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23. The ‘War on Terror’ and the War in Afghanistan  

This chapter focuses on the ‘war on terror’ of the US and its involvement in the war in Afghanistan. In the later years of the twentieth century, Middle Eastern groups launched terrorist acts against Western targets. The advent of suicide bombers and groups like al-Qaeda changed the relationships between means and ends in the use of terror. The end of the Cold War severely undermined the effectiveness of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in gathering intelligence on terrorists. The chapter first provides an overview of terrorism prior to 9/11, before discussing George W. Bush’s ‘war on terror’, the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan during the period 2001–3 and its revival, and the problem of Pakistan. It concludes with an assessment of Barack Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan.

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8. Military power and US foreign policy  

Beth A. Fischer

This chapter explores the relationship between American military power and foreign policy. It also considers important debates regarding containment, deterrence, preemption, and the limits of military power. The chapter begins with a discussion of the rise of American military power during the period 1945–91, focusing on the military implications of containment and deterrence as well as the role of deterrence in ending the arms race. It then examines the fundamental questions that the United States had to confront in the post-Cold War era regarding its role in the world and its military power; for example, whether nuclear weapons are still useful, and for what purpose the U.S. military should be deployed. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the U.S. response to terrorism, with particular emphasis on the U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan (2001) and the war in Iraq (2003).

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10. Feminism  

Helen M. Kinsella

This chapter examines international feminism, focusing on whether feminist international relations theories are necessary for understanding international politics, what basis feminist international relations theories provide for understanding international politics, and how feminist international relations theories have influenced the practice of international politics. The chapter proceeds by explaining feminism and feminist international relations theory as well as feminist conceptions of gender and power. It also discusses four feminist international relations theories: liberal feminist international relations, critical feminist international relations, postcolonial feminist international relations, and poststructural feminist international relations. Two case studies of women's organizations are presented: the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

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14. War and world politics  

Tarak Barkawi

This chapter examines how war fits into the study of international relations and the ways it affects world politics. It begins with an analysis of the work of the leading philosopher of war, Carl von Clausewitz, to highlight the essential nature of war, the main types of war, and the idea of strategy. It then considers some important developments in the history of warfare, both in the West and elsewhere, with particular emphasis on interrelationships between the modern state, armed force, and war in the West and in the global South. Two case studies are presented, one asking the question about what is global about the global war on terror (GWOT) and the other examining the GWOT in the context of war and society, looking at Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United States.

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John W. Young and John Kent

International Relations Since 1945 provides a comprehensive introduction to global political history since World War II. The text has been comprehensively updated to cover the period between 2001 and 2012. Discussing the World Trade Center bombing and concluding with the run-up to the 2012 US presidential elections, a new final section outlines broad developments including the changing world order and the global financial crisis. Three new chapters look at terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rise of major new powers, including China. Student learning is supported by a range of helpful learning features, including biographies of key figures and chronologies of events.

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18. Global terrorism  

Paul Rogers

This chapter examines how global terrorism, and particularly the war on terror, has shaped US foreign policy. It first provides an overview of the 9/11 terror attacks and definitions of terrorism before discussing the US experience of terrorism prior to 9/11 as well as the political environment in Washington at the time of the attacks. It then considers the response of the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the nature and aims of the al-Qaeda organization. It also reviews the conduct of the war on terror in its first nine years, along with the decline and transformation of al-Qaeda after 2010. Finally, it analyzes the options available to the United States in the war against al-Qaeda, ISIS, and like-minded groups.

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Edited by Michael Cox and Doug Stokes

U.S. Foreign Policy provides a comprehensive overview of the United States’s role in international politics. Chapters focus in turn on the historical background, institutions, regional relations, and contemporary issues that are key to the superpower’s foreign policy making. The second edition includes two new chapters on Barack Obama’s use of smart power and a debate on the nature of U.S. hegemony. All chapters have been updated with important developments including the effects of the global financial crisis, the on-going conflict in Afghanistan, and political uprisings in the Middle East.

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6. Obama and smart power1  

Joseph S. Nye Jr.

This chapter examines Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda. The Obama administration referred to its foreign policy as ‘smart power’, which combines soft and hard power resources in different contexts. In sending additional troops to Afghanistan, his use of military force in support of a no-fly zone in Libya, and his use of sanctions against Iran, Obama showed that he was not afraid to use the hard components of smart power. The chapter first considers power in a global information age before discussing soft power in U.S. foreign policy. It then explains how public diplomacy came to be incorporated into American foreign policy and concludes by highlighting problems in wielding soft power.

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15. The Return to Confrontation, 1979–80  

This chapter examines why the United States and the Soviet Union returned to confrontation during the period 1979–80. Despite the slow progress of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II), there were at least some efforts to control strategic weapons. Short-range and intermediate-range nuclear weapons, in contrast, continued to grow in number and sophistication, particularly in Europe, where NATO and Warsaw Pact forces still prepared for war against each other, despite détente. The failure to control theatre nuclear weapons led to a new twist in the European arms race at the end of the 1970s which helped to undermine recent improvements in East–West relations. The chapter first considers NATO’s ‘dual-track’ decision regarding theatre nuclear weapons, before discussing the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. It concludes with an assessment of the revival of the Cold War, focusing on the so-called Carter Doctrine.

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16. The ‘Second’ Cold War, 1981–5  

This chapter focuses on the so-called ‘second’ Cold War spanning the years 1981–5. Ronald Reagan came to power on the back of a general rightwards shift in the political mood. He concentrated on a presentational role in government and pursued a simple foreign policy. He dismissed détente as a communist trick, was initially determined to resist the spread of the Soviet Union’s influence wherever it threatened and, going beyond that, wanted to carry the new Cold War into the Soviet camp. The chapter first considers US–Soviet relations during the new Cold War, paying attention to ‘Reaganomics’, before discussing the crisis in Poland in 1980–2. It then explores the issue of nuclear weapons control and the ‘Year of the Missile’ and concludes with an assessment of the war in Afghanistan up to 1985.

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19. Global terrorism  

Paul Rogers

This chapter examines the U.S. response to global terrorism, starting with the United States’ experience of terrorism prior to 9/11 as well as the political environment in Washington at the time of the attacks. It then considers U.S. foreign policy under George W. Bush and the response of his administration in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with the nature and aims of the al-Qaeda movement. It also discusses the Arab Spring, the death of Osama Bin Laden, and the conduct of the war on terror in the first nine years. Finally, it assesses the options available to the United States in what came to be called the ‘Long War against Islamofascism’.