The war on Terrorism and the Nine Theories Related to International Relations Abstract

Thewar on Terrorism and the Nine Theories Related to InternationalRelations



Thewar on terrorism has become a complex phenomenon that the world hasto deal with. It has led to the dead of both civilians and terroristalike causing a division in the ideologies of the war. Due to this,there has been an involvement of theories to try and explain thesignificance of the war that include international relation theorieslike realism, neo-Marxism, and feminism and level analysis includingstate, system, organizational and individualism. Through this, comethe different perspectives of scholars concerning the war onterrorism to establish the significance of the war.

Thewar on Terror and the nine theories related to internationalRelations

Terrorismserves as a complex problem requiring a long lasting and aggressivesolution since it manages to influence the lives of millions ofpeople. Terrorism in most cases does not have specific targetstending to spark fears due to its selection of both the first worldand third world countries. Due to this, multiple countries,especially the United States of America, have embarked on a missionto fight terrorism within its soil and beyond. However, any form ofwar directed towards terror needs worldwide governmentalcollaboration, as well as, cooperation among domestic governmentunits. The war on terror declared by America towards the Middle Eastespecially after the September 11 attacks is multi-faced attractingthe participation of the diplomatic, financial, homeland, andmilitary security fronts. It has managed to change the lives of theAmerican people and its neighboring countries. Different theoristshave come up to try and explain the war on terror concept. Therefore,in this essay, I will use level of analysis and the some of the ninetheories that associate with international relations includingrealism, neo-Marxism, and feminism to discuss on the war declared onterrorism and try to determine the legitimacy of the concept.Finally, I will highlight the probable reasons that war on terrorengagement will still remain relevant in the future decades.

Backgroundof Terror

Theworld has experienced some of the most deadly terrorist attacksthroughout history seeing the death of three thousand American’sand global citizens (Renée, 2007). Consequently, the anti-terroroperations and approaches shifted within the United States of Americaand globally. Historically, United States enjoyed a period ofeconomic boom and peace but this took a different turn with theinitiation of the Cold War, the Persian Gulf War, America’sAfghanistan invasion after September 11, the 2003 America’s IraqiInvasion, and Obama’s administration encounter with ISIS.


Accordingto Byman (2009), the cold war marked a period of hostility betweenthe United States and the Soviet Union, and their correspondingprinciples. Byman (2009) claims the war came into existence afterWinston Churchill, Britain’s Prime Minister’s 1946 speechconcerning the description of an iron curtain that literallyseparated the West and East, and their corresponding principles. TheWest represented the United States and its nations of influence, themain ones being Britain, Canada, Japan, and France, while the Eastrepresented Soviet Union and their associates using expensiveresources. However, the Soviet Union and United States of America didnot physically engage each other in battle but did through the use ofothers found in Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Korea. Renée (2007) pointsout that the definite battle field competitions to include sportingevents, spying, and getting a first visit to space. Therefore, thecold war was mainly a form of proof for superiority rather thanactual fighting. Despite this, the war presented a lot of havoc inAsian, South American, Middle East, Central American, and Africannations resulting in millions of deaths. After the dissolution of theSoviet Union, the cold war came to an end in 1991 (Byman, 2009).

FirstPersian Gulf War

Immediatelyafter the end of the cold war, the 1stPersian Gulf War arose between January and February 1991 (Byman,2009). The Gulf War served as an armed dispute between the Iraqination and an association of thirty nine nations that included theUnited States, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Britain where twentyeight of the thirty nine nations provided troops. The war was aconsequence of Iraq’s August 2nd1991 Kuwait’s invasion occupying Kuwait, which is a country it hadclaimed for a long period. Sadaam Hussein, the Iraqi presidentclaimed his country’s invasion to be in response to oiloverproduction in Kuwait, which had resulted in Iraq’s yearly lossof fourteen billion dollars once oil pricings dropped (Renée, 2007).Additionally, he accused Kuwait of the illegal pumping of Iraqi oilin the Rumaila oil field. Nonetheless, the United Nations SecurityCouncil requested for the withdrawal of Iraqi’s in Kuwait giving aJanuary 15th1991 deadline but Sadaam Hussein declined to comply stirring thelaunch of Operation Desert Storm on January 18th1991 (Byman, 2009). The United States led coalition initiated animmense air way in an attempt to destroy the civil infrastructure,forces, and military of Iraq. In response, Iraq initiated terroristattacks on the coalition with the launching of Scud missiles at SaudiArabia and Israel. The primary coalition forces managed to invadeKuwait and the South of Iraq of the 24thof February and within the following four days surrounded anddefeated Iraqi forces liberating Kuwait (Byman, 2009).

