by Thomas H. Henriksen
Hoover Institution
December 11, 2013
Over the past five decades, the United States has adapted its international counterterrorist response many times. The results have been mixed. Now, in the shadow of withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of 2014, America is switching to another geopolitical game plan. Its nascent global counterterrorism strategy rests on a tripod of airstrikes, commando raids, and partner-building initiatives to deal with the metastasizing threat from al Qaeda-inspired movements in the Middle East and Africa. This emerging counterterrorism blueprint sets out to avoid future interventions and occupations as in Afghanistan and Iraq. These three component parts are not comprehensive enough to turn the tide of a surging Islamist current. Without a sufficient footprint, the battlefield is simply surrendered as happened in post-invasion Afghanistan or present-day Syria, allowing terrorist groups to take root, flourish, and then strike out violently.

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