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  • Author: Navin Bapat
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: The risk of terrorism is often overstated. Americans are more likely to die from everyday risks, such as driving, drowning, or being hit by lightning, than from terrorist attacks. I’ve often criticized the willingness of leaders to politicize terrorism, arguing that this results in ‘othering’ that harms racial and ethnic minorities, and, in some cases, in very large, costly, and brutal wars. I therefore do not say this lightly: In the case of the US, however, white supremacists like those who engaged in the mob attack on the US Capitol, are a clear and present danger to the human security of the American nonwhite population and to national security.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, Far Right, White Supremacy, Racism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: On January 3, 2020, an American drone strike killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, and one of the most influential military and political figures in Iran. It is an extraordinary event—former American army general and director of the CIA David Petraeus called it “more consequential” than the killing of Osama bin Laden—with potentially profound implications for US-Iranian relations, and the entire Middle East. Here, international relations experts from UC San Diego discuss why the Trump administration killed Soleimani; what might come next; and the implications for US domestic politics. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
  • Topic: International Law, Military Intervention, Assassination, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Navin Bapat
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: The Washington Post’s publication of the Afghanistan Papers reveals that, although the official line was that the war was turning in favor of the US and its allies in Kabul, policymakers have long been aware that the situation was bleak, deteriorating, and unlikely to produce anything resembling a “victory.” Following 9/11, the US identified failed states as a key national security risk, in that these environments enabled terrorists, rebels, warlords, and other non-state actors to plot and plan operations against the US and the international community. Given that Afghanistan seemed to represent the prototypical weak state, the solution was obvious: Afghanistan needed to be transformed into a strong state that would resist non-state actors—particularly terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. But in trying to achieve this lofty goal, the US has lost thousands of soldiers and contractors and spent several trillion dollars—and the costs will likely continue rising. The Afghans themselves have suffered even more, with over 100,000 deaths since 9/11. Despite all of this loss—and the open acknowledgment that the strategy is failing—there is little appetite among US policymakers for reversing course.
  • Topic: War, Military Affairs, Afghanistan, Military Intervention, War on Terror, Military Contractors
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States