September 11, 2001 brought changes to the rules of the international system established at the end of the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union allowed the United States to reign at the top of the international area. It was able to dominate the world as the only superpower in possession of superior capabilities and was able to impose its particular interests in political, military, and economic issues. It seems that eventually one voice was strong enough to answer Washington and the new thing is that this voice does not emerge from a concrete actor, as the USSR used to be. The terrorist groups are this new voice and that creates a set of new rules as they cannot be precisely identified as a concrete state-enemy. They are informal groups which cannot be localized and without a direct interlocutor to negotiate with. Faced with these new asymmetrical difficulties, the Bush administration decided to enter in conflict against the states where these terrorist groups were supposed to be located with a focus in the Middle East, and went back to an offensive interventionist foreign policy, named The War on Terror. As we know, US interests in the Middle East did not begin after September 11. Middle East countries have been a US interest since decades for their energy resources and geopolitics situations. During the Cold War US had a geopolitical need to keep this region under its authority to keep a way of pressure in USSR.
[...] Waltz's image of the role of state leaders in conducting foreign policy comes close to being a mechanical image in which their choices are shaped by the international structural constraints that they face. Finally states' interest is not directly the gain of power but firstly the defence of their own-survival and security. Waltz underlines three concepts of the international structure, which is made distinct to the national one. There is first a relative distribution of capabilities on the international system. [...]
[...] When its security is on question US is acting as a strong power and does not care about elementary international rules, Neorealism helps us to understand this US position; after Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran seems to be the new US target to democratise to protect its power and own survival. If the attacks of September 11 do not have changed international relations, they have although resulted in the conceptualisation of a new enemy, Islamism. The United States has since opted for the almost exclusive denunciation of this enemy. It seems that by trying to get back the balance of power US position, credibility and authority has finally declined with this War of Terror. Rest to see if [...]
[...] The direct consequence of the attacks was that US foreign policy came back to a strong one. On the question of its own security US government does not accept compromises. The fact that they went in Iraq without the United Nation agreement proves that on this area they are acting as a superpower, but US cannot be on every fronts and it has to loose in isolating key allies as Europe. US have to count on other countries and its power could therefore be seen as a non-absolute one. [...]
[...] Considering all these statements we will, departing from Neorealism, explore the effect of September 11 on the United States foreign policy orientation in the Middle East. How can Neorealism explain the come back to an interventionism American foreign policy in Middle East? Before analysing the effect of September 11 on the United States foreign policy orientation in the Middle East, we need first to establish the characteristic of the theory that we will use as point of departure, Neorealism. Neorealism can be defined as a general theory characterised by few important assumptions about the international system according to which the rational, unitary states of the anarchic international system are subject to structural pressures which make them concerned about their own survival. Kenneth Waltz is the leading contemporary neorealist thinker; he has exposed his theory in his 1979 book, Theory of International Politics. [...]
[...] Islamism and terrorism are seen as the new threats of world order and US security and are consequently becoming the new targets of US foreign policy orientation, especially after the September 11 attacks claimed by al-Qaeda, an islamist terrorist group. Some Middle East countries are accused to compensate their weakness by the acquisition of weapons with a high destructive potential. The possession of these weapons allowed them to directly threaten the US. They are besides accused to provide them to terrorist groups, to which they can also offer voluntarily or not a shelter on their territory. [...]
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