September11thattacksand the Afghanistan Invasion

Nineteenterrorists on September 11thin the year 2001 manage to hijack 4 commercial airplanes divertingthem from their original route. Two of the four planes hit the NewYork Twin Towers, one hit Pentagon while the fourth one managed tocrash its way to either the Capitol or white house (Douglas, 2009).Consequently, about three thousand civilians were proclaimed dead.Following this attacks, Bush’s Administration gave the AfghanistanTaliban leadership an ultimatum to hand over Osama Bin Laden, orsuffer US attacks since he had lived in the country as a Talibanguest since the year 1996 (Douglas, 2009). The ultimatum was notfollowed through and Afghanistan suffered air attacks from Britainand U.S forces, which started on the October 7thmarked by severe night-time bombings at the center of Kandahar citydeclaring war on terror (Douglas, 2009).


Thewar was also referred to as the 2ndPersian Gulf War that began between March and April in the year 2003primarily a British-American Iraqi invasion (Douglas, 2009). The IraqWar arose due to Iraqi’s failure to cooperate with the UnitedNations weapons inspections years after the first conflict. After the9-11 attacks on Pentagon, and the World Trade Center and the defeatof the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Bush administration intensifiedits war against nations such as North Korea, Iraq, and Iran placingmore emphasis on the US declaration of war on Iraq (Douglas, 2009). Acombination of the US and British troops invaded Iraq rapidlydefeating the paramilitary and military forces in Iraq. Consequently,a longer second period followed where the United States led Iraqioccupation experienced contest through an insurgency. After thedeclination of violence in the year 2007, the U.S progressivelyreduced the presence of their military in Iraq.

Obama’sadministration encounter with ISIS

Lookingback on the American constitution on matters relating to wardeclaration, it is evident that prior to the decision of theexecutive branch to launch any form of military activity, theCongress must approve (Renée, 2007). Historically, the Americanpresidents have managed to discard this lawful requirement due totheir reliance on inadequate arguments relating to the executiveauthority. The Bush administration managed to do this and mostrecently, the Obama administration joined in in their war declarationon the Islamic State in a bid to fight ISIS jihadi fighters occupyingIraq and Syria using United States fighter bombers to launch airstrikes. Through such actions Obama administration has declared a waragainst terror arising from Middle East nations.


Overprevious decades, researchers have tried to deduce the best theory toexplain the beforehand and aftermath September 11 terrorist attacks.Byman (2009) claims the understanding of the international relationsmarks the answers to the situation since they manage to highlight themanner by which countries behave in the global system. For this to bedone, it is recommended to use a level of analysis and some of thenine international relations theories to explain the war on terror.

Levelof analysis

Amongthe primary questions related to international relations includes themanner by which one could analyze state behavior, therefore bringingforth a level of analysis issue. Researchers have discussed multiplelevels of analysis used in assessing state behavior and they includesystem, state, organizational, and individual levels.

SystemAnalysis Level

Theform of analysis level assesses the behavior of a state through theglobal system making the global system the cause and the behavior ofthe state the effect (Renée, 2007). Therefore, the internationalsystem’s characteristics have direct influence on state behaviormeaning if a dynamic comes into place in the international system,the state behavior will tend to change. The main variablerecognizable in this global system is state power within the givensystem rendering some states powerful than others. For instance, thecold war saw the participation of two super powers, the U.S andSoviet Union representing the West and East respectively in aninternational bipolar system. However, the international system hasevolved into a unipolar system, therefore, one superpower, the UnitedStates, defines other countries behaviors within the system. Thereby,one can conclude that the U.S’s fight against terror inAfghanistan, Iraq, and Syria is a matter of its position as asuperpower influencing the world militaries to fight againstcountries that pose threat to them. In light of this, it wants tomaintain its supremacy by crushing all its challengers in the name ofwar on terror.

