • US “would not be cowed by terrorists.” George HW Bush 1983
    • 9/11 attacks
  • According to the Global Terrorism Database by the University of Maryland, more than 61,000 incidents of non-state terrorism, resulting in at least 140,000 deaths, have been recorded from 2000 to 2014.

2 Conditions Influenced by Driving Force

US Foreign Policy

    • Preemptive warfare
    • Unilateralism/America First:
      • In response to 9/11, withdrawal from Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol
      • Echoed in Trump’s withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord (and all of Trump’s America-First ideology)
    • Some cooperation among nations
    • Anti-terrorism methods often “anti-democratic”
      • Abu Ghraib (Iraq prison torture, exposed in 2004)
      • Drone strikes

US Domestic security

    • TSA
    • Rise of detention centers and a loosened policy on torture
      • Abu Ghraib
      • Guantanamo
      • Bagram
      • Contrast pre-9/11 geneva convention?
        • https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/sep/06/impact-9-11-america
    • Surveillance state
      • USA Patriot Act (2001)
        • Increased power for NSA, FBI, CIA, DHS
        • https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/9-11-anniversary/did-patriot-act-change-us-attitudes-surveillance-n641586
    • Polarization of Immigration
      • ICE – formed pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, following the events of September 11, 2001.
        • Increased deportations
      • Turning local police officers into immigration agents
        • Secure Communities Program 2008
          • Secure Communities requires local law enforcement to share the fingerprints of arrestees with Homeland Security. The prints are run through a database, and if the search turns up an immigration hold, the arrestee can be detained until federal immigration authorities arrive.
      • Tying immigration enforcement to corporate profits
        • Rise in private detention centers in arizona profiting from the detainment of illegal immigrants
        • http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/ways-immigration-system-changed-911/story?id=17231590
    • Militarization of local police
      • “ Before 9/11, the usual heavy weaponry available to a small-town police officer consisted of a standard pump-action shot gun, perhaps a high power rifle, and possibly a surplus M-16, which would usually have been kept in the trunk of the supervising officer’s vehicle. Now, police officers routinely walk the beat armed with assault rifles and garbed in black full-battle uniforms.”
      • Move from peace-keeper to soldier
      • https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/11/how-the-war-on-terror-has-militarized-the-police/248047/


Counterforces (with the full knowledge that some of these are driving forces as much as they as are counter forces)

    • Globalism and the need participate in the larger world economy
    • Democratic ideals, both at home and abroad
      • Assuming that terrorism in part results from unstable political conditions in the places that breed terrorists, spreading democratic ideals helps stabilize nations
    • The US responsibility as the world hegemon
      • Resisting the pull of “America First” ideology to work with other countries aids security and tempers anti-Western sentiment
    • Domestic security

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