Global War on Terrorism Thesis

Pages: 6 (1797 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

Global Terror War

Policy Advice for Confronting the Global Terrorism Threat

The threat of terrorism to national security is as high as it has ever been. The scale and sophistication of the attacks which extremist militant groups have levied against their enemies in the West indicates that no nation which aligns itself with the goals of western democracy and capitalism is insulated from such aggression. As the policy advisor responsible for presiding over the National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSCC), I would enter into an advisory meeting with the Prime Minister with an emphasis on refining the approach to global and regional terrorism established in the last decade.

Australia is a key player in the Asia Pacific region. As one of the leading economic and political forces in a region dominated by developing Southeast Asian and Pacific Island nations, it is both a key ally to democracies such as the United States and is a pace-setter for affairs in its sphere. For these reasons, it has come to play a major role in the War on Terror, stimulated by its vulnerability to the threats fulminated in its region and by its close diplomatic ties to the United States. As its interests have become more entwined with those of the United States and its terror allies, the terror issue has become increasingly pressing to policy-makers and public officials.

Though the government of Australia under the leadership of Kevin Rudd has shifted our policy orientation somewhat to the left, the relationship between Australia and the United States is one of extreme political and economic importance to Australians. Political processes aside, the current outlook for national security remains couched in specific international realities. As characterized by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), "the world's security environment changed forever on 11 September 2001, after terrorists attacked New York City and Washington. The attacks in Bali then made it clear to Australia that we could be a target of a major terrorist incident - something most Australians would previously have dismissed." (AFP, 1) These conditions would cause the initial adoption of conservative former Prime Minister John Howard's Australian Anti-Terrorism Act (2005). These policy adoptions would closely parallel the priorities of the United States, reflecting its aggressive passage of new law enforcement liberties designed to improve surveillance and intelligence gathering coupled with an expressed willingness to engage in military actions abroad to preemptively intervene with mounting terrorist threats. As with the United States, this position would produce no small level of resentment by Australians and regional neighbors alike.

Recommendations, Rationale and Action:

The key recommendation intended to define Australia's terror policy approach concerns its domestic orientation. As we will address in the "Issue Background" section of this discussion, there is a direct danger that terrorism may develop on Australia's own soil. However, this has not been a convincing rationale for many of the extreme enforcement tactics that have undermined traditional perspectives on democratic justice and law enforcement norms.

This would be highlighted by a recent case impacting a physician named Haneef in which due process had been over-ridden in order to pursue terror charges against the suspect. He had been denied a hearing for his detention based on specially raised conditions which appear to have bypassed normal legal proceedings. In this instance, "The immigration minister said his decision had nothing to do with the legal process. 'These are two separate matters,' Andrews said at a news conference in the Australian capital, Canberra. 'The courts have their duties and obligations. I have to look at whether Dr. Haneef passes the character test'- one of the reasons the Australian immigration authorities can withdraw a visa." (Johnston, 1)

This somewhat arbitrary exercise of power demonstrates the conditions created by the current terror policy, which appear to undermine constitutional rights. This helps to underscore a policy recommendation which would promote enforcement with the protection of individual rights. The rationale for this decision is given girding by such recent statements as that in which "a former chief justice of the Australian High Court recently condemned his country's anti-terrorism laws, calling them draconian. Speaking at a law conference in Sydney last week, Gerard Brennan said he is troubled by the anti-terrorism laws because they impair the freedoms and immunities that common law protects." (Senevirate, 1) This underscores another area of primary concern for our government in going forward. In the first generation of the Terror War, the intensity of the need for quick security response to an emerging threat necessitated some difficult policy decisions. As a result, it is reasonable now to reflect on the prospect of refining the approach taken to confronting the terrorist threat so as to improve the various weakness relating to the preservation of civil liberties.

This is an important rationale for one of the key Recommendations produced by the research. Here, we resolve that if Australia is to be a credible combatant against the crimes of extremist militancy, it must itself work to avoid falling into the same patterns. A reexamination of the nation's terror laws with a focus on protecting constitutional rights, preserving due process, retaining citizen privacy and ensuring rightful and humane detention will be a major component to achieving a more fitting counter-terrorism strategy for all Australians.

Another recommendation is for the improvement of the public discourse characterizing the nature of the domestic threat. Though this threat is real and legitimate, it has been grossly exaggerated to an extent that has been stigmatizing for the Australian Muslim population. Indeed, "since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in September 2001, the media has played a crucial role in the developing discourse on contemporary terrorism. In the Australian context, this discourse has emerged as one which implicates Australian Muslims, constructing them as a homogeneous monolith with an underlying implication that Islam, and by association Australian Muslims, is secular resistant and at odds with the values of the liberal democratic state." (Aly, 1)

Issue Background and Implications:

The nature of law enforcement as this has been impacted by current terror laws is to link it more closely with federal agencies that specialize in the gathering of intelligence and the initiation of action concerning that intelligence. The result has been a continually closer link between domestic and international agencies mutually commissioned by the Australian government to formulate the nation's lasting security. Accordingly, our research indicates that "the AFP works with representatives of the Australian Government and State and Territories on the National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC), which was established by the Inter-Governmental Agreement signed by the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers on 24 October 2002." (AFP, 1) in this collaboration, it has been assumed that greater information sharing betwixt agencies is producing a more robust intelligence community with the capacity to confront a threat that is elusive and flexible.

Even still, there remains a permeating recognition amongst political groups of all orientations that terrorism is a genuine threat to Australian security. The relatively nascent policies for intervening, preventing and responding to terrorist threats are imperfect and unproven. So denotes a recent White Paper produced on the subject by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), which reinforces the extent to which our government still does not fully understand the nature and scale of the current threat. According to DFAT, "as a Western liberal democracy, Australia faces a serious threat from transnational extremist-Muslim terrorism. The White Paper examines the origins of this threat with a particular focus on Al Qaida. It describes how the threat manifests itself internationally and in Australia's immediate region, and acknowledges that the target of the terrorists is as much mainstream Islam and moderate Muslim countries as it is the West." (DFAT, 1)

This is a perspective which is echoed with troubling frequency by day-to-day intelligence proceeding, most of which point to the fomenting resentment in Southeast Asia as a mounting danger to the Australian mainland. Quite in fact, the close proximity of Australia to these parts of the developing world means that even in the context of its immigration policies Australia must confront the reality of this threat. So is this shown in a recent article by Brown (2009) which reports that a Somali religious scholar claims young Somali-Australians who have gone to Somalia to fight with terrorist group Al-Shabaab have returned and are living in Australia. When the Federal Government added the Somali Islamist group to its list of banned terrorist organisations last month it cited a string of bombings in east Africa and alleged links to Al Qaeda. And the terrorism raids in Melbourne last month focused attention on the issue of radicalisation in the Somali community." (Brown, 1) This highlights the implications of Australia's proximity to Southeast Asia, where a host of predominantly Moslem nations functions as a counterpoint to the western democratic orientation of Australia. As a leader in the Asia Pacific region, Australia is both a target for those in Southeast Asia looking to the lash out against the global economic power structure and is a context… [END OF PREVIEW]

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