StateAnalysis Level

Theanalysis level aims to assess foreign policy state behaviorsregarding state characteristics. Scholars tend to look atstate-centered foreign policy mannerisms including culturalcharacteristics explained by the state’s historical legacy, socialor religious traditions, or the state’s geographic and economicnature (Douglas, 2009). Therefore, this analysis might elucidate theUnited States-Iraqi intervention as a missionary quality function ofthe U.S foreign policy. United States of America always exhibits anidealistic foreign policy streak pointing out the bad people found inthe global system hence their war declaration on terror. The countrywill stop at nothing to make all global states to be like it ensuringthat they eradicate dictatorship and terrorism to make the worldcountries free marketplace economies.

OrganizationalAnalysis Level

Theanalysis level evaluates the manner by which state-basedorganizations function to impact foreign policy mannerisms.Therefore, states are not the primary decision makers lettingorganizations reach a bargain to establish foreign policy compromisesbetween two competing organizations (Renée, 2007). Looking into theIraqi war, this analysis level manages to evaluate the US military,state department, central intelligence agency, and department ofdefense interests of conquering Iraq and controlling the activitieswithin the country to ensure terrorism is controlled.

IndividualAnalysis Level

Theanalysis level places emphasis on people since people are the mainstate decision makers and establishers of foreign policy (Douglas,2009). Consequently, the war declaration on terror leading to theinvasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was pushed mostly by George Bush’sbeliefs and character influenced by the occurrence of the September11 terrorist attacks. The extended war could be related to how theGeorge Bush viewed the world and his obsession with protecting theUnited States and its people from attacks.

InternationalRelations Theories

Theinternational theories tend to give explanations of internationalpolitics laws or recurring patterns relating to national behavior(Renée, 2007). In many ways, they try to both give meaning andpredict behaviors or comprehend the world’s environment from theperspective of the authors. Through this, they manage to speculatethe traditional relations found amongst states focusing on powerstruggle, the international society nature, and the world communitypossibility. The most influential theories include realism, Englishschool, liberal internationalism, feminism, constructivism, Marxism,and pluralism among others (Douglas, 2009). The discussion on war onterror will focus on realism, Neo-Marxism, and feminism.


Accordingto Bankole &amp Mullard, (2007), under realism, countries tend toact in manners that only increase individual power over othernations. It focuses mainly on state self-preservation ensuring thatthey seek power to protect its own interests. Therefore, it isevident that the United States wanted to self-preserve especiallyafter the 9-11 attack hence the declaration of war on the Middle Eastcountries. Byman (2009) claims this is because moral behavior becomesextremely risky since it tends to undermine the ability of a nationto protect itself evident after the terrorist attack of claimed to beconducted by Osama Bin Laden who was an Afghanistan occupant leadingto war on Afghanistan. Through realism, the global system droveUnited States to use military force hence declaring war indicatingthat international law and organizations lack force or power andexist due to their acceptance by the state ensuring power increaseworldwide.


Neo-Marxismtends to rate economics in place of security as the primaryinternational relations driving force. The exploitation of nationsvia an assimilated capitalist system is a consequence of the thirdworld nation’s under-developing triggering dependence on firstworld nations. The United States has taken the position to leadglobalization but this has further deepened the Muslim world crisiscreating angry hijackers and suicide bombers due to frustration andpoverty thereby encouraging terrorism. Other globalists as pointedby Bankole &amp Mullard (2007) claimed that the U.S government usedwar on terror to invade Iraq only to explore its oil fields makingthe poverty stricken country men to rage terror on the United States.Therefore, the fight against terror should include the fight againstpoverty ensuring that frustrations are calmed down bridging the riftbetween middle east nations and the united states ensuring economicthrive, hence peace.


