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06/24/2004

Prime Minister Goh on the War on Terror

**Switching servers this week...site could be down briefly...
Hott Spotts will return July 8**

Recently when I was in Singapore, that nation’s prime minister,
Goh Chok Tong, was in the U.S. for meetings with President
Bush and others. Singapore has been a superb ally in the war on
terror and as I wrote for my “Week in Review” column while I
was there, it plays a huge role in maintaining the flow of oil
through the vital Strait of Malacca.

Following are excerpts from a speech Prime Minister Goh gave
before the Council on Foreign Relations, May 6, 2004.

---

The terrorist attacks in Madrid in March this year could become
a turning point in the war against terrorism. Unless we make the
right moves, I fear the turn could be for the worst.

The choice of the target and the timing of the attack were
strategic. The Spanish Socialist party had made the withdrawal
of troops from Iraq part of its election platform. Attacking
Madrid just before the election was obviously calculated to
achieve a strategic effect; as indeed it did when the new
government so quickly confirmed its intention to pull out of the
U.S. led coalition in Iraq.

This will only encourage the terrorists to exploit political
differences within countries and divisions between the U.S. and
Europe. We must not let them succeed.

Any lingering doubts about the terrorists’ strategic intentions
should have been put to rest by a statement attributed to Osama
bin Laden in April wherein he offered a “truce” to Europe if it
stopped “attacking Muslims or interfering in their affairs
including [participating] in the American conspiracy.” And,
notwithstanding what some critics of the war in Iraq have
alleged, this statement also demonstrates that Osama bin Laden
himself sees the war in Iraq as part of the larger struggle against
terrorism. He pointedly said “the killing of Europeans came after
their invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

---

The threat stems from a religious ideology that is infused with an
implacable hostility to all secular governments, especially the
West, and in particular the U.S. Their followers want to recreate
the Islam of seventh century Arabia, which they regard as the
golden age. Their ultimate goal is to bring about a caliphate
linking all Muslim communities. Their means is jihad, which
they narrowly define as a holy war against all non-Muslims,
whom they call “infidels.”

The Arabs call this religious ideology ‘salafi.’ Our experience in
Southeast Asia is not without wider relevance because of what
the salafis themselves believe. This is what one of them, an
Algerian named Abu Ibrahim Mustafa, has said:

“The war in Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Algeria, in
Chechnya, and in the Philippines is one war. This is a war
between the camp of Islam and the camp of the Cross, to which
the Americans, the Zionists, Jews, their apostate allies, and
others belong. The goal of this war, which they falsely called a
war on terror, is to prevent the Muslims from establishing an
Islamic state ”

[Ed. note: Mustafa was killed by Algerian forces a few days
ago.]

---

From our experience in Southeast Asia, I draw three principal
conclusions that I believe have a wider relevance.

First, the goals of these terrorists make the struggle a zero sum
game for them. There is no room for compromise except as a
tactical expedient. America may be the main enemy, but it is not
the only one. What Osama bin Laden offered Europe was only a
“truce,” not a lasting peace. The war against terrorism today is a
war against a specific strain of militant Islamic terrorism that
wants, in effect, a “clash of civilizations” or, in the words of the
Algerian I earlier quoted, “a war between the camp of the Islam
and the camp of the Cross.”

The JI (Jemaah Islamiyah) has tried to create the conditions for
Christians and Muslims in Southeast Asia to set against one
another. In December 2000, it attacked churches in Indonesia,
including one church in an Indonesian island off Singapore. It
has sent its members to fight and stir up trouble in Ambon
against Christians. At the trial of those responsible for the Bali
bombing of October 2002, one of the defendants, Amrozi,
dubbed by the media as the “smiling terrorist,” said that he was
not sorry for the Westerners killed in the Bali attacks. He said,
“How can I feel sorry? I am very happy, because they attack
Muslims and are inhuman.” In fact, he wished “there were more
American casualties.” What was most chilling is that this hatred
is impersonal.

One of those we detained in Singapore was a service engineer
with an American company. He confessed that he actually liked
his American friends and bosses. He was nevertheless involved
in targeting American interests. We have a sense that he had
struggled with this. He eventually decided to testify against the
spiritual leader of JI, Abu Bakar Bashir, but only because he felt
betrayed by Bashir’s denial of the very existence of the JI
organization which Bashir headed and to whom he and other
members had sworn allegiance.

