terrorist threat to the U.S. is at the vital level of interest Essay

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Q1) Most students state that the terrorist threat to the U.S. is at the vital level of interest. They are probably correct, today, but threats are dynamic. Terrorists will continue to try to threaten the survival of the U.S. On the other hand, the Soviet Union never attacked the U.S., but defense against communism sponsored by the Soviet Union, was typically considered to be a survival interest of U.S. national security. What is the difference between the two threats? Why is terrorism not a survival threat?

Q2- (85 words ) Read the following comments and write your opinion ( Why you agree with this comments or why not ACCORDING TO the references presented above in the first question. “Your comments must be substantive, meaning that you are adding something new and thoughtful to the discussion. It’s not sufficient to say you agree or disagree. Explain why.”

I find myself leaning towards a quick and simple answer: The Soviet Union had the capability (possibly) to invade and destroy America through conventional warfare. The terrorist simply don\’t pose the same level of threat. It is not feasible to think that the terrorist could invade and destroy America anymore than our thinking our founding father\’s could overthrow England on it\’s own soil. The threat levels just aren\’t the same.

Q3- (85 words ) Read the following comments and write your opinion ( Why you agree with this comments or why not ACCORDING TO the references presented above in the first question. “Your comments must be substantive, meaning that you are adding something new and thoughtful to the discussion. It’s not sufficient to say you agree or disagree. Explain why.”

While terrorism may be at a high level of interest, public or professional interest in itself is not a good measure of the actual threat posed. After all, one of the goals of terrorism is to grab the public\’s interest through fear. 

Bruce Hoffman\’s \”Inside Terrorism\” gives an interesting view of the actual threat posed by international terrorism when he contrasts the number of Americans killed in car accidents in 1988 (47,087) vs. how many Americans were killed in the whole world by terrorism for the same year (203). This led to his conclusion that \”an American was just as likely to be killed by a dog as by a terrorist in 1988: yet nearly a third of those surveyed … would refuse to travel abroad because of the threat of terrorism.\” 9/11 has taken this perception and ran with it. 

There are (at least) two major, obvious differences between the Soviet threat during the Cold War and the current terrorist threat: 

1) The cold war was a classic example of state vs. state 3rd generation warfare, while the terrorist threat is composed of non-state actors who transcend national boundaries. 

2) There was an understanding of nuclear Mutually Assured Destruction keeping each side in check throughout the duration of the Cold War that simply does not and can not exist with the scattered, non-state, decentralized structure of the international terrorist. The enemy has evolved from a government-owned, uniformed soldier standing in formation with his Kalashnikov to an indistinguishable construction worker with artillery shells in the trunk of his car who would be just as eager to take out his head of state as ours. Who then do we assure destruction on? 

Finally, the main reason terrorism does not pose the same threat to survival as Soviet Russia is because a terrorist by nature is not seeking to take over a nation-state, but simply to steer its political course. With few exceptions, terrorist groups lack the political organization required to run the country in the event they were able to take it through armed revolution and they know this. The Soviets, however, were an established political entity and demonstrated with one annexation after another that they were ready and willing to keep taking.

Q4- (85 words ) Read the following comments and write your opinion ( Why you agree with this comments or why not ACCORDING TO the references presented above in the first question. “Your comments must be substantive, meaning that you are adding something new and thoughtful to the discussion. It’s not sufficient to say you agree or disagree. Explain why.”

The USSR sought world domination; however, the US maintained a technological edge that always placed the US in a more secured position. The USSR knew that they could only win with overwhelming capabilities, which they did not have. Simultaneously the world order underwent changes. Nations within the USSR demanded freedom and began breaking out of their chains, which in turn weakend the bear. President Reagan offered the USSR a great exit to their misery when he called on Mr. Gorbachev to take down the Berlin Wall. Terrorists on the other hand, do not care for world domination as may espoused by many. They support a cause based on something taken from them, though this reason is not all encompassing. Yasser Arafat sought to free the Palestinian people and create a Palestianian State; however, he did not receive the type of response he envisioned. The PLO, Arab States and many other nations viewed what Britian did to force the separation with skepticism and Western Europe supported the division – and the creation of the State of Israel. The PLO decided to turn to violence in the form of terrorism to stake their claim. Others have since joined in. Terrorists will not relent but neither will those who cherish their freedom to the point that they will protect it with their lives.

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