As we fight the war against terrorists, the Bush administration should already be considering crucial ancillary outcomes. The United States has the chance now to revive U.S. relations with the moderate Arab world and drive radical regimes into a corner; to put U.S.-Russian relations, for the first time, on a stable and positive footing; and to reverse the sharp decline in U.S.-European relations of the past decade. Forming coalitions and reviving alliances cannot be the primary goal of American foreign policy, of course. Nor should the United States accept any unreasonable constraints imposed by international coalitions. But in the near term, alliances will serve America, at times in critical ways, in its sustained and far-reaching anti-terror campaign. In the long term, nothing could be more conducive to advancing American interests and promoting global security than to reestablish the credibility of a united West under American leadership.
The challenge will be a formidable one. Anti-hegemony had become in recent years the buzzword -- and a strong motivation -- among allies and adversaries alike. "Building a multipolar world" had emerged as a prominent code phrase, whether in Berlin or Beijing, for curbing American influence. Consider Chinese opposition to American missile defense; Russian antagonism to NATO enlargement; EU political ambitions as expressed through the euro. In various ways, to be sure, but in each and every case, at least one prime motive behind these projects and policies was to constrain American power and predominance. But September 11, 2001, has changed everything.
The Arab world -- and Saddam
U.S. RELATIONS WITH moderate Arab countries, and with key allies such as Saudi Arabia, have worsened in recent years. This set of relationships may be the most difficult to mend. In some ways it remains close to the heart, though, of America's problem with terrorism.
Since September 11, discussion has begun (again) about the root causes of terrorism. Whispers have also emerged about America's own responsibility, in statements from moderate Arab leaders like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the commentaries of major European papers. "If America wants security," argued an editorial in the prestigious German daily, Suddeutsche Zeitung, "it has to address the concerns of the people of the region... and help solve the Palestinian problem." One prominent Egyptian columnist went so far as to argue that the "Arab-Israeli conflict" should really be seen as "an Arab conflict with Western, and particularly American, colonialism." It's time for Western leaders to insist on political and moral clarity. America must take the lead.
Of course, the United States makes its mistakes. It's guilty at times of arrogance, misjudgment, and poor policy choices. Still, Islamic terrorism has never been about Israel, America's support for the Jewish state, American foreign policies, or the effects of globalization. Rather, it is the wholesale failure of Arab states to modernize and democratize that helps explain why radical Islam has been permitted to grow and spread so extensively -- and why, in fact, American relations with so many Islamic countries have remained poor.
America holds no brief against Muslims. The United States fought to save innocent Slavic Muslims of Bosnia from slaughter and destruction. It did the same later on behalf of the Kosovar Albanians. The U.S. government has purchased 100,000 tons of wheat from American farmers to provide to civilians in Afghanistan. The United States and its allies can and should do more. But until the face of the Middle East changes -- and it will take decades for true progress to be made -- there will remain limits on the degree to which the United States and its closest allies can forge enduring strategic partnerships with many Muslim countries.
Nevertheless, an extraordinary opportunity presents itself. It would be a mistake for the Bush administration to cast its anti-terror campaign as a conflict between the West and the Rest. In fact, the administration has already eloquently emphasized this point. Samuel Huntington has rejected a "clash of civilizations," calling the attacks on America the aggression of "Barbarians against the civilized world."
Indeed, if U.S. policy succeeds, the Islamic world will find itself quickly divided into two camps: between those who sponsor terrorists and the rest who do not -- between those states who cooperate with the United States and those who choose to be designated as enemies. Muslim populations living in the United States and other Western countries must be urged to do their part. If the United States and its partners resist equating terror with Islam, Muslims must do the same by unequivocally condemning, isolating, and depriving the terrorists of all moral legitimacy and every piece of financial and logistical aid.
If the administration's rhetoric is followed by action, and by a strategy that is comprehensive and resolute, the price for operating the business of terror will become in the years ahead far riskier, more costly, and politically difficult. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz has even spoken of "ending states" that support terrorism. As a target with considerable strategic value, there is currently no better candidate than Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. A policy aimed at removing Saddam from power will strike a blow against international terrorism. It will also, contrary to conventional wisdom, boost America's standing in the Arab world.
Iraq is of far greater strategic value than Afghanistan, of course. It has been permitted to operate as a regional menace for far too long. It was two decades ago that Israel attacked and destroyed a nuclear reactor outside Baghdad. Then Prime Minister Menachem Begin argued that the strike was defensive in character. The CIA had agreed at the time that Iraq was attempting to build nuclear weapons. The United Nations General Assembly disagreed and roundly condemned Israel. Even the Reagan administration felt compelled to criticize Israel. But then a decade later came Iraq's invasion of Kuwait -- and much fuller information about Saddam's intentions and capabilities.