And just as Osama bin Laden is trying to drive a wedge between
Europe and America, in Southeast Asia, JI was plotting to do the
same thing by blowing up the pipelines that supply water from
Malaysia to Singapore. The JI knew that water from Malaysia is
a matter of life and death for Singapore. They knew that race
and religion have historically been the major fault lines within
and between both countries. The JI’s intention was to provoke a
conflict between Singapore and Malaysia and portray a “Chinese
Singapore” as threatening a “Muslim Malaysia,” and use the
ensuing confusion to try and overthrow the Malaysian
government and establish an Islamic state in Malaysia.

That particular plot failed. The governments of Singapore and
Malaysia could not have allowed it to succeed. We know only
too well what is at stake.

The favorite tactic of terrorists of all stripes has always been to
try to provoke a backlash to serve their cause. When news of the
JI arrests broke, my immediate concern was to maintain social
cohesion in Singapore. Singapore is a multi-racial society with a
15 percent Muslim population. They are well integrated in our
schools, housing estates and the workplace. Nevertheless,
misunderstandings could easily arise. We met with Muslim
leaders in a number of closed door sessions to share details of the
investigations and to explain that the arrests were not targeted
against the Singapore Muslim community or Islam.

---

But on a global plane, I sense that the beginnings of a backlash
may already be upon us. Antagonism against Muslims has risen
in Europe and the U.S. since 9/11. A number of senior European
politicians have spoken against admitting Muslim Turkey into
the EU. The municipal government of Rotterdam wants to
change the city’s racial profile and an all-party report to the
Dutch parliament recently concluded that 30 years of
multicultural policy had failed; yet Holland is one of the most
liberal and tolerant of European countries. In Britain, the
chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality has dismissed
multiculturalism as out of date and no longer useful. Muslims
are feeling this unease with them. Perhaps as a response, many
of the younger generation of Muslims everywhere are
increasingly adopting the symbols of religiosity.

My second conclusion is that it is only through absolute and
unsentimental clarity about the threat we face that we can define,
differentiate, and therefore isolate militant Islamic terrorism from
mainstream Islam. It is not sufficient to repeat, mantra like, that
the majority of Muslims are peaceful and do not believe in
violence. Unfortunately, we too often sacrifice clarity to be
politically correct.

In April, the Muslim Council of Britain, a government-linked
organization, provoked a storm of protests when it asked the
authorities of some 1,000 mosques to preach peaceful Islamic
doctrines, be vigilant against Islamists, and cooperate fully with
the police. Baroness Uddin, a Labour Party peer of Bangladeshi
origin, condemned it as “entirely unacceptable that 1,000
mosques were written to as if they were all harboring terrorists”
and accused the council of supporting a witch-hunt. But who
would be better than the Muslims themselves to make the
necessary distinctions? If we pretend, in the name of political
correctness, that distinctions ought not be made, it is inevitable
that all Muslims be viewed with suspicion.

This brings me to my third and perhaps most important
conclusion. Just as the Cold War was an ideological as well as a
geopolitical struggle, the war against terrorism must be fought
with ideas as well as with armies; with religious community
leaders as well as police forces and intelligence services. This
ideological struggle is already upon us. The terrorist threat has
moved beyond any individual or group. It has become a global
menace. Unless we win the battle of ideas, there will be no
dearth of willing foot soldiers ready to martyr themselves for
their cause.

This ideological struggle is far more complex than the struggle
against communism because it engages not just reason but
religious faith. You and I as non-Muslims have no locus standi
to engage in this struggle for the soul of Islam. It is a matter for
Muslims to settle among themselves.

---

Let me conclude with a few words about the role of the U.S.
Only the U.S. has the capacity to lead the geopolitical battle
against the Islamic terrorists. Iraq has become the key
battleground. Before he was killed in Saudi Arabia, Yousef Al
Aiyyeri, author of the al Qaeda blueprint for fighting in Iraq,
said, “If democracy succeeds in Iraq, that would be the death of
Islam.” That is why Osama bin Laden and others have put so
much effort to try and break the coalition and America’s resolve
to stay the course to build a modern Iraq that Muslims will be
proud of. Those who do not understand this, play into their
hands. The key issue is no longer WMD or even the role of the
UN. The central issue is America’s credibility and will to
prevail. If that is destroyed, Islamic extremists everywhere will
be emboldened. We will all be at greater risk.

