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Has America won its war on terror?

Hassan Tahsin

There is no doubt that the Boston marathon bombings have pained the American people causing them sadness, disappointment and disbelief. But where was American domestic security? President Barack Obama was greatly embarrassed when journalists asked him this question.

Everyone knows that what happened was not strange or unexpected. This is what really worries Americans who feel that they are paying the bill for the mistakes of the US administration. The Boston explosions are not the first and will not be the last as long as US foreign policy remains unchanged and as long as it continues to use double standards especially regarding regional and global issues.

The US has been subjected to two types of terrorism: terrorist operations on its own territory and against its interests and presence on foreign soil.

The American record is replete with such operations. On its own territory, the US has witnessed seven explosions and 18 poisoned letters. This began on 24 August 1970 when a bomb exploded in Madison, Wisconsin. The explosion, in which a researcher was killed, was set off by a local group who were opposing their government. The latest of these operations was the incident in Boston.

There have been10 attacks against American interests in the world. They began with the explosion of a booby-trapped car on 18 April 1983 which destroyed the US embassy in Beirut killing 63 people including 17 Americans. These operations also included the attack on the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole in the Yemen port of Aden which killed 17 US sailors and injured many others.

Successive US administrations have investigated these attacks but have failed to come up with convincing reasons for them or at least have declined to admit them.

The denial of these simple facts has caused a large amount of hostility toward America. These hostilities resulted in the death of a number of American citizens for no reason at all except the behavior of the ruling US administrations.

However, all the losses the US had previously incurred cannot be compared to the losses of the 9/11 attacks which caused enormous human, material and psychological damage.

We hope that the current and the coming US administrations will hasten to reassess America’s domestic and foreign policies.

I am not denying America’s right to arrest and punish those who commit terrorist acts regardless of their nationalities.

More than 25 years ago when signs began to appear of the imminent disintegration of the Soviet Union, which was one of the two superpowers, America began to prepare itself for leading the world and becoming the single superpower.

When this objective was realized and America became the master of the world, a great change happened in its foreign policy which was not in its favor.

It was thought that the US administration would be wiser and fairer in dealing with international and regional issues and would work hard to make real friends who would support it in its drive to lead the world.

However, the contrary happened. Arrogance and conceit caused the US to deviate from the right path in dealing with world issues whether political or economic.

In the political field, America is still pursuing its double standard policy at the expense of other people and without any consideration for historical facts. America has fought many wars in various parts of the world to protect its interests and its political and economic objectives.

America has also gone further and has disagreed with its friends and allies. The most significant of these disagreements has been its conflict with its Western allies concerning the missile shield project, its withdrawal from the Kyoto agreement to protect the environment, its invasion of Iraq and the involvement of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The US does not see any embarrassment in opposing an international public consensus against what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, which amounts to a form of apartheid. The US pulled out of a UN-sponsored conference on apartheid in Durban, South Africa to please Israeli leaders, and in so doing, hurt the feelings of its own people.

If we look at the economic aspect, we will find that America has been adamant in imposing its economic policies on the world through various economic conferences which have been opposed by both the rich people of the North and the poor people of the South. Demonstrations against America are organized whenever the Davos convention is held.

Has the US won its war on terror? The answer to this question is neither simple nor readily at hand. First, the US must purge its political thought, its racism in various concepts, duality in stances and the use of diplomacy to resolve various causes. Second, an international summit conference must be organized and attended by the leaders of those countries most affected by terrorism. The results of this conference should be presented to the UN General Assembly. These two things must happen before America can hope to win its war on terror.

— Hassan Tahsin is an Egyptian writer and political analyst. He can be reached at htahsin-8@hotmail.com.

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