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After going through the 9/11 Commission Report, please describe your thoughts on how the US could have been more prepared for 9/11, or if that was impossible, what is being done to change that.

The 9/11 terror strikes were the most gruesome to have taken place on American soil. In the wake of the shocking event policy makers carried out a detailed analysis, the product of which is the 9/11 Commission Report. The report pointed to how the attacks could have been anticipated and prevented with better application of intelligence gathered by the CIA. It also highlighted structural and organizational deficiencies that hinder swift action when there is a possibility of a terrorist act. It was based on the recommendations outlined in the report that the National Security Agency was created and endowed with substantial powers to act.

On the legislative side the USA PATRIOT Act was passed, which has proved controversial in the years since. The main objection to the act is its compromising of cherished civil liberties. Almost a century and a half of civil rights to privacy, freedom of expression and the right to organize publically have all been diluted in the name of offering security. The recent Edward Snowden expose on extensive government domestic espionage reveals the depth of government intrusion.

On the military side, the US campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have proven counter-productive. There is huge loss in terms of human lives and material resources incurred in these campaigns. Recent polls suggest that these acts of aggression have worsened US’ image internationally. It has created a new wave of resentment in the Islamic world, making America prone to terrorism in the future.

All things considered, it is fair to claim that the best way for America to fight terror is neither through aggression nor through heightened domestic policing. The best way it would seem is to lend a compassionate hearing to the grievances of the enemy.

(talk accessed via: http://www.theory-talks.org/2008/07/theory-talk-12.html)

Political Scientist Robert Jervis offers interesting perspectives in the area of International Relations. In particular he talks about the nature of American dominance, the potential threats to its superpower status, the success and failure of the Treaty on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, etc. Professor Jervis presents his views from a Realist point of view – a framework that takes a pragmatic account of geo-political situations as against idealistic or fundamentalist ones. This is evident in Realists’ (including Jervis) open opposition to the war in Iraq. Even on the question of a possible intervention in Iran Jervis advices caution and suggests that Iran’s declaration of being a nuclear-enabled state could be no more than a strategic bluff. Jervis sees both advantages and disadvantages in European economic integration. On the positive side, he believes that a consolidated Europe would .

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