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England, France, and Germany Hesitate

Posted September. 17, 2001 08:22,   


The international society has generally supported the response of the United States that declared a war against the terrorism in order to retaliate the terrorist`s suicidal attacks.

While the U.S. singled out Osama bin Laden as a `prime suspect` in the terrorist`s attacks, there are the opposing opinions about the military action against Afghanistan that protects bin Laden. While some countries decided to participate in the retaliation, others are requiring a more prudent response against the terrorism.

Those opposing to the military action maintain that ▼the investigation has not done yet to clearly identify the suspects, ▼the military action is not expected to clearly wipe out the terrorism, but to cause the vicious circle of retaliation, and ▼each country has a different interest according to the relationship with bin Laden and Afghanistan, and geopolitical position.

▼ The U.S. allies including NATO members

England and Australia decided to dispatch the troops, pledging the strong military retaliation against the terrorist attacks. The 6 UK Naval Vessels are heading toward the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal of Egypt. Australia decided to dispatch the troops based on Article 4 (Mutual Military Aid) of the Security Treaty Between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America (ANZUS). The treaty was for the first time put in action since the treaty was agreed.

However, most European countries among NATO allies called for cautions in response against the terrorism.

German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping said even if NATO invoked its mutual defense clause, Germany would not automatically participate in the U.S. military action for the retaliation against the terrorist attacks. The decisions about German participation in possible U.S. military action would be made next week.

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said, ``We are not at war against Islam or the Arab-Muslim world.`` And Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine expressed the worries about the aftermath of unified military action, saying ``The inappropriate response to the terrorist attacks may cause the clashes of the civilizations.``

While NATO allies are reviewing to invoke the Article 5 (declares an `armed attack` on any member to be an attack on all), they would not lash out blindly at other countries, and declared that they would decide prudently according the request of the United States.

Meanwhile, India decided on the military support in the U.S. response to the terrorism, and Philippines plan to allow the U.S. troops to use the Clark Air Base the Subic Naval Base. Most South American countries stand with the United States in retaliatory action, and Argentina and Paraguay are reviewing the dispatch of the troops.

▼ China and Russia

Russia defined the terrorists as `a common enemy`, and decided to closely cooperate with the United States, offering the information about Taliban. However, Russia will not participate in the military action, and opposes to use the Central Asian countries as a military base to attack Afghanistan. Russia refused to join a U.S. retaliatory strike because it is worried about the possible Islamic terrorist attacks in Russia by instigating Taliban, who has supported Chechnya where Moscow is fighting a separatist rebellion.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin said, ``Last Tuesday`s terrorist attacks were the challenge against the world people hoping for the world peace. China will cooperate with the United States and the international society against terrorism.``

▼Arab-Muslim Area

The U.S. State Secretary Colin Powell has made a phone call to the leaders of the Arab countries in order to request for their cooperation, because it is necessary to isolate Afghanistan from the Arab-Muslim world prior to a military strike.

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are considering the military aid in a retaliatory war and the severance of the relations with Afghan Taliban. In spite of the uncomfortable relationship with the United States, Iran joined the anti-terrorism of the international society, having opposed to the prolonged ruling of Taliban. And Iran takes a neutral position toward the U.S. military action, and blocked the border to prevent the refugees. Turkey decided to provide the military aid, supporting the military base for the attacks.

Koo Ja-Ryong bonhong@donga.com