But the U.S. cannot lead the ideological battle .

The sources of Muslim anger and distrust of the U.S. are
complex. At one level, it is perhaps no different from the
discomfort many, including U.S. friends and allies, feel about
U.S. pre-eminent supremacy. At another level, it reflects the
anguish of societies unable to cope with U.S. led globalization
and its occasional unilateralism. But I can think of no Muslim
society anywhere in the world where the Palestinian issue does
not provoke a basic, common emotional response no matter how
it may be expressed or intellectually articulated.

I am familiar with, and indeed fully agree with, the argument that
even if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were to be resolved,
terrorism would not end. This is only logical given the
ideologically-driven motivations of Islamist terrorists of the al
Qaeda strain. But while most Muslims do not approve of suicide
bombings, they all do empathize with the plight of Palestinian
Muslims. They are angered and disappointed by what they
perceive as America’s acquiescence in Israel’s disproportionate
use of force against the Palestinians and, most recently, its policy
of “targeted assassinations.” They are critical of what they
regard as America’s double standards, citing, for example, the
U.S. determination in taking action against Iraq but not Israel for
noncompliance of UN Security Council resolutions. These are
views expressed consistently by leaders of Muslim nations whom
I have met, including those most strongly supportive of America.

The end of the Palestinian conflict will not end terrorism. But
moderating the perception that Muslims have of America’s role
in the Palestinian Israeli conflict would certainly go a long way
to moderating their view of the U.S. And this is essential if the
ideological battle is to be won. I am aware of the various
measures that the U.S. has taken to try to win the Muslim mind,
such as setting up radio and television stations to broadcast
alternative views of U.S. policies to the Middle East. But the
real issue is political policies, not public relations.

Like it or not, the Palestinian issue has become the lens through
which Muslims around the world view the war against terror and
actions against Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, among others. That is
why when, for example, one of the convicted Bali bombers,
Imam Samudra, justified his actions by claiming that “the war
against America and its allies is a war against evil, against
tyranny, and a war against terrorism, and this is jihad in the path
of Allah,” it strikes a disconcerting resonance in the Muslim
community. And that is why, when the likes of Abu Bakar
Bashir claim that the CIA engineered the Bali bombing “to
discredit Islam,” even rational, educated Muslims do not speak
out to dismiss what they know to be preposterous.

I know that these are sensitive issues. I do not want to be
misunderstood. Singapore is a friend of Israel. Israel helped
Singapore build up its armed forces and to survive at a time
when no other country in the world, not even the U.S. or Britain,
was confident enough in us to take the risk of doing so. We will
always be grateful. Singapore’s relationship with Israel is one of
the best in Asia.

But like most people in the world, we watch the escalating cycle
of violence with deep anguish: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a
tooth.” We know there are no simple solutions. Still, the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the cycle of violence fuel the
global ideological struggle in which we are now all engaged.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict can no longer be seen only as a
regional conflict or a matter of the self-defense of one country.
The Palestinians know this. They know that Israel’s reactions
win sympathy for their cause from Muslims all around the world
and help the Islamic terrorists.

We are unfortunately now in a situation where Muslim friends of
the U.S. feel uncomfortable about speaking out in America’s
defense and where mainstream Muslims hesitate to condemn
extremists lest they be regarded as supporting the West. Beyond
the Palestinian issue, I found many Middle Eastern leaders
uncomfortable with the pace at which the U.S. is urging reforms
for the region. They are concerned that their interests and fears
are not taken seriously enough by the U.S. Unless the U.S. gains
the confidence of the mainstream Muslims, they will not engage
the extremists vigorously. If they do not, I fear the ideological
battle will be lost.

---

There is too much at stake for all of us to hide behind diplomatic
niceties or platitudes. I offer not criticism but well-intentioned
observations based on our experience in Southeast Asia. If we
are to win the war against terrorism, we must, as Sun Tze in “The
Art of War” says, “Understand the enemy.” And we must, all of
us, Muslims and non-Muslims, Americans, Europeans, Arabs,
and Asians, unite against it. But we must create the conditions
that will make this essential unity possible.

---

Source: Council on Foreign Relations, cfr.org. Special thanks to
Michael G. for his help in securing this piece.

Hott Spotts will return July 8.

Brian Trumbore


AddThis Feed Button

 

-06/24/2004-      
Web Epoch NJ Web Design  |  (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.

