How should the U.S. proceed against stateless terrorists in the interest of not only its own security but world peace and stability?

The Virtual Editorials - E4 (May 29, 2005) - Dennis Foster

Introduction:  Here is a topic that pushed us well beyond our local perspective.  It offered me a welcome chance to opine on the bigger picture, even though there is no local consequence.  As was the case in many of these editorials, the phrasing of the topic question usually implied some "fact not in evidence" to quote Perry Mason.  In this case, and as my comments note, the phrase "stateless terrorism" is practically an oxymoron.  Timothy McVeigh may be called a stateless terrorist.  Likewise, the members of the Symbionese Liberation Army.  But, the radical Islamist terrorists we face today are hardly stateless.

Virtual Editorial #4

     Most of what we call terrorism is not “stateless.”  The money and organization involved in terror networks require the tolerance, or support, of some state.

     We should punish, terminally, individuals engaged in terrorism and states that support them.   But, for years, our response to terrorist activity has been weak and ineffective (e.g., Pan Am 103).

     President Bush’s policy of taking the battle to Afghanistan and Iraq was a surprise to me – a pleasant one.  The events of 9/11 galvanized us into being more proactive and has given us a chance to do some good.  Soon enough, the political will to continue this fight will dissipate.  It is the nature of history.

     World peace and stability may serve our immediate interests, but who really wants the stability of dictators (e.g., Robert Mugabe) or the peace of totalitarian control (e.g., Kim Jong-il)?  What we want is a world that is characterized by freedom and liberty.  Our steps in that direction may be awkward, but I do not criticize the effort.

     Globalization is the key in the long-run.  While bad-mouthed by the lunatic fringe, the shrinking of the world through trade, which promotes mutual interdependence, will do more to promote the sustainable development of freedom than anything else we do.

Afterword:  I think that this editorial, despite the severe word limit, turned out quite well and drew together many different, but related, themes.  That I had the opportunity to include a homage to globalization left me quite pleased with the result.

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