Similarly, Iraq's contempt for international standards and norms has become more fully revealed over the course of time. Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein's who had the assignment in the late l980s to gas civilians, once boasted to colleagues that he would "kill them all [the Kurds] with chemical weapons. Who is going to say anything? The international community? F-- them!" Until now; Saddam's henchmen have been right.
Today Saddam not only threatens his neighbors. He continues to terrorize his own population with a vast network of secret police informers. He tortures, he murders, and he uses rape, systematically, as a political weapon. As ordinary Iraqis sink deeper into poverty and despair, Saddam steals from international relief assistance and sinks vast sums of money into palaces, luxury automobiles, and "obscene" amounts of scotch whiskey, notes Richard Butler, the Australian diplomat who once led the United Nations arms inspection team, UNSCOM, to Iraq.
The Iraqi regime remains an implacable foe of the United States, Israel, the West as a whole, and moderate Muslim countries in the region. Like the Taliban, Saddam regularly threatens those who would cooperate with the United States. His regime has been implicated in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, which killed six and injured more than 1,000. Three years ago, Saddam blocked UNSCOM inspectors from conducting their work inside Iraq. Since that time, there have been no arms inspections. And Saddam has been working assiduously to reconstitute his program of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction. According to Western intelligence, he is succeeding. There are even indications that Saddam's fingerprints may be on the attacks on New York and Washington. The reputed leader of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had connections, apparently, to Iraqi intelligence.
When Israeli planes streamed across Jordanian skies on their way to Baghdad two decades ago, King Hussein quietly watched without bothering to phone his Arab brother Saddam Hussein to warn him. In 1991, the Arab world joined the United States and its other allies in liberating Kuwait. At the time, American prestige in the Arab world reached an unprecedented high. If the United States stands up to Saddam, the Arab masses will not rise up against America. On the contrary.
There is probably no better way to deliver a major setback to the terrorist threat -- and restore America's standing in the Middle East -- than to reconstitute the anti-Saddam coalition of 1991. This time, though, the objective must be putting an end to the dictator's blood-soaked rule. This would mean support for the Iraqi opposition, the eventual use of American ground troops, and ultimately the occupation of Baghdad. The effort would be expensive, in blood and treasure. The political responsibility would be as great as the transition period after the war would be long. But success would be a major accomplishment and contribution to global security and peace in the Middle East.
In truth, the Arab-Israeli conflict has always been but one piece of a much larger puzzle. If the United States could promote the development of a democratic Iraq, the landscape of the entire Middle East might change for the better over time. The prospect is a distant one, but such a long-term strategy might provide the best chance for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Ousting Saddam would have other positive effects. It would put an end to naive and unworkable notions, which have been all too prevalent both in the U.S. and abroad, about multilateral, supranational institutions and their usefulness in providing the essential elements of hard security. Instead, the "posse" model would be reborn. If America wants a world conducive to its interests and values, it will need the democracies to band together. Tactically aligned with others, they can promote a new system of international relations in which the idea of American leadership can once again become respectable and desirable.
TRANSFORMING THE U.S.-RUSSIAN relationship will not be easy. And getting Russian cooperation on issues like Iraq will represent an enormous challenge. Russia will be inclined to continue treating Iraq as a client state, for instance. Russia will surely resist, moreover, the posse model with America in the lead.
Since the end of the Cold War, relations between Moscow and Washington have suffered from a seemingly insurmountable problem: an overwhelming imbalance in assets. In Washington's view, the Russians have had little to offer the United States. U.S. and Western interests in Russia have been restricted largely to forestalling negative developments: resurgent nationalism; economic and social disintegration, leading to destabilizing migration flows; and, perhaps, the problem of "loose nukes." In the Russian view, on the other hand, nearly every major foreign and defense project the United States has pursued over the past decade -- the enlargement of NATO, the intervention in Kosovo, ballistic missile defense -- seems to be aimed at humiliating Russia.
Despite President Bush's charm offensive toward Russian President Vladimir Putin -- begun in meetings first in Slovenia in the spring, then advanced in Italy at the G-8 summit this summer -- nothing much had changed in the U.S.-Russian relationship. This summer senior officials were criticizing Moscow for its continuing role in providing ballistic missile technology to rogue states such as Iran. According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the United States needs to confront Russia with a choice. "Moscow cannot expect to do billions of dollars worth of business and aid ... with the United States and its allies," Rumsfeld said, while at the same time selling "obnoxious stuff that threatens our people and our pilots and our sailors." This view will become sharper now.
