You know, one thing that I wished Bush had mentioned in his speech last night, and that I hope the White House is working on behind the scenes, is a plan to offer a carrot to those developing countries in the Islamic world that are willing to join us in taking a stand against terrorism. As Kevin Kelly mentioned in his essay the other day, one thing we must do to have long term success against the Islamic fundamentalists is show the world that it’s better to be a friend of the United States than an enemy. Bush’s speech focused on how bad it will be for our enemies, but did nothing to explain the benefits of being our ally.
I also wonder why we don’t present a “Get out of jail free” card to some of the states we currently classify as rogue states? Why not put the ball in Libya’s court and give them a chance to turn over a new leaf? Since it doesn’t look like Saddam Hussein is going anywhere, we could even offer some sort of deal to Iraq. By giving every country in the world a chance to take a stand against terrorism, we could gain a lot of credibility with people who are on the fence about America. And when countries refuse to do so, then we are more justified than ever in whatever actions we take to prevent them from sponsoring terrorism in the future.
It’s important to remember that a lot of the state sponsorship of terrorism that happened in the past had different roots and aims than what we’re currently seeing. Libya and Syria sponsored terrorism in hopes of achieving certain political goals, and the leaders of those countries have the same healthy fear of Islamic fundamentalists that we do. Just some ideas here.