Hot Spots

06/24/2004

Prime Minister Goh on the War on Terror

**Switching servers this week...site could be down briefly...
Hott Spotts will return July 8**

Recently when I was in Singapore, that nation’s prime minister,
Goh Chok Tong, was in the U.S. for meetings with President
Bush and others. Singapore has been a superb ally in the war on
terror and as I wrote for my “Week in Review” column while I
was there, it plays a huge role in maintaining the flow of oil
through the vital Strait of Malacca.

Following are excerpts from a speech Prime Minister Goh gave
before the Council on Foreign Relations, May 6, 2004.

---

The terrorist attacks in Madrid in March this year could become
a turning point in the war against terrorism. Unless we make the
right moves, I fear the turn could be for the worst.

The choice of the target and the timing of the attack were
strategic. The Spanish Socialist party had made the withdrawal
of troops from Iraq part of its election platform. Attacking
Madrid just before the election was obviously calculated to
achieve a strategic effect; as indeed it did when the new
government so quickly confirmed its intention to pull out of the
U.S. led coalition in Iraq.

This will only encourage the terrorists to exploit political
differences within countries and divisions between the U.S. and
Europe. We must not let them succeed.

Any lingering doubts about the terrorists’ strategic intentions
should have been put to rest by a statement attributed to Osama
bin Laden in April wherein he offered a “truce” to Europe if it
stopped “attacking Muslims or interfering in their affairs
including [participating] in the American conspiracy.” And,
notwithstanding what some critics of the war in Iraq have
alleged, this statement also demonstrates that Osama bin Laden
himself sees the war in Iraq as part of the larger struggle against
terrorism. He pointedly said “the killing of Europeans came after
their invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

---

The threat stems from a religious ideology that is infused with an
implacable hostility to all secular governments, especially the
West, and in particular the U.S. Their followers want to recreate
the Islam of seventh century Arabia, which they regard as the
golden age. Their ultimate goal is to bring about a caliphate
linking all Muslim communities. Their means is jihad, which
they narrowly define as a holy war against all non-Muslims,
whom they call “infidels.”

The Arabs call this religious ideology ‘salafi.’ Our experience in
Southeast Asia is not without wider relevance because of what
the salafis themselves believe. This is what one of them, an
Algerian named Abu Ibrahim Mustafa, has said:

“The war in Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Algeria, in
Chechnya, and in the Philippines is one war. This is a war
between the camp of Islam and the camp of the Cross, to which
the Americans, the Zionists, Jews, their apostate allies, and
others belong. The goal of this war, which they falsely called a
war on terror, is to prevent the Muslims from establishing an
Islamic state ”

[Ed. note: Mustafa was killed by Algerian forces a few days
ago.]

---

From our experience in Southeast Asia, I draw three principal
conclusions that I believe have a wider relevance.

First, the goals of these terrorists make the struggle a zero sum
game for them. There is no room for compromise except as a
tactical expedient. America may be the main enemy, but it is not
the only one. What Osama bin Laden offered Europe was only a
“truce,” not a lasting peace. The war against terrorism today is a
war against a specific strain of militant Islamic terrorism that
wants, in effect, a “clash of civilizations” or, in the words of the
Algerian I earlier quoted, “a war between the camp of the Islam
and the camp of the Cross.”

The JI (Jemaah Islamiyah) has tried to create the conditions for
Christians and Muslims in Southeast Asia to set against one
another. In December 2000, it attacked churches in Indonesia,
including one church in an Indonesian island off Singapore. It
has sent its members to fight and stir up trouble in Ambon
against Christians. At the trial of those responsible for the Bali
bombing of October 2002, one of the defendants, Amrozi,
dubbed by the media as the “smiling terrorist,” said that he was
not sorry for the Westerners killed in the Bali attacks. He said,
“How can I feel sorry? I am very happy, because they attack
Muslims and are inhuman.” In fact, he wished “there were more
American casualties.” What was most chilling is that this hatred
is impersonal.

One of those we detained in Singapore was a service engineer
with an American company. He confessed that he actually liked
his American friends and bosses. He was nevertheless involved
in targeting American interests. We have a sense that he had
struggled with this. He eventually decided to testify against the
spiritual leader of JI, Abu Bakar Bashir, but only because he felt
betrayed by Bashir’s denial of the very existence of the JI
organization which Bashir headed and to whom he and other
members had sworn allegiance.

