Yes, America is Exporting Terrorism
Paul Pillar has a very interesting piece in FP called Yes, America Is Exporting Terrorism, which is well worth a read. The below quote stood out for me. Speaking of the US, he wrote:
More generally, it can try to view everything it does in the name of counterterrorism through its foreign partners’ eyes and get rid of the double standards. And more generally still, it should understand that the United States is not really the center of the counterterrorist universe, that counterterrorism did not begin with 9/11, and that some foreign partners — who had been confronting serious terrorist threats long before terrorism became a top security issue in the United States — have at least as much to teach the United States on the subject as the other way around.
I could add another one to this list, which he omits but I think gets to the crux of some of these issues. The US (and other countries) need to remember its counterterrorism priorities may not be a significant priority for another state. For a number of countries, the terrorism threat facing the west simply does not translate into a national security issue for them, or is not as high on their national security agenda. After all, not everyone signed on to making countering terrorism a central pillar of international relations (but this is an entirely new post). This seems to have been a distinctly American construct; unsurprising in light of 9/11, but unsustainable (and I’d argue somewhat counterproductive) over the longer term because of the very nature of terrorism. But I digress…
The problem is the way this chasm in perspectives and national security interests is addressed and overcome. Chest beating is not always the best way to achieve things, particularly not when a perception of double standards exists.
The problem isn’t even in the asymmetries in how the US or other countries handle rendition, information sharing or other aspects of CT, it’s the message that demanding *their* issue be prioritized over the national security of the country on the receiving end of the demand. But here too that’s another post, and I’m meant to be on a blogging ban. So that’s all for me.