His deputy, Paul Wolfowitz muses that, curiously, "Russian weakness" has always seemed to give them "leverage over us." This strange pathology should now come to an end. Russia itself may be ready.
After the September 11 attacks on the United States, Russia took the rare step of issuing a joint statement with NATO calling on the "entire international community to unite in the struggle against terrorism." True, Russia initially refused to participate in any U.S.-led military action, but Russian military participation would not be necessary in a U.S. intervention. And Moscow also made it plain, early on, that it would not object if individual states chose to assist the Americans with bases and landing rights. Tajikistan, a former Soviet Republic that borders Afghanistan, stepped up quickly to cooperate.
Russia also has assets. With President Putin's approval, intelligence sharing is already expanding with the United States on the subject of terrorism, the Taliban, and Afghanistan. The Russians know Afghanistan. One leading general, Boris Agapov, who served in Afghanistan in the 1980s, argues that the Americans could succeed against the Taliban. With stronger financial resources and superior technology and equipment, the Americans can also learn from and avoid the mistakes of the Soviets. For starters, the U.S. will not try to occupy or rule the country.
If the United States can succeed in bringing about a rapprochement with Russia over Afghanistan, there may be ways to deepen our cooperation in other areas as well. Perhaps eventually, the Russians will behave like the French, who have typically maintained a certain distance or voiced criticism of Washington policies publicly, while working closely with the United States behind the scenes. A years ago, when Serbia held the elections in which Slobodan Milosevic was defeated, the United States appealed to NATO allies to conduct naval maneuvers off the Adriatic coast in advance of the vote -- a sign that the West was watching. The allies balked; the French joined in quickly. During the Kosovo war, public statements notwithstanding, Russian intelligence worked closely at times with their American counterparts. This is a scenario Americans would welcome and could easily live with: Russia, a difficult partner open to cooperation on key strategic issues.
What does Russia want? Putin wants Western understanding of Moscow's fundamentalism problem, especially in Chechnya. He can get it. He needs for his own political constituency a NATO that is genuinely open to collaboration where Russian interests are at stake. He can get this, too. It's clearly an advance of Russian interests if the United States and its allies can eradicate any piece of radical Islam in Afghanistan or the region. In this policy area, Russia's interests, like Turkey's, are clear.
If Russia wants respect, a measure of respect is within the country's reach, where its own interests, assets, and American needs and objectives finally intersect. At a Moscow press conference a year ago, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, a senior advisor to Putin, declared Russia's interest in "preemptive strikes" against terrorist camps in Afghanistan. Yastrzhembsky argued that Afghanistan had become a "hotbed of international terrorism" -- a problem, he said, that had prompted Russian interest in opening up a common front with the North Atlantic Alliance. One Russian commentator has described current circumstances as "a unique and historic invitation to cooperate with the West." Says Dimitri Rogozin, chairman of the international affairs committee of the Russian parliament: "Just as 60 years ago, Russia and the U.S. have a common enemy again."
There is promise on a number of fronts. The United States is the biggest foreign investor in Russia, with more than $ 5 billion in direct investment and $ 10 billion in two-way trade of goods and services. Russia has shown greater responsibility to international debt obligations in recent years. Russia has also achieved a certain level of macroeconomic stability. All this helped lead President Bush's national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice, to call for a "new era of cooperation" between Russia and the United States.
The Bush administration had started to offer Moscow arms purchases (including purchases of the Russian S-300 ground-to-air missile) and other military aid in exchange for an eventual agreement to scrap the ABM Treaty, which has remained an obstacle to American missile defense plans. Why not press, at exactly this moment, for a far wider range of cooperation and incentives? The greatest challenge will be to change Russian policy toward Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and North Korea. In each case the Russians have been active proliferators. If the Russians, like the French, want to flirt, to provoke the United States, so be it. But the U.S. should insist on nothing less than a halt to any and all meaningful technical and military assistance Moscow currently provides to those regimes.
