American Foreign Policy and Islamic Aggression
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- terrorism; Middle East; foreign policy; democracy promotion; Bush; Defense and Security Studies
The purpose of this Master's thesis is to determine whether or not American foreign policy in the Middle East is a leading cause of Islamic aggression against the United States, and if so, offer policy recommendations on what should be done to reduce this aggression. To make this determination I have performed extensive research and analysis of a wide variety of literature and open source material pertaining to anti-Americanism and the political dynamics of Islamic aggression. The central argument produced from this research is that political grievances are generating anti-Americanism among Muslims, but the extraordinary value placed upon these grievances is determined by psychological inadequacies within the Islamic world which would continue to generate Islamic aggression against the United States even if these political grievances did not exist. Policy changes that are incapable of abating these inadequacies will therefore have little effect towards decreasing anti-Americanism or reducing the desire of Muslims to support terrorist organizations. Furthermore, it is an unfortunate strategic reality that changing most of the policies that are generating anti-Americanism among the Islamic people would not be in the long-term interest of American national security as this would lead to a further empowerment of rogue states and terrorists within the region. However, a strategy that seeks to democratize the Middle East at both the procedural and substantive levels might be capable of reducing both inadequacy and anti-Americanism among the general Muslim population by providing young men with alternative ways than terrorism to achieve wealth, power, and glory. To prevent strategic overextension, democracy promotion must remain subservient to the overall counterterrorism strategy of the United States and the nations targeted for democratization should be selected in accordance with strategic interest and likelihood of success.