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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - George Shultz

RealClearPolitics - Articles - George Shultz

Last Build Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 00:29:40 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007

Sustaining Our Resolve

Thu, 10 Aug 2006 00:29:40 -0600

The second is to emphasize the reinforcing nature of political openness and increases in income per capita -- prosperity -- that come from use of the market, recognition of private property, and the rule of law. Democracy more likely takes hold when earned incomes are rising, and markets flourish best in open political environments. The third is to recognize that this war has already gone through two quite different phases. Today a third phase is under way that also has different characteristics. This phase will continue to be with us and is the long war identified by the president and others even shortly after 9/11. During the first phase of this war, going back certainly to the 1970s, we were essentially passive. We were hit by increasing numbers of terrorist acts, but, though there was a gradual buildup of concern, we did nothing significant in response to these attacks. Then September 11 woke America up. We reacted powerfully, putting in place a different philosophy and taking a great variety of actions to implement that philosophy. We are now nearly five years away from that calamitous event. The war continues, but the juices of reaction to 9/11 have subsided. We must now realize that the job in a third phase of the war -- necessary if we are to be successful -- is to put our efforts on a sustainable basis, gaining broad support at home and abroad. As in the Cold War, public understanding and support will be as crucial as persistent pressure and the will to win. The passive phase The war we are in started a long time ago, although we did not recognize its nature until recently. We witnessed the assassination of Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in Munich in 1972, the assault on our embassy in Tehran with Americans taken hostage in 1979, the assassination of President Sadat of Egypt in 1981, the car bomb that killed 243 U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1983, the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombing of our embassies in Africa, and the attack on the USS Cole in the late 1990s. We made no serious response to any of these bloody assaults. In the Reagan, Bush 41, and Clinton years, we hit back once or twice with airstrikes or cruise missiles. The enemy was not impressed. By the mid-1990s, we knew about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Just as Hitler laid out his plans in Mein Kampf, Osama bin Laden made no secret of his program. As in the case of Hitler, his announced objectives were not taken seriously enough. There was, however, a building concern about escalating terrorism. As a hawk on the subject in the Reagan era, my comments in a 1984 speech were nervously received. I said then that: * We must reach a consensus in this country that our responses should go beyond passive defense to consider means of active prevention, preemption, and retaliation. * The questions posed by terrorism involve our intelligence capability, the doctrine under which we would employ force, and, most important of all, our public's attitude toward this challenge. Our nation cannot summon the will to act without firm public understanding and support. * We cannot allow ourselves to become the Hamlet of nations, worrying endlessly over whether and how to respond. The monstrous acts of al Qaeda also drew a response from the U.N. Security Council. The principle of state accountability was embedded in the law of nations. After the bombings of our embassies in 1998, the Security Council stressed "that every Member State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts. . . ." (RES. 1189) On December 29, 2000, the Security Council strongly condemned "the continuing use of the areas of Afghanistan under the control of the Afghan faction known as Taliban . . . for the sheltering and training of terrorists and planning of terrorist acts. . . ." (Res. 1333) By the end of the 1990s, we had begun to glimpse the reality. And we were just beginn[...]