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Cover International Relations Since 1945

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.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Since 1945

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.