You cannot have a successful war on terrorism — one against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida maybe, or one possibly on Iraq, but not on terrorism.
Terrorism acts will never be eliminated because they are fueled by ideology, and no ideology can be removed completely. One country cannot force people in other countries to respect them. Yes, a country can bully, threaten and intimidate other countries, like the United States is doing right now, but to actually think a nation can demand real respect is ridiculous.
This war is not about respect in general but making others respect the United States. In fact, it’s not even a war on terrorism — it’s a war to make the point that America cannot be terrorized. It would be interesting to see how involved the United States would be if it were another country waging this war.
It seems that throughout history America has set the precedent that one country’s interest is not another’s. Although the United States has often served as the intermediary between several countries, there has been little concern for the overall well-being of all people.
President Bush has now flipped the script. He has made it very clear to countries across the world that they are either against or for terrorism. He said there is no neutrality in the matter — simply other countries are either for us or against us.
I would love to see any country, ally or not, tell Americans that they have to take action on an issue whether they want to or not. It won’t happen, though. As countries on all fronts continue to bend over backward just to please the United States, the United States continues to issue threats to the same countries they label allies.
And at this point, it doesn’t matter how many foreign leaders say they support the war on terrorism. Many citizens in these same countries still have contempt for America. There is only so much that can be done to prevent these everyday people from advancing to more radical means of showing this hatred.
Maybe the United States can scare terrorists for a while, but for how long? What about the bold up-and-coming terrorists who will find new and better ways to attack?
Intimidation only lasts so long. If it were so effective, with the United States’ history of doing it, they wouldn’t be in war now anyway.
Terrorists and plenty of regular civilian people from other countries are driven by their hate for self-made police and authoritative countries, the United States clearly being the prime example. A country can take measures to avoid attacks, but there is no way to combat these feelings.
I know Americans are angry about Sept. 11, 2001, and want some action against terrorism, but this war isn’t going to get the desired results. The real goals of this war are still unclear. Maybe I haven’t followed war coverage enough, but maybe there just hasn’t been good clarification.
Who are they targeting exactly — bin Laden, al-Qaida or all terrorist organizations? If disintegrating all terrorist organizations is the goal, as I understand it, when will the war end? How can it ever end? How is it possible to fight every terrorist and predict every attack? Aren’t top officials at intelligence agencies being chastised right now because they couldn’t?
These inquiries have been addressed vaguely but not satisfactorily. This war is too broad, ignoring the real issue — exactly why the United States is loathed so much in the first place.
As Obama comes in the scene, American foreign policy can be a lot more effective if the new administration analyzes this problem more instead of jumping into war every time it feels threatened.