September 11 - The Coalition Against Terrorism: Uncertain allies

The coalition against terrorism, if by that is meant an alliance between states to combat attacks like those on the United States, coming from the same source or a similar one, is a strange creature.

The World Today Published 1 August 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 4 minute READ

Ian Bellany

Lecturer in politics and international relations department, Lancaster University

It is not at all clear why Washington should have any interest in assembling such an alliance, nor why any other state should be interested in joining it.

One classical reason for any alliance is capability. A large threat, like that represented by the old Soviet Union during the Cold War or Napoleonic France, may need a critical mass of states in coalition to counter it. This cannot be said of the terrorist threat.

It seems very unlikely that additional warlike and economic resources above and beyond those already possessed by the US could make any difference, or sufficient difference, to compensate Washington for having to share its counterterrorist planning with other states.

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