New Challenges to US Hegemony: China and the Muslim World

  • Robert J. Jackson
  • Philip Towle


International relations are in some ways like a pentathlon in which competitors can rival each other in different types of events. The United States predominates in almost every competition from finance to air power, from diplomatic influence to nuclear weapons, and from its all-pervasive media to its ubiquitous warships. Of course it has weaknesses; as explained elsewhere in this book, its armed forces have never excelled at counter-insurgency and its constant budget and balance of payments deficits make it dependent on foreign investors. But, unlike the participants in the pentathlon, states and other agents do not have to compete in every event; they can pick the game at which they are most adept. It was not surprising that al-Qaeda challenged the United States by using terrorism; this is the one area where an actor, however weak, can attack a hated enemy, however strong.1 In retrospect what is more surprising is that only rarely has an insurgent movement struggling against a Western state resorted to attacks on the latter’s homeland. Upton Close from the University of Washington noted in 1926: ‘there is not the bud, thus far, of an offensive against the white man in his own countries’. And there were only isolated incidents over subsequent decades. For example, Uddham Singh hunted down the British officer he held responsible for the massacre of 379 Indians at Amritsar in 1919 and murdered him at a public meeting in London in 1940. Singh is still a hero to many in South Asia but his example has rarely been followed.2 The publicity given to 9/11 will ensure that changes.


Terrorist Attack Democratic Progressive Party Bush Administration Muslim Country Muslim World 
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Copyright information

© Robert J. Jackson and Philip Towle 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Jackson
    • 1
  • Philip Towle
    • 2
  1. 1.University of RedlandsUSA
  2. 2.Centre of International StudiesCambridge UniversityUK

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