Chapter 12: Non-State Actors and Challenges to Sovereignty


Foreign aid
Terrorism happens because the Middle East is filled with weak/failed states that provide safe havens for the networks to thrive. The US should help 'legitimate' governments in the Middle East secure their sovereignty through foreign aid. Furthermore, the US should maintain its global forward military presence and strengthen support for all of its allies. These security measures will enable the US to invade the Middle East in the future, but, for now, invasion is unnecessary.


The American people do not think you are being as tough on terrorism as you should. That being said, they generally support you and are willing to be somewhat patient. You have also maintained the capacity for future intervention. If another terrorist attack were to occur, the public would force you to intervene in the Middle East, but your credibility as president will have already been wrecked.

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.