"Global Agenda 2002"

Writing Assignment #1H


Due: Wednesday, February 20

Imagine yourself the National Security Adviser for a new U.S. President. His election campaign was almost exclusively devoted to domestic issues. He has a reputation for little knowledge about foreign affairs, and has never given a speech on terrorism.
  • An unthinkable act of terrorism strikes the United States, causing thousands of casualties and suddenly dominating news media coverage and the world's attention.

    The new President summons you to the oval office, barraging you with questions: "Why did this happen? Who would do this to us? How should we respond? I want answers &endash; NOW!"

    You realize the President needs to be brought up to speed quickly with a concise primer on international terrorism.

    Using resources available on the Global Agenda web site, and others you find, write a 4-5 page briefing memo addressed to the President. You can't dwell on past history. Nor is the President going to sit still for a list of every terrorist incident which has occurred. But the President does need to know something of the background of international terrorism before he answers questions from the news media at a press conference in just three hours.

    You decide to answer these questions &endash; and others you might add &endash; in your memo:

  • Is the current incident part of a global trend in terrorism?
  • What are some of the motivations for terrorists to strike at the United States?
  • Are the terrorists likely to be "loners" or part of a larger group? If a group, where is it? How and from whom does it get its support?
  • Did the United States have anything to do with terrorists like these? (Could the President be embarrassed by any such revelations?)


    Alternative writing form: If you wish, you may write your paper as a "transcript" of the conversation you have with the President in the oval office, in which you answer his barrage of questions.

    Things to remember:

  • This is a course about international terrorism
  • You must cite your sources in a bibliography.