Tuesday, September 12, 2006

9/11, Foreign Policy & The "War on Terrorism"

With the remembrance of the devestating events of 11 September (9/11) yesterday, there have been some political reminders of "the war on terrorism" and the implied need to continue the physical war in Afghanistan and Iraq by US President George W Bush and the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard.

This posting does not take sides on whether the military intervention is justified, or not. However, there are some questions that ought to be asked:
  • is a physical war on a an idea possible? How CAN one fight a war against ideas with tanks and bullets?
  • Why are countries such as the USA, Britain, Australia targets of muslim terrorist groups, but Finland, Switzerland and others are not?
  • George W Bush's reign as US President has seen a concerted push for democracy in the Middle East. John Howard followed: he wanted a "free trade" aggreement with the US, among other things. But why have some countries been targeted for democracy, but not others? Saudia Arabia, and Jordan are examples, and are supported by the US.
  • Why has foreign policy of some (major) Western countries been inconsistent in their approach to different countries in the Middle East??
  • Is there a "root cause" of disconent in the Middle East? Did the historical creation and forced maintenance of some Middle-Eastern countries, by "the West", contribute to the rise of terrorism against the West? Iraq was created after WWI, and kept together by military action by Britain. Keeping Iraq together has always benn about access to oil! Kuwait and Israel are also creations of the West.
  • How can we overcome centuries of violence between groups such as Kurds, and Shiite and Sunni Muslims? Bringing them to a "table" at gunpoint won't help.
Perhaps the root problem is/has been the inconsistencies and selfish politically-driven foreign policy of some Western countries towards the people of some Middle Eastern countries.

Certainly, we must work with the governments of all countries to help find and deter those who would would inflict violence upon our society. (Aside: are there any Middle-Eastern countries that feel the same way ... about us?) It might also be that a radical shift in the foreign policies of "the Coalition of the Willing" is needed to start to overcome the concept of terrorism against us.

People from Middle Easter countries, particular religious and ethnic groups also need to consider that "the West", per se, is NOT the devil incarnate; that leaders who preach suicide, but don't practise it, are charlartans who should not be trusted with their lives, or the lives of their sons and daughters.

The Analyst