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The American War on Terror: Seed of its own destruction

Jarrod Hayes
Georgia Institute of Technology
Jarrod Hayes
Georgia Institute of Technology
Open Panel

Abstract

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 against targets in the United States, the Bush Administration undertook its ''war on terror,'' a global effort to eliminate terrorism. This paper analyzes U.S. foreign policy through the lens of securitization theory. Specifically, I argue the ''war on terror'' was a discursive effort to maintain a global structure of security authority, with the United States at the centre of the order. While this structure worked for much of the Cold War, the world in 2001 was a very different place, and states and societies were less willing to cede authority to the United States, in the process introducing a separation between the U.S. and many of its longtime allies. In effect, states and societies have begun to take back the political capability to define threats and responses from the United States, a reality U.S. policymakers must address if they are to maintain long-standing alliances and execute effective foreign and security policy.