In pursuing closer cooperation with Russia, the United States would be seeking three things. First, the United States wants Russia's help in the war against terrorism. Second, Washington should seek an end to Russia's obsession with impairing U.S. unilateralism and hegemony. (The country's official foreign policy doctrine pledges a fight against "the hegemony of a single center.") Finally, the U.S. should use the current historical moment to forge the basis for a strategic partnership with Russia that will be important should China one day emerge as a threat. As a member of the anti-hegemony club, Russia had been increasing its ties, especially in the military area, to China. Chinese military procurement in Russia has doubled in recent years to nearly $ 2 billion annually -- more than 60 percent of all Russian arms exports. It's time to reverse the trend.
Europe and the anti-hegemony school
THE MOST IMPORTANT strategic partnership for the United States remains America's alliance with the Europeans. The end of the Cold War eliminated the common threat that had helped bind America and Europe together in the past, and the period since has seen a marked drift in the transatlantic relationship prompted by multiple causes.
Recent developments in European integration have changed the character of Europe. What began originally a half century ago as a grand enterprise aimed at promoting Franco-German rapprochement and eliminating the scourge of malign nationalism became, after the Cold War, a design primarily aimed at establishing the EU as a world power center in order to compete with the United States. Europe's desire for sell-reliance is surely entirely legitimate. But it was starting to mix with old-fashioned anti-Americanism and impulses toward destructive rivalry. Pascal Lamy, the EU's trade negotiator, conceded once that "the easiest way to get a cheer in Brussels is to stand up in the European parliament and denounce America."
Anti-Americanism has grown. In France, a farmer can become a national hero for ransacking a McDonald's and vilifying America as the culprit behind globalization. What of the vitriolic tirade from Europeans when the Bush administration decided to opt out of the Kyoto protocol? It's hard to imagine that the venom of the reply had to do only with environmental concerns about global warming.
How else can one explain, for example, the recent fixation of so many European politicians and opinion leaders on the death penalty in the United States? European leaders who use the issue as a club to beat America know the facts. They know that the United States is not a monolith. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have rejected capital punishment. A half dozen of the remaining 38 states have had but a small handful of executions during the last quarter century. Indeed, the number of executions in the United States has even been dropping in recent years. By any standard, the United States is hardly in the throes of death penalty mania, as many leading Europeans have suggested. Still, until recently, EU officials have insisted on raising the issue at the highest level in the U.S. government.
They have chosen to do so knowing that Europe is hardly a monolith itself. Majorities in a number of countries, from the United Kingdom to Central Europe, favor the death penalty. People are divided in Italy and in Sweden. France banned capital punishment only in 1981. What's more, most Europeans, according to recent polls, would be happy if their leaders refrained from intruding into American domestic affairs and sovereign choices on matters such as the death penalty. This scarcely suggests a growing divide between "American" and "European" values, a fact that has left commentators like Henry Kissinger to ask whether European leaders are seeking to build a new Europe defined in opposition to the United States.
Anti-Americanism is an old theme, one that had been winning new cachet in the new Europe. The most prevalent views are familiar: that America is morally and socially backward (the death penalty and jungle capitalism); that the United States is often dangerously simplistic and primitive in its approach to the world (sanctions and talk of so-called "rogue" regimes). The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon triggered a stunning show of pro-American sentiment across Europe. But old habits will die hard. Writing in the Suddeutsche Zeitung, one German intellectual, Klaus Theweleit, argued that "American arrogance" remained the root of the problem. "The most powerful country of the world," wrote Theweleit, "has no real foreign policy, only spheres of interests and opportunism."
Public opinion in Europe was becoming increasingly skeptical about U.S. behavior. In August, polls conducted by the International Herald Tribune, the Pew Research Center, and the Council on Foreign Relations found that a majority of Europeans held negative views toward the Bush administration. The polls also found that a majority believed the United States was pursuing its own interests without reasonable deference to the interests of others.
While European solidarity in the days after the attacks on the United States was extraordinary, barely a fortnight had passed before doubts were being voiced. British officials insisted that support for Washington did not constitute a "blank check" for U.S. actions. Germany's defense minister lamely proclaimed, "we do not face a war." Media opinion began to churn. La Repubblica fretted about "growing demonstrations of Muslims." Columns in the Berliner Zeitung and the FT Deutschland argued that the Americans were making "Islamic revolution" possible and predicted the "destabilization of Pakistan." The Frankfurter Rundschau warned of "Americans wrapped up in their own emotions." Le Figaro demanded "American restraint.
What European elites have wanted, says Die Zeit editor Josef Joffe, is to be the "Un-America." Or as German historian and commentator Michael Stuermer puts it: "the Europeans become more European, and the Americans become more American." In the process, it's no surprise that Europeans have been less concerned about burden-sharing than powersharing in the transatlantic relationship. It helps explain the EU passion for international treaties, supranationalism, and global governance. What better way to constrain the United States and reign in a rogue superpower?
