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Illusions of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism$
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Richard English

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265901

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265901.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

The Global Insurgency

The Global Insurgency

Action and Reaction in Contemporary World Politics

(p.145) 9 The Global Insurgency
Illusions of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism

David A. Lake

British Academy

The Pax Americana has produced remarkable political order in Europe and Northeast Asia. For decades, the US has sought to expand this international order into the Middle East. This effort, however, has sparked a backlash against the US, globalisation, and Westernisation. With state elites now largely co-opted into the Pax Americana, opposition takes the form of ‘private’, non-state actors using terrorist methods. The US response to the global insurgency has included counterterrorism and regime change, but state-building has become the dominant strategy. The core problem in state-building, however, is that though the US and its allies seek legitimacy for the states they build, they also aim to appoint local leaders willing to cooperate in the global war on terror and other elements of the Pax Americana. These ‘loyal’ leaders can govern only autocratically in ways that foment further opposition. State-building as counterinsurgency strategy is counter-productive. The first section of this chapter explains the spread of the Pax Americana; the second briefly describes the reaction to this expansion, focusing on the current global insurgency; the third probes the counter-reaction, highlighting the role of state-building; the Conclusion argues that given a choice between expansion or retrenchment, the US should lean towards the latter.

Keywords:   Pax Americana, backlash, globalisation, insurgency, terrorism, state-building, legitimacy, retrenchment

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