The elephant in the room confronting ideology and armed groups
Borer, Doug A.
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Current U.S. policy in the GWOT is predicated on an implicit assumption-that all societies share a universal preference ordering based on materialist concerns. This thesis examines and contrasts this "rational-materialist" approach to its main rival of "cultural determinism" and finds both to be lacking. By exploring two empirical cases-the U.S. Patriot movement, and Al Qaeda-I develop an alternative approach that highlights the previously neglected impact of ideology on such movements. The results of this inductive analysis are then used to generate specific policy implications for the U.S.