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The Global War on Terrorism: Is "Where Next" Really the Right Question?

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The devastating attacks of modem terrorism have necessitated a new national and international posture responding to terrorism as war. This is the case in the current U.S. led war in Afghanistan, and the successes there have resulted in a great deal of media coverage and speculation on where the U.S. will attack next for phase-two in the war on terrorism. The areas most frequently indicated for this phase-two include Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, Philippines and Colombia. But a review of the proposed military actions in these countries reflect little in-depth analysis or justification to truly provide serious debate or recommendations required to win the war against terror. This is primarily due to the fact that the vast preponderance of the discussion on a next phase in the war has centered strictly on U.S. military actions, with virtually no attention to U.S. national interests or policy in a manner - equating to a full strategic analysis. Fortunately there are tools and methodologies for just such an analysis. These include criteria on which to base a phase-two decision, as well as a strategic framework on which to build an analysis. That framework is provided succinctly by the Army War College in its ends, ways, and means paradigm. Inclusive in this framework is a presentation of the elements of national power and-their applicability to strategic analysis of national issues. Asking where next for the U.S. military may be a great media ploy, but it will be of little avail in enhancing long-range U.S. interests. It is rather in a strategic context that we need to address the war on terrorism.

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  • Unconventional Warfare

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