By David Holloway
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Additional resources for 9 11 and the War on Terror (Representing American Events) (2008)
Afﬁrmative empire revisionism’s analysis of the potential for imperial decline sometimes also revealed the elitist, class-based perspectives of its leading exponents. In a twist on Ignatieff’s argument that the real threat to the empire came from the electorate’s lack of moral ﬁbre (see also Krauthammer 2004a, 2004b), Ferguson and Lal identiﬁed the danger of overstretch not in the ‘laudable and attainable’ (Ferguson 2004: 28) goals of American political elites, but in the competing costs of the welfare state.
9/11, Ignatieff said, ‘pitched the Islamic world into the beginning of a long and bloody struggle to determine how it will be ruled and by whom: the authoritarians, the Islamists or perhaps the democrats’. The US, he cautioned, ‘can help repress and contain the struggle, but even though its own security depends on the outcome, it cannot ultimately control it’ (Ignatieff 2003a). 2 Politics ‘Crisis’ in the Republic. The Unitary Executive, the Bush Doctrine and Adversarial Review One of the more dramatic political spectacles of the early war on terror was provided by the president’s anti-terrorism ‘czar’, Richard A.
Cut the head off the snake, the theory ran, and apostate regimes that depended for their survival on American support would perish, along with Israel. For Scheuer, bin Laden’s historical signiﬁcance lay partly in his successful lobbying for a shift from targeting apostate governments (reﬂecting a Koranic requirement to tackle the ‘near-enemy’ ﬁrst should Islam be attacked) to an ‘America-ﬁrst’ strategy. The switch to an ‘America-ﬁrst’ strategy was achieved only after considerable internal debate (Scheuer called it a ‘struggle’ [Anonymous 2002: 169]) within key Islamist organisations, notably so in the inﬂuential Egyptian groups Al-Gama’at Al-Islamiyah (IG), the largest Islamist group in Egypt, and Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), a smaller group that evolved from IG in the late 1960s and was indivisible from al-Qaeda in the post9/11 period.