American Statesman Calvin Coolidge
“Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil. Our great hope lies in developing what is good” – Calvin Coolidge I wish Calvin Coolidge was running for President today. In light of our current presidential-election circus, we are indesperate need for his statesman like approach which endeavors to reach the good in people as opposed to the insecurities; that are a result of a global menace, namely, terrorism. Our policy needs President Coolidge’s diplomatic vision versus certain demagogues who are “slavishly pandering to their selfishness and merchandising with the clamor of the hour.” As a first step, in order to reconstruct the United States (“U.
S.”) policy on how to deal with the terrorists, we must first explore how the majority of the Islamic world thinks of and treats terrorism, and how the U.S. can involve them internally to eradicate terrorism. At the core of the Islamic world thinking is that the terrorists are nothing more than criminals – and criminals exist in any society.
The manner in which a civilized society deals with criminals is what the U.S. needs to form a common bond with those Islamic states where terrorists find safe havens. As a matter of U.S.
policy, we need to support the Islamic states with strengthening not only democratic values, but also providing them with the tools of apprehending and suffocating the channels which the terrorist criminals have been using so far. However, the challenge in combating terrorism is in the fact that it is not static. The kind of policy and strategy that is pursued to end terrorism has to be based on an accurate understanding of this terrible tactic of achieving political end goals. It is no doubt that the recent terror attacks have sprung from the Arab-Islamic world. However, terrorism is not exclusive to that region.
Not too long ago, the hostage-taking terror attack in Belsan, Russia, left over three hundred people dead, predominantly children. This was a result of two weeks that witnessed over five hundred people killed in terror attacks in Russia, including two downed commercial planes and a subway bombing in Moscow. There have been recent small-scale terror attacks in places like South America and Europe. Terrorism has to be fought in the political, social and economic arenas and not primarily in the military realm. A successful example is the British experience in Northern Ireland where an intelligent and politically engaging strategy effectively ended terror that in contrast could not be achieved solely by the military or the police.
The Islamic world needs to be engaged in apprehending terrorists along with the U.S. military efforts. As a matter of our foreign policy, we need to deliver the message to Islamic states and ruling governments that apprehending terrorists and their message(s) is in their national interest. This has to be clarified from an economic, social, legal and political perspective that will lead to Islamic states adopting democratic and free market values. There is evidence of Islamic states’ commitment to make democracy a reality.
Several senior Iraqi politicians and officials have died simply because they have joined the new government and many remain steadfast despite daily assassination attempts. The model of working with regional governments has proven to yield effective results and serves U.S. foreign policy goals of combating terrorism. In addition to providing security to our nation and our assets around the world, the reality is that we will be better served and less likely to be attacked if we work with the Islamic states. As a policy goal, U.
S. should provide training to civil servants, government officials, policing agents and military units in administering a governance structure that can withstand dissention without chaos. Also, the U.S. should engage in the education sector at primary, secondary and post-secondary levels, and support media programs aimed at establishing a stronger civil society that encourages transparency and accountability of those in power. The task of eradicating terrorism and terror ideologies is a daunting one.
Certainly, no singular action or policy is capable of providing a conclusive end to this menace. It is in this realization that the U.S. policy on combating terrorism has to establish joint partnerships within the Islamic world. Furthermore, the states representing the Islamic world have to be engaged internally and regionally in apprehension and spread of terrorist doctrines. Clearly, the U.
S. policy on fighting terrorism must use globalization and technology to its advantage; and in the process enlighten the world with democratic values. The key to the challenge of controlling terrorism lies in strengthening social, economic, political and civil society structures within the Islamic world. Such an intelligent approach will not only eradicate the ideology of terrorism, it will awaken people to the establishment of a dialogue of how such a tactic, i.e. terrorism, ever gained popularity.