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1.1 Background Information
Foreign policy is the aspect of national policy that pertains to the external environment and
involves the enunciation of principles and also indicates a country’s positions on major
international issues. It is concerned with the substance and conduct of external relations (Unaji
F.N 2007:71). The aim of foreign policy is to ensure that states or international organizations
maintain existing patterns of behavior, if the influencing state perceives such as contributing to
the attainment of its own objective. It may also be to alter the prevailing pattern by initiating a
new set of policies or by altering or halting the implementation of existing ones.
The instruments of foreign policy according to the National Open University‘s School of Arts
and Social Sciences (2007) are: Diplomacy, Economic Instruments, Psychological Instrument of
Propaganda, Military Weapon/Instrument, Cultural Instrument, Imperialism and Colonialism and
War. States all over the international system have been known to take up each of these foreign
policy instruments at different times and occasions when interacting with other states. These
instruments are an important aspect of international relations as a discipline. For the sake of this
study, war as an instrument of foreign policy is the only instrument that shall be examined
War is as old as mankind (Harrison 1973:70). War signifies confusion and discord. It is a species
of the genus of violence; more specifically, it is organized, collective, direct, manifest, personal,
intentional, institutionalized, instrumental, sanctioned and sometimes ritualized and regulated,
violence. Violence is what turns conflicts into war. The American perception of war defines war
as organized violence to achieve political ends while the Roman Empire approached war as a
legal condition defining the possible limits of organized violence (Steven M. Phillip G. 2011:2).
Today, ‗war‘ is used in many different ways, example, cold war, hot war, limited war, total war,
conventional war, unconventional war, civil war, guerilla war, preventive war, political warfare,
propaganda war, psychological warfare, race war, tribal war, gang war and so on. Communist
often use such terms as ‗imperialist war‘, ‗economic war‘, ‗trade war‘ and ‗wars of national
liberation‘ (Unaji F.N 2007:103). War is inherently a human endeavor and is however subject to
human imperfection (Eric J.S 2005:275).
States or groups go into war for various reasons. War is said to be violence conducted by human
organizations in order to secure human goals (Eric J.S 2005:275). It involves armed conflict
between two or more parties usually for political reasons. Most states resort to the use of war in
order to acquire more power, control over a territory, resources or put an end to security threats
against its state and its people. States go to war mainly for the security of its people especially in
the case of oppression. The main duty or aim of a state is to protect its people and that becomes a
part of its foreign policy. Security is the goal of war, and security is enhanced by political control
over people, territory, or resources (Eric J.S 2005:278). An example of the use of war over
sovereignty and territory can be seen in the actions of Arab and European imperialists and
colonizers of Africa who came armed with brutal force and thus put territories in a state of war
without formally declaring it. These states used violence to place their subjects in unpleasant
situations to gain and maintain political control over the people, territory and their resources.
War is an act of force to compel an enemy to do your will. States that resort to war do so
believing that the cost of violence is better than an unacceptable condition of peace. States resort
to force on cost/benefit analysis, asking themselves if the state will be better off in the future if it
resorts to force to get its way (Eric J.S 2005:277).
War is not only a method by which one state imposes its will on another, but war can also be a
vital component of creating a nation, driving its evolution (Steven M. Phillip C. 2011:10).
Participation in any war changes a nation just as much as it changes an individual. Wars are
fought by individuals but those individuals are fighting for something larger than themselves.
They fight for their state, society or groups. The individuals don‘t act alone; it is the states that
go to war. Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz described war as ―nothing but a duel on a larger
scale‖ (Eric J.S. 2005:275).
The U.S ―Global War on Terrorism‖, which was what led to the war declared on Afghanistan
over al Qaeda, is a major example of a state going into war to protect its people and its territory.
Terrorism is an act of violence. The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, was a traumatic event
for America and its citizens. It had both temporary and long-lasting effects on both the country
and its citizens. The worst effect is the belief that it could happen again. War makes anything
like normal existence impossible. It destroys and ruins lives. It imposes immense burden on
national economies and imperils the freedom of everyone. Conflicts based on terrorism do not
usually have a formal, recognized end point. This leaves a long distinction between war and
peace. An example of this is the ongoing war between the West and al Qaeda (Steven M. Phillip
C. 2011:3).
War on terror has become an instrument of the United States state policy and it is on this that the
identity of the United States is being shaped presently. Ever since the terrorist attack on the
United States on September 11 2001, the notion ―War on terror‖ has been the country‘s response
to any form of terrorist activity in any form. War as an instrument of foreign policy is then
mostly implemented when it concerns terrorism and the fight against terrorism.
War as an instrument of foreign policy is what this study focuses on and a vivid example of the
use of this instrument can be seen in the United States policy towards Afghanistan.
