Closing of the Mind of the War on Terror

By: Professor. Satoshi Ikeuchi, Professor, Global Security and Religion, University of Tokyo.

President Trump fired his hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, for their fundamental disagreements in foreign policy on Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. It shows the maximum pressure policy on Iran reached its limit. It also shows the age of the War on Terror is finally closing to an end.

Since September 11, 2001, we have been living in the era of War on Terror. The war was fought most intensely in the Middle East, but it had a global reach and affected life even in the distant East Asia.

The drone was one of the most advanced and expensive high-tech weapons when the US chased Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan. Now drones are cheap commodity made in China sold for less than $ 50. The tremendous amount of money and effort poured into the War on Terror greatly changed life on Earth, for better or worse.

Mr. Bolton was an icon in the War on Terror era for his automatic application of military options and regime change for any unpleasant rivals of the United States. His simplistic prescription to “bomb them” to solve longstanding and complicated issues was almost a caricature which captures the predominant aspect of our life in the age of War on Terror.

But the most difficult target for hardliners is the Iranian regime which has proven to be resilient having survivied sanctions and hostilities by the United States for four decades. Regime change of Iran by means of sanctions and missiles has long been a marginal opinion even among the US republicans and never been fully accepted as a foreign policy by any US administrations. But Trump embraced Bolton deep into the US administration. Then Mr. Bolton almost led the United States and the world on the brink of war with Iran before Trump turned away and ousted him.

On September 11, when the news of Bolton’s resignation was widely circulated throughout the world, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s leader from a hiding place, cried for Jihad in Kashmir against India, without being heard by many.

Terrorism may continue to thrive for some places for some reasons, but the War on Terror will soon be no longer the primary issue of global politics. The ouster of John Bolton symbolizes the closing of the mind of the War on Terror.