If former Enron boss Kenneth Lay were put in charge of the U.S. war on terrorism, he would probably conduct it much the same way his fellow Texas oilman and beneficiary of Enron largesse, George W. Bush, has.
Immediately after the September 11 attacks in New York, South Korean and U.S. forces went into a state of heightened security alert that the North claimed was “threatening,” leading Pyongyang to break off ongoing negotiations on family reunions that remain stalled even today. Despite this reversal in negotiations, North Korea reacted to September 11 by unilaterally moving to sign two UN antiterrorism treaties and later expressing its willingness to sign an additional five.
Peace is back on the agenda, if not yet on the horizon in Angola. With the death of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi and the state visit to Washington by Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, there is again a glimmer of hope that the country’s 27-year-long civil war may finally be coming to a real end. As Salih Booker, Director of Africa Action, puts it, “Savimbi’s death removes the principal obstacle to peace in that country. So long as he was alive, it seemed virtually impossible that Angolans would ever be able to conclude and implement a peace settlement. But his death does not automatically ensure that peace will follow.”
Somalia and the U.S. are apparently doomed by fate to collide at critical moments in global politics. The collision has never brought anything but trouble to both parties. We are about to crash into one another again, this time in an expanded war on terrorism.
In the past year and a half, we’ve heard George W. Bush talk about the need to move beyond the cold war paradigm of U.S. security policy. Specifically, Bush repeatedly discussed reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal to “the lowest possible number consistent with our national security” and taking these weapons off hair-trigger alert. In mid-November, Bush reiterated that position in meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying, “We are talking about reducing and destroying the number of warheads to get down to specific levels.”
It was a speech foretold. After being compelled to make the “Friend-or-foe” choice after the September 11 attacks, Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf in his policy address on January 12th set about redefining the role of religion in Pakistani society and its domestic and external politics, with a special reference to Kashmir and terrorism. Islam, he said, has been misused and the Pakistani people exploited in its name. The general condemned acts of terrorism and in particular September 11, October 1, and December 13–the last two dates are of suicide attacks in Srinagar the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir) and on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi.
The east African nation of Somalia is being mentioned with increasing frequency as a possible next target in the U.S.-led war against international terrorism. Somalia is a failed state–with what passes for the central government controlling little more than a section of the national capital of Mogadishu, a separatist government in the north, and rival warlords and clan leaders controlling most the remainder of the country. U.S. officials believe that cells of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network may have taken advantage of the absence of governmental authority to set up operation.
As the endgame nears in the fighting in Afghanistan, with Taliban power collapsed and Al-Qaeda members dead or on the run, it is tempting to believe that military success has decided the outcome of the war on terrorism. The Bush administration has already made it clear that it has limited interest in the long and arduous task of rebuilding Afghanistan. But Washington decisionmakers may want to heed this advice from a senior U.S. military officer and statesman from an earlier era, General George C. Marshall. In outlining the so-called Marshall Plan to rebuild a war-ravaged Europe on June 5, 1947, he warned that there could be “no political stability and no assured peace” without economic security. Europe, much like Afghanistan today, was torn by war, poverty, disease, and hunger, and risked “disturbances arising as a result of the desperation of the people,” and thus deserved American attention and funds to recover and rejoin the world community.
U.S. envoy to the Middle East, retired marine general Anthony Zinni’s announcement of his decision to end his cease-fire mission, following his meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adds yet another blunder to the numerous failed attempts by the U.S. to act as a genuine peace broker between Palestinians and Israelis.
Are Palestinians Human? by Sam and Leila Bahour December 5, 2001