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[Opinion] What the U.S. Has to Keep in Mind

Posted September. 29, 2001 08:43,   


The U.S. revealed his new plan for `a new war` that pursues the terrorists selectively instead of a massive military operation against Afghanistan. The U.S. seems to be recovering from the shock of the terrorist attack. Wars in modern times tend to be blitz warfare with high-tech weapons. The Middle East War in 1968 ended in 6 days and the Gulf war took about 40 days for actual engagements. However, the war on terrorism of the U.S. will not be such blitz warfare and therefore there will be no D-day as in the Normandy Landing Operation. The U.S. is to blockade every way out so that the terrorist could not survive, smoking them out of the `rabbit hole` A long and tedious operation to purse the terrorists is anticipated. Even though there will be no bomb roaring like in the Gulf war, but the combats with the terrorists will continue around the world.

The pressure of the international society seems to affect the change of the U.S. strategy to a long-term operation. Even the U.S. press began criticizing that the U.S. attack with the aid of 60 countries against Afghanistan may only vent out its anger by devastating the poorest land in the world after long internal conflicts, the land of the people who are totally exhausted. Who will support the war if the terrorists ran away deep into the mountains and the poor people of Afghanistan are the only victims of the war.

The problem is the method of the `new war`. The U.S. needs to obtain the justification of the war on terrorism. The war has to be the one that is persuasive. The U.S. has emphasized that this war is to preserve freedom, justice, and democratic society. However, what is freedom and justice? Many ethnic minorities, separatists, nationalists are fighting for their independence and autonomy all around the world. For them, the survival is the primary concern rather than freedom and justice. Therefore, they are often obliged to be a heresy of the modern society, the terrorist.

However, it would be a big mistake to think them, the Chechen nationalists in Russia, Muslims of the Uighurs autonomous district in China, the Northern Ireland Forces, the Kurd in Turkey, Kashmir separatists in India, and the Tamil forces in Sri Lanka, as terrorists. The target of the U.S. war has to be limited to the evil organizations that destroy the civilizations of human being and threaten the peace of the world. However, the criteria are in fact very obscure because of the various canons of each nation according to their interests. The U.S. has to always keep in mind the fact that the innocent ethnic minorities and nationalists could be regarded as terrorists while it is engaged in the negotiation and compromises with the nations for the anti-terrorist operation. The U.S. must make sure of avoiding that there would be no unexpected innocent victims.

The U.S. obligated the world a dualistic decision to make ``either to stand for the U.S. or the terrorists.`` It is fully understandable the rage of the U.S. and hate against the terrorists who had taken over 6000 innocent citizens. However, the obligation of a dualistic decision that ignores the independent judgment and decision definitely originates in the U.S.`s arrogance and self-complacency. Any independent nation will be repulsed to the obligation of a dualistic decision. The U.S. won`t obtain the international support with its unilateral way of thinking.

There will be no other country that dares to challenge the U.S. military power. Russia has lost its competence against the U.S. and the potential competitor is now busy of reconstructing its own country. Furthermore, the United Kingdom, France, German, and Japan acknowledges and supports the position of the U.S. Therefore, some are likely to call the 21st century as the era of Pax Americana.

However, the power of the U.S. is definitely not unlimited. The international opinion serves often as power as much as the U.S. The U.S. needs to gain the international support in order not to bog down deeper into the mud on its way to pursue the terrorists.

Nam Chan-Soon (Editorial writer)

Nam Chan-Soon chansoon@donga.com