The American National Interest magazine said that despite all the talk about the US’s shifting focus away from the anti-terrorism files and its focus on competing with the great powers, chief among them China, the truth is that if there is a little strategic planning, both things It reinforces the other, not excludes it.
The magazine stated – in an analysis by Matthew Levitt, a researcher in security affairs and counter terrorism at the Washington Institute – that the administration of US President Joe Biden, in reviewing the current counte rterrorism policies, must do its utmost to look at the fight against terrorism and great-power competition not from a bilateral perspective of victory or Defeat, but rather as a continuous endeavor that uses military and soft means to compete and disrupt terrorist plots.
Levitt believes, based on a study he prepared last March entitled “Rethinking America’s Efforts on Combating Terrorism: Toward a Sustainable Plan Two Decades after September 11,” that Washington will remain, in accordance with this duality, to play crucial roles in fighting terrorism militarily, whether By taking the lead in situations where the nation or American interests abroad are threatened, or by supporting efforts led by allies across the world.
However, such decisions must be taken according to a strategic perspective and based on the availability of a set of circumstances in which US military assets can be deployed abroad in small numbers and for limited periods of time, or through rapid reaction forces that perform command and logistical support functions.
This may include, for example, potential threats to the US homeland and low-cost counter terrorism opportunities that are highly rewarding, or situations where refusal to participate in counter terrorism efforts may lead to high costs in the context of competition with great powers.
Small counter terrorism missions in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and on the African continent, which are hotspots and arenas for power struggles, may also be necessary to prevent terrorist groups from controlling territory or planning attacks from “safe havens.”
But these deployments – Levitt adds – should not include missions led by the United States. Instead, it is possible to support Allied-led initiatives such as “Operation Barkhane” led by France in the Sahel region, or in Iraq where NATO has announced plans To increase its military deployment from 500 to 4,000 soldiers and expand its training mission beyond Baghdad.
The same applies to Afghanistan as the US military begins its gradual withdrawal, as the Kabul government is likely to seek material support from the United States to maintain Western contractors who perform multiple roles there, including security tasks.
Levitt concludes by saying that while the Biden administration is working to put the last touches on the interim national security strategic direction report, it is better to realize very well that the intertwining between counterterrorism goals and global competition with great powers is a given that offers more opportunities than challenges.