Chapter 12: Non-State Actors and Challenges to Sovereignty


Invade Afghanistan
Terrorism exists because failed states like Afghanistan provide safe havens for the networks to thrive. Afghanistan will not be taken back from the Taliban through diplomatic measures such as aid, the US needs to conduct a large-scale military operation.


The American people rally to support your military intervention. Hawkish fever is running high across the country as the public pushes for a hardline stance against al-Qaeda. That being said, the military path ahead will be long and arduous. The US is going into a foreign region far from home. Afghanistan is filled with anti-American sentiment and attempting to drive out the non-state group, the Taliban, will be difficult because they have already won over broad civilian support.

Next, you must deal with the issue of weapons of mass destruction. If a terrorist network were to obtain a weapon of mass destruction, they could kill tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands or even millions) of civilians. The easiest way for a terrorist network to acquire a WMD would be through a transfer of materials from a lesser-developed sympathizing state. States such as Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq are potential states that the US believes could develop and transfer WMDs to terrorists. Saddam Hussein in Iraq is thought of as a particularly dangerous potential supporter of al-Qaeda. He is a despotic ruler with strong anti-American sentiment. How should the US proceed?

What do you do now?

Invade IraqSaddam Hussein is definitely going to develop WMDs. He needs to be stopped and taken out of power. If we do not remove him now and he develops WMDs, then we face the dangers of both devastating terrorism and increased Iraqi military power. Saddam Hussein would be much more difficult to remove from power once he has WMDs because if he is losing a war, he will face 'use it or lose it' pressures and deploy his WMDs.
Encourage safeguardsThe US should not invade Iraq. That war will likely be long, difficult, and costly (both in terms of money and human life). Saddam Hussein likely does not have the capacity or will to develop WMDs, we can take our chances with him at the helm of Iraq. Rather, the US should try to develop closer ties with these potentially dangerous states, while encouraging strong safeguards and security measures for WMDs globally.