There was a general consensus that the United States was justified in invading Afghanistan which was a consequence of the terror acts committed against the United States, her citizens and her national interest. However, against the better judgment of the international community and a sizeable number of the American public, President George Bush invaded Iraq, deposed and sent President Saddam Hussein into hiding.
Ever since, the world has not been the same again. There is a noticeable shift in international paradigms; and there is also a rearrangement – on the friendship list – as to who is considered an ally, a foe, a member of old-Europe, or a member of the “axis of evil.” And not since the collapse of communism and the fall of the Soviet Union have the world witnessed so much uncertainty and apprehension.
The seed of terrorism against the West, and especially against the United States was planted a long time ago mostly by some of the foreign policy objectives of this country; just that it is now beginning to germinate. No one who has ever partaken in international relations as a study or practice could be blind or deaf to some of the policies pursued by the USA through the Central Intelligence Organization (CIA), through the State Department, or though other arms of the US government. Some countries in the Western Hemisphere, North Africa and Asia still suffer from the lingering effects of America’s escapades vis-à-vis covert paramilitary actions and or support for sinfully autocratic regimes.
What about the ongoing events in the Middle East (between the Palestinians and the Israelis)? No matter how one dice or slice it the United States, over all, has never been fair in her handling of the crisis (which is a source of great consternation and annoyance among many observers). I am of the opinion that if America is able to solve, or at least manage (impartially) the Palestinian-Israeli crisis that that would help portray America in a different light — and by extension take out some of the venom in the rhetoric of the fundamentalists. This rhetoric encourages and fan deadly acts against the United States and her global interest.
However, these poisonous growth, rhetoric and deadly acts could have been stunted if the current White House had been patient and had the sense to work within the framework of the United Nations. In the end, President Bush still could have achieved his ultimate objectives without these unnecessary heart-wrenching pains we see on TV and read in the newspapers. It is quite unfortunate that no one was able to impress it upon Mr. Bush that when it is all said and done – in international affairs at least – diplomacy beats military-based solutions ninety-nine-percent of the time.
The genie is out of the box now and so there is very little the US can do to curtail the yearning and determination of those who have promised and vowed to spill the blood of Americans. The only thing left for the US is to take the fight to the homes and neighborhood of her enemies. To retreat would be scandalous, sacrilegious and suicidal; and that in my view, would be the first backward step for America until it fades away like all other empires before her. Britain stopped being Great Britain when she was unable to hold her own end of the stick during the Second World War. Should America retreat from this war – it would be the beginning of the end of her preeminence. And America’s preeminence, by and large, has been good for the world.
Mr. Lee Yew, the retired President of Singapore, was right in his assessment when he told Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek International: “You must see it through…It is related to the larger struggle…If you walk away from Iraq, the jihadis will follow you wherever you go…” Unfortunately, the Jihadist will never stop inside America’s border; they will go after anyone and any country that refuses or challenges their brand of philosophy.
If the United States give in; who is going to be next? Nigeria? South Africa? Canada? The Scandinavian countries? It is for these and other reasons that the West must unite and fight this battle. Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney should swallow their pride, make up with Mr. Powell and start this process afresh and visit with “old Europe.” This is not the time for both sides of the Atlantic to quarrel; this is no the time for the idealist and the realists to clash; this is not a fight over theoretical approaches or shifting paradigms; and this certainly is not a turf war. This is bigger than any single individual, administration, or country.
The rest of the world – Africans, Latin Americans and others must also contribute to this war because it is a war with global repercussion. America deserves all the help she can get. Yes, she does! Even so I would advise President Bush put aside his hubris and unilateralist tendencies for the sake of the country and for all those who want to come on board.
The dominant feeling in Third World countries is that “Against the better judgment of the world America created this mess — let them clean it up.” It shouldn’t be so. Over the years, America has been good and kind to the world; over the years America have had to clean up other people’s mess. Therefore, in times like this, the world should reciprocate and join — hand in hand — to clean up this mess.
I believe this war on terrorism can be won. By that I mean it can be successfully managed. When the world becomes safer it would be to the benefit of the global community. Therefore, getting involved and supporting the US is the price we must pay for a safer world.
The world has been a free-rider for too long on the back and shoulders of the United States. This is the time to pay back all the debt we owe the United States and the good citizens of this country. America deserves our help!
Sabella Ogbobode Abidde: Norman, Oklahoma