Chapter

Barbarians at the gates

Steven Kettell

in New Labour and the New World Order

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719081361
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702499 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719081361.003.0003
Barbarians at the gates

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The onset of the war on terror was shaped by both long-term and immediate factors. In the first of these, the geo-strategic dynamics of Cold War rivalry in the Middle East helped to create the conditions for the globally oriented threat of radical Islamic terrorism. The second series of factors centred on the particular characteristics of the U.S. and British governments during the early years of the twenty-first century. In the former, a Republican administration headed by George W. Bush sought to capitalise on the position of the United States as the sole remaining superpower by launching an expansionary project of global re-ordering following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. In the latter, a New Labour government anxious to elevate the influence of the British state on the world stage provided a ready source of political and military support for this endeavour. The ramifications, involving an invasion of Afghanistan, the adoption of extra-legal practices, and restrictions on civil liberties in the name of national security, would dominate international and domestic politics for the rest of the decade.

Keywords: war on terror; Britain; United States; terrorism; Afghanistan; extra-legal practices; civil liberties; national security; Cold War; New Labour

Chapter.  9205 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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