Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|people love to exaggerate|
|10/20/00 at 15:23:16|
|notice the sentence, "The backlash has been almost comic." Just goes to show the US thinks they are better than everyone else and 'oh so moral." |
still don't get? Someone else lecturing the US is comical, as if they don't need a lecture but everyone else in the world does.
I'm just dying with laughter here.
The New Twilight Struggle
America is now Goliath, facing many Davids——enemies who use stealth, speed and suicide to draw blood. What we can do.
By Fareed Zakaria
October 23 issue—— Over the last decade America has had a surprisingly easy time as the global superpower. The backlash has been almost comic. A few hundred Frenchmen brandishing chunks of smelly cheese outside a McDonald’’s; Yuppie protesters in Seattle chanting old civil-rights songs; Malaysia’’s strongman, Mahathir Mohamad, lecturing Washington on human rights.
BUT LAST WEEK the pictures got a lot uglier——ships bombed, planes hijacked, embassies closed or evacuated. Terrorism might represent the new price of hegemony——one that is likely to grow over time.
Call it the David problem. The military calls it asymmetrical warfare. American military power is unprecedented in history. We spend more on defense than the next five great powers put together. An ongoing technological revolution will lengthen that lead over the next few decades. So what’’s a frustrated enemy to do? Strike Goliath with a slingshot. Use stealth, speed and sometimes suicide to draw blood——and media attention
Terrorist attacks generally don’’t make it to the top of the national-security agenda. Strategists tend to view them as a second-tier problem, better handled by cops than Kissingers. More Americans are killed every year by lightning, they point out, than by terrorists. But several new trends are making these dismissals obsolete and dangerous.
Globalization helps terrorists. Cold-war arsenals are for sale, as are the scientists who built them. Twenty years ago it would have been difficult and expensive to put together explosives that would blow a 40-by-40-foot hole in a modern destroyer. Today, you can get this stuff by mail order. The $500 Global Positioning System that Hertz puts into its new rental cars can be used by terrorists to pinpoint targets. The computer networks used by the American military——or utility companies or the stock exchange——can all be penetrated by teenage hackers. Somebody, for example, gained access to the precise refueling and docking schedules of the USS Cole. And terrorists now have their own formidable networks that have created permanent links between drug cartels, terrorist groups and rogue states.
Grim as the events in Yemen were——horrific for the families of the dead——the larger tragedy hasn’t unfolded yet. Were a terrorist organization to do what it did in Yemen but use weapons of mass destruction——chemical, biological or even nuclear——it could result in the greatest loss of American life since the Vietnam War.
The wonder is that it hasn’’t happened already. Consider these facts, drawn from former national-security adviser Anthony Lake’’s new book, ““Six Nightmares””: since 1992 more fissile material (the critical ingredient in making a nuclear bomb) has been stolen from the former Soviet Union than the United States was able to produce in the first three years of the Manhattan Project. Saddam Hussein’’s government has admitted to producing 2,245 gallons of anthrax, 5,125 gallons of botulinum toxin and four metric tons of chemical weapons during the 1990s. Each of these chemicals could kill billions of people. The botulinum alone could destroy the earth’’s entire population several times over. Yet since 1998, when U.N. inspectors left Iraq, all these substances——along with many other weapons——remain unaccounted for and in Saddam Hussein’’s possession.
Smuggling this material into the United States would be easy. Free trade and globalization require the speedy movement of people and goods in and out of the country. We like imports and exports. Border checks tend to be random and rare. Among the Coast Guard there is a joke: the easiest way to smuggle chemical weapons into America would be to put them in a container of illegal drugs.
The American government has spent 10 years planning how to fight two regional wars simultaneously (in the Middle East and the Korean peninsula). We’’ve maintained NATO’’s capacity to deter a Russian invasion of Europe. We’’ve spent $60 billion researching a missile shield. But the immediate and direct threat to national security is quite different from these exercises in grand strategy. In 1998 the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224 people. In 1996 the bombing of a U.S. housing complex in Saudi Arabia killed 19 American servicemen. This year it has been the USS Cole. And yet America remains woefully unprepared to deal with this recurring problem. We have not bolstered our intelligence and covert operations. We lack good coordination between law-enforcement and national-security officials. We shrink at the thought of the American government’’s monitoring people, goods and information more tightly.
But we have to consider moving in all these directions. The new dangers we face require it. We may well be the Goliath ofthe world. But don’’t forget it’’s David, not the giant, who wins in that story.
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