1.2 Statement of Problem
War itself is never a good result and brings about many problems. Ever since the U.S declared
war on Afghanistan in 2001, not only has Afghanistan suffered greatly but the citizens also, who
have been pulled into a life of fear, hunger, poverty, lack of infrastructure and great sorrow. This
thus leads to the question of whether whatever the U.S hopes to achieve by their actions can
justify the turmoil the Afghan citizens have been thrown into. Since the war started, attacks have
spread throughout many villages in Afghanistan, destroying many innocent civilians and their
properties in its way. It is true that the U.S is fighting a greater cause but a war that should have
been between the West and al Qaeda and Taliban has over the years caused a lot of harm to
Afghanistan as a state. Although the U.S has tried to put in effort towards the rebuilding and
democratization of Afghanistan, the problem remains on their choice of method, the effects it has
and whether or not the country which is one of the major powers in the international system has
set a good example for others to follow. From the start of the war in 2001 to the present, 2014,
both the U.S and its aids, Afghan United Front, British Special Forces, NATO, International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and Afghanistan and the Taliban have recorded high number
of deaths and despite this, the United States still has quite a number of troops in Afghanistan
today. The continued killing of innocent civilians therefore poses as a problem especially to the
international system which makes it necessary to look into the use of War as an instrument of
foreign policy.
1.3 Objectives of Study
The following are the statements of objectives for this study:
i) to understand the reason behind the United States resorting to War as its instrument of
foreign policy in Afghanistan;
ii) to evaluate the impact of US war on terror on Afghanistan;
iii) to examine the successes and failures of the use of war by the United States as an
instrument of foreign policy on Afghanistan.
1.4 Research Questions
The following are the research questions for this study:
i) what are the reasons behind the United States resorting to War as its instrument of
foreign policy in Afghanistan?
ii) what impact has the US war on terror made on Afghanistan?
iii) what are the successes and failures of the use of war by the United States as an
instrument of foreign policy on Afghanistan?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The hypothesis for this research is:
i) Ho- War as an instrument of Foreign Policy has been a failure in most countries.
H1- War as an instrument of Foreign Policy has been a success in most countries.
1.6 Significance of the Study
While the foreign policy decision of the U.S as regards Afghanistan was to eradicate terrorism,
the events that followed the attack on Afghanistan were more to a destructive end than a
constructive motive of putting an end to terrorism. This project is therefore important to the
study of international relations as it questions the effectiveness of war as an instrument of foreign
policy given its humanitarian challenges and the future of the international system if states refer
to violent means instead of peaceful means when pursuing their national interest. Many states in
the international system interact daily with other states and therefore adapt different kinds of
foreign policies. Researching on war therefore enlightens these states on the best possible way to
go about interacting with others without bringing great harm to the international system.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This project is limited to United States implementation of War as an Instrument of its Foreign
Policy in Afghanistan from 2001-2014.
1.8 Limitations to the Study
The main limitation to this study was the inability to get direct information from the main
sources; those directly affected or involved in the war. This is due to the fact that the United
States and Afghanistan are far way making it almost impossible to do so. I therefore had to rely
on secondary data which can sometimes be an unreliable source of information and as such
forms the basis for the second limitation to this study.
1.9 Organization of the Study
The project will be divided into five chapters. The first chapter will contain the background to
the study, statement of problem, objective of study, research questions, research hypothesis,
significance of study, scope of study, limitation of study, organization of study and definition of
terms. The second chapter is the literature review which includes the conceptual clarification and
theoretical framework. The third chapter will contain the methodology. The fourth chapter will
discuss the US-Afghan relations after 2001 looking into the US foreign policy and the war on
terrorism, U.S invasion of Afghanistan and an appraisal of the US war policy in Afghanistan.
The fifth chapter will include summary of findings, discussion, conclusion and
1.10 Definition of Terms
Foreign Policy
Foreign policy of a state entails the ideas or actions designed by policy makers to solve a
problem or promote some change in the policies, attitudes or actions of another state or non-state
actors in the international economy or in the physical environment of the world (KJ Holesh). It is
a set of rules or principles which govern how a state decides to interact with another state. It
involves strategies and tactics a state uses in achieving its national objectives in the international
system. No state is an island, therefore, states need to interact with each other and foreign policy
is the method in which a state chooses to do so.
Terrorism is defined by Title 22 of the U.S. Code as politically motivated violence perpetrated in
a clandestine manner against noncombatants. In simple terms it is a form of rebellion against a
certain government or state using violent acts to frighten the people in that area as a way of
trying to achieve a political goal. It is used to create a fearful state of mind in an audience from
its victims. Terrorism leads to the loss of lives, security, injury, illness and so on. An example of
terrorism can be seen in the activities of the al-Qaeda terrorist group and also the ISIS in Iraq and
War is organized continuous conflict. It is armed combat between political communities or units
using organized military force to achieve their national interest. It is a means by which groups
compete for control of resources against each other and attempt to influence the outcome in their
favor. War is a state of confusion, disorderliness, discord or strife and violence in order to
achieve political ends.


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