International Relations: War and Peace

There are two main points discussed brought by David Von Drehle, the author of the article “World War, Cold War Won. Now, the Gray War.” Firstly, it is stated that while it is possible to directly compare Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attack due to some shared characteristics, these cases are very different in nature. According to the author, the main difference is that the enemy in this new Gray War is faceless, and war itself is different – without fronts, without armies, without rules. Secondly, the author expresses a point of view that the US’s advantageous geographic location no longer protects the country from the outcomes of wars. Moreover, there is an opinion that the new Gray War took the battle to the country’s civilian population.

Regarding the author’s first argument, I have to disagree due to the events that happened sometime after 9/11. The enemy quickly acquired a face – Osama bin Laden, founder of Al-Qaeda, terrorist number one in the world for the next ten years. Moreover, his organization itself and any allies it possessed also automatically became enemies of the United States. The US was able to locate the cells of Al-Qaeda in different countries and started actively destroying them. Therefore, the US was actually able to quickly acquire targets in that new Gray War and fight them in a more or less conventional way thereafter. These efforts later culminated in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, as the country’s government was perceived as the sponsor of terrorism. In that case, there were fronts, there were armies deployed, and there were some rules to that warfare. Overall, it can be said that the US was able to quickly adapt to the new conditions of the Gray War and transform some of its aspects into more conventional warfare.

I disagree with the author’s second point too, as while the US’s geographic position has always been advantageous in the World Wars, it never gave US citizens absolute protection from the horrors of war. For instance, Germans were able to set off explosions in the US ports, the US citizens were killed during attacks on US ships; all these cases are not very different from terrorist attacks. At the same time, I believe that the distance that separates the US from its enemies is an advantage. History demonstrated that there were no attacks of the same scale ever again on the US soil, and the widespread fear of terrorism has always been exaggerated.

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