Accordingto Noam &amp Barsamian (2005), feminism indicates that internationalpolitics is the gendered activity that mainly happens in the man’sworld. Gender bases its ideas on objectivity, vitru, autonomy, andsovereignty where masculine countries and men are purportedlycapable. It is said women are in the extreme of both ends of terrorlead by George Bush and Osama bin Laden from the former’s extortionof women in the third world to the latter’s Islamic instigator anddefender of constructed women violence. Feminists indicate womenworldwide mourned innocent deaths caused by terror attacks callingfor reconciliation rather than revenge (Bankole &amp Mullard, 2007).However, the women’s cries were not heard due to the September 11attacks especially on the World Trade Center represented male-basedcapitalist egotism fueling another approach of Arabian malechauvinism. On the other hand, the determination of Bush’sadministration facilitated destructive wars to satisfy their maleegotism and fanaticism when exploiting resources in the Middle Eastcountries. If the feminist are not heard and involved ininternational policy making, then the war on terror will persist foryears to come.

Waron Terrorism Perspectives

Manydifferent individuals and scholars have come forward to give theirview concerning the War on terror led that have spread many regionsin the world. According to Fukuyama, the United States mainly spendsa lot more on defense compared to the combination of next sixteeninfluential countries (Bankole &amp Mullard, 2007). The act is madeevident by Kissinger’s involvement in the making of policies duringthe cold war where America was to utilize its defenses to gain powerand achieve national interests during the cold war and thistranslated to the war on terror waged on Afghanistan and Iraq (Renée,2007). Additionally, Keohane claimed the defense power that UnitedStates used included collaborating international organizations to setagendas, act as avenues for weak state political actions and achievecoalition (Bankole &amp Mullard, 2007). Through this, Americamanaged to develop a complex interdependence with the joining in ofnotably Britain in the war on terrorism to ensure that the MiddleEast nations are tamed.

Chomskyclaims the actions of the US have ensured the development of theMuslim’s world hate for the U.S policies and not the country itselfand if policies can change then some sort of peace could be achieved(Noam &amp Barsamian, 2005). Peace was also advocated for by Barberwho saw the war on terror as a global injustice on especially on thecivilians of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan calling for non-violentmeasures to be used. On the other hand, Khattak, the KhyberPakhtunkhwa chief minister, called for international communitycollaboration to control terrorism especially after the Bacha KhanUniversity attack in 2016 (Imran, 2016). Through collaboration, thenhe claims the terrorist can be stopped from harming innocent souls inthe society. Despite calls from some scholars to reinforce the war onterror Abu Sahlia does not condone the fight on terror since he seesthe terrorists more as refugees seeking refuge in the church’s holyground. Through the different perspectives on the fight againstterror, it is clear that individuals are divided and unless policiesare changed to fit both parties the division will grow even further.


Itis evident that the war on terrorism especially after 9-11 has beenjustified and condoned by different people prompting scholars toresearch on whether it is the best way forward. They have utilizedthe international relation and level of analysis to evaluate theissue and made conclusions that the fight against terror is indeedjustified although it should follow a different path like theeradication of poverty and the non-involvement of civilians in thefight. Once this is achieved, the world will become a better placesince peace would prevail.


Byman,D. (2009). Deadlyconnections : states that sponsor terrorism / Daniel Byman.Cambridge, U.K. New York : Cambridge University Press, 2009

Chomsky,N., &amp Barsamian, D. (2005). Imperialambitions : conversations with Noam Chomsky on the post 9/11 world /Noam Chomsky interviews with David Barsamian.London New York : Hamish Hamilton, 2005

Cole,B., &amp Mullard, M. (2007). Globalisation,Citizenship and the War on Terror.Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing

DeNevers, R. (2007). Sovereignty and Ethical Argument in the Struggleagainst State Sponsors of Terrorism. JournalOf Military Ethics,6(1), 1-18

Feith,D. J. (2009). War and decision : inside the Pentagon at the dawn ofthe War on terrorism / Douglas J. Feith. New York, NY : HarperCollinsPublishers, c2009

Imran,Z. (2016). Pervez Khattak stresses need to call APC after Charsaddaattack. NationalHerald Tribune, retrievedon 16thMarch 2016, from &lt