The UK Prime Minister today described Islamic State (IS) as ‘an existential threat’ to the Western World and the fight against them the ‘struggle of our generation.’ Here, Professor Bill Durodié, Chair of International Relations within the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, responds.
'In the aftermath of the attacks in Tunisia last week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has presented the challenge posed by IS as a generational struggle, likening it to the fight against communism.
'He may be right to propose 'a battle of our values and our narrative against their values and their narrative', but, in the 15 years since 9/11 the emphasis has always been on the latter rather than the former.
'Successive British governments have found it particularly hard to identify and define their values and narrative, preferring to take these as assumed rather than engaging and inspiring others through a clear articulation of them.
'A former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Sir Richard Dearlove, was also on the record recently suggesting that part of the problem was in fact a loss of proportionality with respect to the Cold War which, at its peak, never engaged so-many resources as we see now in relation to the war on terror. That too may indicate how it is easier to state what we are against rather than arguing and acting in support of what we are for as a nation.'
- Professor Bill Durodié
Professor Durodié has highlighted the absence of a domestic narrative in the war on terror for over a decade. For more see http://www.debatingmatters.com/globaluncertainties/opinion/a_narrative_of_our_own/.