Defeating Terrorism: Strategic Issue Analyses   [open pdf - 357KB]

This paper is a series of short studies addressing strategic issues in the war on terrorism. The first paper provides historical perspective, but as you read many of the other essays, you will note several common and recurring themes. The first point is that this war can be won. Even now, some analysts question the stated war aims and doubt the possibility of victory. Nobody suggests it will be anything less than a complex undertaking, but victory is possible although that probably only means a new normalcy, not the comparatively halcyon days of the prewar situation. Conversely, the war on terrorism can be lost if missteps produce unintended strategic consequences. One way to do that would be to ignore the other parts of the world where America's interests lie. President Bush and the administration appear to have dodged this pitfall thus far, but they still must work to avoid expanding the war unnecessarily. As the struggle against terrorism proceeds, it is perhaps best to allow other elements of national power not the military to take the lead. The military will still be an essential component, but should be a buttress to the diplomatic, economic, and information elements as they attempt to end the scourge of terrorism with a minimum amount of further warfare.

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