Primary Primers: No matter who wins the Democratic primary, an end to ‘Forever War’ is unlikely

Since 2001, the US has been engaged in a global campaign of counterterrorism operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Tom Watts writes that if a Democrat is elected to the White House in 2020, the ‘Forever/Endless War’ is unlikely to end. As presidential candidates, both Barack Obama and Donald Trump pledged to change how transnational terrorist organisations were fought, but neither ended the global spread of US counterterrorism operations. 

  • This article is part of our Primary Primers series curated by Rob Ledger (Frankfurt Goethe University) and Peter Finn (Kingston University). Ahead of the 2020 election, this series explores key themes, ideas, concepts, procedures and events that shape, affect and define the US presidential primary process. If you are interested in contributing to the series contact Rob Ledger ( or Peter Finn (

Counterterrorism has ‘warped’ much of American foreign policy

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