Despite the deaths of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, the threat of institutionalized terror by anti-American regimes is still very much at large. Dr. Thomas Henriksen, in his book America and the Rogue States, explains the emergence of these terrorist states and how the U.S. should deal with them.
“There was a lot of terrorism in the 1960s and 1970s,” Henriksen said during his Wednesday lecture at the Heritage Foundation. “The United States Congress mandated that the State Department in 1979 issue an annual report on terrorist states, and that’s where we get the idea of terrorist states.”
A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Henriksen explained the four elements that comprise a terrorist state, which include engagement in terrorism, rule by dictatorship, outlier tendencies, and weapons of mass destruction manufacturing. He described the principal states that meet these requirements (pre-invasion Iraq, Iran, and North Korea) and also touched on what he considered to be lesser rogue states (Cuba, Libya, Sudan, Syria).
“Dictators think that democracies will never fight, and democracies make the mistake [of believing] that dictators can be cowed or appeased,” Dr. Henriksen said, noting the ostensible inability of the U.S. to learn from past failures in dealing with terrorist states. He also criticized both the Clinton White House for never putting Afghanistan on the terrorist listing and the Bush administration for removing North Korea from the report. Henrickson is also a senior fellow at the U. S. Joint Special Operations University.
Rogue states, though transient, are beginning to emerge more rapidly because of power struggles within countries such as China. When confronting the problems posed by these surfacing regimes, it is important to learn from history, as rogue states have been in existence since the classical era. If there is one thing that history has taught us, it is that sanctions do not lead to change. Only through strong military deterrence can the United States effectively quell the terrorist threat to democracy.
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