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld mused this summer somewhat dyspeptically, that with the end of the Cold War, the gratitude of our allies had come to an end, too. There was good reason for Americans to become skeptical about the motives and judgments of their European partners. This past spring America's closest partners in Europe helped remove the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Three EU countries -- France, Sweden, and Austria -- will sit alongside countries such as Sudan, China, Cuba, and Syria working together on resolutions. This can hardly promote the cause of human rights in the world, but it did strike a blow to American standing and prestige. When an American airplane, on a legitimate reconnaissance mission in international airspace, is brought down by the aggressive behavior of a Chinese pilot, there's hardly a whisper of support from Europe. Instead, EU leaders wring their hands and fret about the possible destabilizing effects of the American response. What happens when President Bu sh decides to review policy toward Korea? The EU rushes a delegation, unilaterally, to the region to save the day, thereby demonstrating an open and almost brazen lack of confidence in American deliberations.
Divisions over policy toward Iraq and Iran have been strong for years. And they have grown. The French political establishment has openly blamed Richard Butler, the chairman of UNSCOM, and not Saddam Hussein for the breakdown in weapons inspections monitoring in Iraq. The EU, often led by Germany, remained apparently enthralled by "Critical Dialogue" with the mullahs of Iran. Chris Patten, the EU commissioner for external affairs, had just announced before the attacks on the United States that the Europeans were prepared to increase their trade and diplomatic ties to Teheran.
To be sure, American hubris has contributed to the problems in transat lantic relations. It was understandably nor easy for Europeans to sit still and listen to President Clinton's insufferable boasting about the glories of the American economy at the G-8 summit in Denver in 1997, or when Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gushed about America as "the indispensable nation."
The Bush administration exacerbated the problem. President Bush had compelling critiques of the Kyoto protocol on global warming at his disposal. Instead, he chose the narrowest arguments, amounting to "America First," to reject a process in which our closest allies had become deeply invested. On Kyoto, "First things first," Mr. Bush had said, and that's "the people who live in America." Can anyone imagine German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder now saying the same thing about Berlin's policy toward Iran, a country that owes Germany billions in foreign debt? Would narrow economic interests justify a more accommodating line toward Teheran? Of course, each and every American president will pursue what he deems the American interest. But only if the United States is willing to link the American interest to the wider international good and to invoke principles that appeal to others will America be able to lead effectively.
What should the United States now do? The Bush administration needs to capitalize on the moment. We should boost our bilateral ties with the United Kingdom and any other country that wishes to cooperate closely with the United States on terrorism. We should retain our freedom of action, but we should also end the U.S. penchant for undisciplined and indiscriminate unilateralism; such steps will help end the anti-hegemonic balancing of others. The rising tide of anti-Americanism can be delivered a crushing blow. To achieve this the United States needs to pursue its anti-terror campaign in such a way that national interests are fused with the interests of other major and smaller partners. This is exactly what Ronald Reagan was able to do, always invoking broader principles as he fought for markets, free trade, and an end to Soviet tyranny. Containing the terrorist threat is, after all, in the interest of our closest partners.
The Europeans, for their part, need to broaden their strategic horizon. Europeans need to understand that the U.S. strategy that is emerging is a comprehensive one. It includes diplomatic and economic measures and strong law enforcement elements. Arrests came quickly in several European countries, including Germany, where authorities believe that as many as 30 terrorist cells may exist. The United States asked early on for the EU to reach out to Syria and Iran in trying to galvanize support in the region for the U.S.-led anti-terror campaign. It will also be important for the U.S. to impress upon its European allies that such relationships will be tactical. Unless Syria and Iran alter their own behavior and support for terrorism groups, they, too, may become targets of U.S. action. The sanctions debate is back. German special forces have been committed to assist in military operations. There is much Americans and Europeans can do together. The United Kingdom has already pledged to cooperate with the U.S. in the broadest military terms.
Perhaps, in a sense, Americans became Israelis on September 11, 2001. It was a wake-up call for Americans about their own security. But Europeans should not be permitted to deceive themselves. An attack on America was the beginning of a war against the West. Only united will the West have a chance to win this war. In a strange twist of fate, a relatively young, inexperienced President George W. Bush now has the opportunity of a New World Order that his father had once squandered. If he succeeds, America and the world will benefit in more ways than one.