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Strategic Horizons: Americas Failed Strategy in the Islamic World, by Steven Metz - Research Paper Example

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In this paper, I will provide a summary and analysis of Strategic Horizons: America’s Failed Strategy in the Islamic World by Steven Metz. Metz provides a critique of the U.S. strategies toward Islamic extremism and argues that the latest strategy is in principle no different from previous strategies. …
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Strategic Horizons: Americas Failed Strategy in the Islamic World, by Steven Metz
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Metz begins his article by observing that anti-Americanism in the Islam world is spreading throughout the Middle East reflecting that the U.S. strategy toward Islamic extremism is failing. Metz points out that prior to September 11, 2001, the U.S. focused on partnering with and fostering relationships with Islamic leaders regardless of how tyrannical they may have been. However, since September 11, the U.S. came to the realization that his strategy did not work with respect to controlling Islamic extremism. The U.S. then adopted a counterinsurgency-type strategy. This strategy was a double-edged sword in that it simultaneously targeted fighting terrorism itself and sources of support for terrorists. Former President Bush took the position that Islamic extremism grew out of a lack of political and economic participation although Al-Qaida was led by individuals who were not short on opportunities for economic and political participation. Bush would promote the concept that democratic and economic reforms and strategies would root out support for terrorism. While Obama agreed with Bush’s strategy in principle, he argued that the approach was too severe and thought partnership and a cooperative approach was more desirable. Obama’s approach was more or less based on paying lip service to a perception that Americans and Muslims wanted the same thing: peace, security and prosperity. Regardless, Metz argues that despite what might appear to be different approaches by Bush and Obama, they are both based on the same concept: democratic reforms. Both strategies assume that democracy is the solution to extremism. The reality is democratic rules are averse to quelling opposition, particularly when the public outrage is not directed at them, but abroad. Moreover, technological advances has made it easier for public rage to spread and more difficult for any government to control. For governments in the Islamic world, it has become a lot easier and far less expensive to simply allow public displays of hostilities toward the U.S. to die of natural causes. Metz also argues that while Islamic governments have taken the initiative to implement democratic reforms, very few have followed through with the necessary economic reforms. Therefore the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy advocating for economic and political reforms as a means of eradicating support for extremism and terrorism cannot work without the necessary economic reforms. Metz also points out that the gap between the U.S. and the Islamic world will not be closed by proposing greater respect and careless speeches about unity when in reality, U.S. display of power and priorities reflects otherwise. For example, the U.S.’s close relationship with Israel clearly demonstrates a lack of respect for the Islamic world. Metz suggests that the U.S. strategy for economic and political reforms and the latest call for respect toward the Islamic world is perceived as a weakness and may not garner respect in return. At the same time, the hard ball played by the Bush administration was similarly met with anti-Americanism from the Islamic world. While it is necessary to continue to fight terrorism itself as it has made America safer, it is time to rethink strategies for fighting the underlying causes of terrorism and support for terrorism. Part III Analysis Metz view of U.S. strategies toward Islamic extremism is based on an oversimplification of how the U.S. views the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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