And just as Osama bin Laden is trying to drive a wedge between
Europe and America, in Southeast Asia, JI was plotting to do the
same thing by blowing up the pipelines that supply water from
Malaysia to Singapore. The JI knew that water from Malaysia is
a matter of life and death for Singapore. They knew that race
and religion have historically been the major fault lines within
and between both countries. The JI’s intention was to provoke a
conflict between Singapore and Malaysia and portray a “Chinese
Singapore” as threatening a “Muslim Malaysia,” and use the
ensuing confusion to try and overthrow the Malaysian
government and establish an Islamic state in Malaysia.

That particular plot failed. The governments of Singapore and
Malaysia could not have allowed it to succeed. We know only
too well what is at stake.

The favorite tactic of terrorists of all stripes has always been to
try to provoke a backlash to serve their cause. When news of the
JI arrests broke, my immediate concern was to maintain social
cohesion in Singapore. Singapore is a multi-racial society with a
15 percent Muslim population. They are well integrated in our
schools, housing estates and the workplace. Nevertheless,
misunderstandings could easily arise. We met with Muslim
leaders in a number of closed door sessions to share details of the
investigations and to explain that the arrests were not targeted
against the Singapore Muslim community or Islam.

---

But on a global plane, I sense that the beginnings of a backlash
may already be upon us. Antagonism against Muslims has risen
in Europe and the U.S. since 9/11. A number of senior European
politicians have spoken against admitting Muslim Turkey into
the EU. The municipal government of Rotterdam wants to
change the city’s racial profile and an all-party report to the
Dutch parliament recently concluded that 30 years of
multicultural policy had failed; yet Holland is one of the most
liberal and tolerant of European countries. In Britain, the
chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality has dismissed
multiculturalism as out of date and no longer useful. Muslims
are feeling this unease with them. Perhaps as a response, many
of the younger generation of Muslims everywhere are
increasingly adopting the symbols of religiosity.

My second conclusion is that it is only through absolute and
unsentimental clarity about the threat we face that we can define,
differentiate, and therefore isolate militant Islamic terrorism from
mainstream Islam. It is not sufficient to repeat, mantra like, that
the majority of Muslims are peaceful and do not believe in
violence. Unfortunately, we too often sacrifice clarity to be
politically correct.

In April, the Muslim Council of Britain, a government-linked
organization, provoked a storm of protests when it asked the
authorities of some 1,000 mosques to preach peaceful Islamic
doctrines, be vigilant against Islamists, and cooperate fully with
the police. Baroness Uddin, a Labour Party peer of Bangladeshi
origin, condemned it as “entirely unacceptable that 1,000
mosques were written to as if they were all harboring terrorists”
and accused the council of supporting a witch-hunt. But who
would be better than the Muslims themselves to make the
necessary distinctions? If we pretend, in the name of political
correctness, that distinctions ought not be made, it is inevitable
that all Muslims be viewed with suspicion.

This brings me to my third and perhaps most important
conclusion. Just as the Cold War was an ideological as well as a
geopolitical struggle, the war against terrorism must be fought
with ideas as well as with armies; with religious community
leaders as well as police forces and intelligence services. This
ideological struggle is already upon us. The terrorist threat has
moved beyond any individual or group. It has become a global
menace. Unless we win the battle of ideas, there will be no
dearth of willing foot soldiers ready to martyr themselves for
their cause.

This ideological struggle is far more complex than the struggle
against communism because it engages not just reason but
religious faith. You and I as non-Muslims have no locus standi
to engage in this struggle for the soul of Islam. It is a matter for
Muslims to settle among themselves.

---

Let me conclude with a few words about the role of the U.S.
Only the U.S. has the capacity to lead the geopolitical battle
against the Islamic terrorists. Iraq has become the key
battleground. Before he was killed in Saudi Arabia, Yousef Al
Aiyyeri, author of the al Qaeda blueprint for fighting in Iraq,
said, “If democracy succeeds in Iraq, that would be the death of
Islam.” That is why Osama bin Laden and others have put so
much effort to try and break the coalition and America’s resolve
to stay the course to build a modern Iraq that Muslims will be
proud of. Those who do not understand this, play into their
hands. The key issue is no longer WMD or even the role of the
UN. The central issue is America’s credibility and will to
prevail. If that is destroyed, Islamic extremists everywhere will
be emboldened. We will all be at greater risk.

