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Conceptualizing al-Qaeda and US Grand Strategy

Berger, Lars 2012, 'Conceptualizing al-Qaeda and US Grand Strategy' , in: Knowing al-Qaeda: The epistemology of terrorism , Ashgate, United Kingdom, pp. 57-76.

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    The US debate about the nature of al-Qaeda and the associated threat does not occur in a political or ideological vacuum. In fact, given its on-going political salience, questions such as what al-Qaeda is, how it can be conceptualized and defeated provide a large number of access points for those trying to shape broader US policies and underlying discourses. In the context of Middle East politics, for example, the perception of an on-going terrorist threat allowed some to argue for US policies that take into account Palestinian demands, whilst others stressed the need to uphold a close relationship with the Israeli government and to vigorously pursue the ‘national interest’. More recently, the answer to the question of whether al-Qaeda can still be thought of as having a coherent core or whether it simply serves as a brand for essentially local, bottom-up radicalization processes has direct implications for the question of whether the US-led military presence in Afghanistan and the aggressive pursuit of the Taliban should be at the heart of US counterterrorism efforts. Ultimately, the US debate about al-Qaeda is inextricably linked to specific ontologies of international politics and long-held convictions about the global role which the United States should and can play. That is why the present analysis follows in the footsteps of those who have called for closer attention to be paid to individual perceptions and convictions as the intervening variable between international incentives and policy outcomes.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Editors: Hellmich, Christina and Behnke, Andreas
    Uncontrolled Keywords: al-Qaeda, US foreign policies, Bush administration, Obama administration, Afghanistan, Isolationism, Realism, deterrence
    Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for European Security
    Publisher: Ashgate
    Refereed: Yes
    ISBN: 9781409423669
    Depositing User: Dr Lars Berger
    Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2012 11:09
    Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 18:29

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