Blog Week 4

The Red Template reading which described the U.S. policies in Afghanistan, which was then occupied by the Soviets. The Soviets interest in Afghanistan would be a concern for the Untied States as it was noted, once the state had been seized by the Soviets, it could not return to capitalism. Probably equally as pressing as the spread of socialist influence was the oil that the U.S. would lose if the Soviets gained control. The U.S. was quick to back the Islamic extremest group that was fighting to overthrow the regime, although, this was just to protect foreign affairs with little consideration of the implications this would have on the victorious Islamic militants.

“The framework of US foreign policy-to dominate the world’s resources-had worked quite well for the conservative ideological policy makers in the context of the Cold War. These right-wing veterans were not accustomed to interpreting and formulating policy outside of the cold war context.”

This was definitely apparent as the U.S. supported military operations of the group that would eventually become Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants. In the quote above it recognizes this disregard for the implications as the outcome of what we had seen as successful Cold War policies. However, it does not really seem that anything was learned from the U.S. displays a similar tactic again when it agrees to funnel aid to Packistan through ISI:

” The ISI allocated most of the weapons and resources to the most extreme funda- mentalist groups among the mujihadin.”

Again, the United States was concerned with the oil and failed to consider the implications of these decisions, and thought of things through their own perspective failing to recognize the Afghan resistance was so ruthless and ” There were no Thomas Jeffersons on a white horse among the Afghan resistance leaders ” It is interesting at the end when di points out that much of the conflict present today could have been avoided if America had been more concerned with establishing peace in Afghanistan after the soviets withdrew.

Research Paper Abstract

Following the terror attack in 2001, Al Qaeda was the primary focus of national security in America, although overtime, ISIS continuously grabs national headlines. While focus has shifted to ISIS, Al Qaeda has begun to re surge among the distractions, especially overseas. Both groups have somewhat similar ideologies and goals making it difficult to conclude which group poses a more significant threat internationally, and in the United States. In order to analyze the risk of each group, comparisons will be drawn between the development of each group, the nature of terror attacks from each group, profiles of the recruits, and the leadership. It will also be important to explore the range and mechanism of networking each group has throughout the world, their access to funding and weapons, and the sustainability of the two groups. Considering the combination of these several factors, American security should ultimately re-focus on Al Qaeda, because its ability to network through relationships rather than force and its sustainability create a more dangerous threat than ISIS. Analyzing the nature of the threat that both ISIS and Al Qaeda pose is significant to national security, as there is only limited funding and manpower and focusing on the wrong threats may allow America to fall into potentially avoidable traps.

Week 2 Blog (Gelvin ch. 9)

From my understanding of what Gelvin was saying, it seemed that the Ottomans attempted to implement some of the ideology that allowed the Europeans to progress but was often unsuccessful, and attempting these changes greatly affected religious doctrines and institutions. The European and “western” world’s willingness to separate religion from the policies may have been what allowed these changes to take control of beginning a more progressive society rather than the approach taken by Abdulhamid II, who strained to keep religion tightly linked to the state.

An interesting perspective I thought Gelvin was suggesting in Chapter 9 was that most argue whether or not secularism is needed for modernization, but on the other hand, a different question might be whether modernization leads to secularization or vise versa. Personally, it’s hard for me to imagine modernization with no secularization either way. I think this is because I associate current, progressive ideology and political systems as “modern”, and many religiously based structures for society seem outdated because they were developed so long ago in such a different time. In terms of the view that secularization might result from modernization, I can see this happening as different interpretations of an outdated, religiously based system gradually leading toward a more secular society.

I also definitely think it’s worth noting that our view of what is modern could be skewed as we see it only from our own version and way of life. Gelvin even notes that the “West” could be viewed as just as religious as the “East” where the west is primarily Christian and the East Islamic. As I was thinking about why I view the “West” as more modernized, I think that I associate equality with modernization. The U.S. demonstrates that inequality can definitely be present amongst modernization, but I think the separation of religion and state is allowing for more opportunities to address and find solutions to these issues. I think that ultimately, equality is the progression of the recognition of human rights, which may be the most important front of modernization.