But the U.S. cannot lead the ideological battle .

The sources of Muslim anger and distrust of the U.S. are
complex. At one level, it is perhaps no different from the
discomfort many, including U.S. friends and allies, feel about
U.S. pre-eminent supremacy. At another level, it reflects the
anguish of societies unable to cope with U.S. led globalization
and its occasional unilateralism. But I can think of no Muslim
society anywhere in the world where the Palestinian issue does
not provoke a basic, common emotional response no matter how
it may be expressed or intellectually articulated.

I am familiar with, and indeed fully agree with, the argument that
even if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were to be resolved,
terrorism would not end. This is only logical given the
ideologically-driven motivations of Islamist terrorists of the al
Qaeda strain. But while most Muslims do not approve of suicide
bombings, they all do empathize with the plight of Palestinian
Muslims. They are angered and disappointed by what they
perceive as America’s acquiescence in Israel’s disproportionate
use of force against the Palestinians and, most recently, its policy
of “targeted assassinations.” They are critical of what they
regard as America’s double standards, citing, for example, the
U.S. determination in taking action against Iraq but not Israel for
noncompliance of UN Security Council resolutions. These are
views expressed consistently by leaders of Muslim nations whom
I have met, including those most strongly supportive of America.

The end of the Palestinian conflict will not end terrorism. But
moderating the perception that Muslims have of America’s role
in the Palestinian Israeli conflict would certainly go a long way
to moderating their view of the U.S. And this is essential if the
ideological battle is to be won. I am aware of the various
measures that the U.S. has taken to try to win the Muslim mind,
such as setting up radio and television stations to broadcast
alternative views of U.S. policies to the Middle East. But the
real issue is political policies, not public relations.

Like it or not, the Palestinian issue has become the lens through
which Muslims around the world view the war against terror and
actions against Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, among others. That is
why when, for example, one of the convicted Bali bombers,
Imam Samudra, justified his actions by claiming that “the war
against America and its allies is a war against evil, against
tyranny, and a war against terrorism, and this is jihad in the path
of Allah,” it strikes a disconcerting resonance in the Muslim
community. And that is why, when the likes of Abu Bakar
Bashir claim that the CIA engineered the Bali bombing “to
discredit Islam,” even rational, educated Muslims do not speak
out to dismiss what they know to be preposterous.

I know that these are sensitive issues. I do not want to be
misunderstood. Singapore is a friend of Israel. Israel helped
Singapore build up its armed forces and to survive at a time
when no other country in the world, not even the U.S. or Britain,
was confident enough in us to take the risk of doing so. We will
always be grateful. Singapore’s relationship with Israel is one of
the best in Asia.

But like most people in the world, we watch the escalating cycle
of violence with deep anguish: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a
tooth.” We know there are no simple solutions. Still, the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the cycle of violence fuel the
global ideological struggle in which we are now all engaged.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict can no longer be seen only as a
regional conflict or a matter of the self-defense of one country.
The Palestinians know this. They know that Israel’s reactions
win sympathy for their cause from Muslims all around the world
and help the Islamic terrorists.

We are unfortunately now in a situation where Muslim friends of
the U.S. feel uncomfortable about speaking out in America’s
defense and where mainstream Muslims hesitate to condemn
extremists lest they be regarded as supporting the West. Beyond
the Palestinian issue, I found many Middle Eastern leaders
uncomfortable with the pace at which the U.S. is urging reforms
for the region. They are concerned that their interests and fears
are not taken seriously enough by the U.S. Unless the U.S. gains
the confidence of the mainstream Muslims, they will not engage
the extremists vigorously. If they do not, I fear the ideological
battle will be lost.

---

There is too much at stake for all of us to hide behind diplomatic
niceties or platitudes. I offer not criticism but well-intentioned
observations based on our experience in Southeast Asia. If we
are to win the war against terrorism, we must, as Sun Tze in “The
Art of War” says, “Understand the enemy.” And we must, all of
us, Muslims and non-Muslims, Americans, Europeans, Arabs,
and Asians, unite against it. But we must create the conditions
that will make this essential unity possible.

---

Source: Council on Foreign Relations, cfr.org. Special thanks to
Michael G. for his help in securing this piece.

Hott Spotts will return July 8.

Brian Trumbore