Author(s)Kunkler, Michael P.
Contributor(s)MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
KeywordsGovernment and Political Science
Sociology and Law
*JOINT MILITARY ACTIVITIES
*UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
*CENTER OF GRAVITY
*INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL WILL
CLAUSEWITZ CARL VON
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AbstractTotalitarian Islamist Groups have determined that the United States' center of gravity is the international political will of allied nations, and they have created a strategy to attack it. The 2004 bombings in Madrid, Spain marked a milestone in totalitarian Islamist strategy. This attack, which occurred days before a pivotal election between parties for and against participation in the Iraqi War, resulted in a surprising victory for the anti-war party and a hasty departure of Spanish forces. This single incident also sparked the withdrawal of military forces from three other countries. The terrorists' strategy of breaking apart a U.S.-led coalition does more than remove allied military forces; it attacks directly at the United States' center of gravity in foreign operations: international political will. The success of this strategy, and its effects on the cohesiveness of U.S.-led coalitions against totalitarian Islamists, was a serious blow to the moral legitimacy of U.S. foreign policy. The Madrid bombings and other examples of threats and coercion against U.S. allies calls into question the strategic value the United States places on coalition maintenance. Although the totalitarian Islamists have found success in their strategy of weakening U.S.-led coalitions, their efforts have been equally unsuccessful in breaking allied will. Overall, totalitarian Islamist Groups have enjoyed mixed success in removing U.S.-allies from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.