Terrorism- the systematic use of terror; esp: as a means of coercion.
The definition of terrorism does not encompass the war on terrorism; just saying global terrorism makes solving the problem too broad for democracy alone. Democracy cannot be forced upon a population, the population itself must fight for its own democracy. America has begun a global war it does not have the intelligence, the treasure, or the patience to fight. America focuses its military might in the Middle East and forgets completely that there are 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide and most of them do not live in the Middle East. There are 195 countries on the planet with an estimated 6 billion people so who are the terrorists, and where are they? Are the terrorists the Mexican drug cartels who continue to kidnap Americans and who are at war with the Mexican police? Are the terrorists the Palestinians who have been fighting the Israelis for generations for the land their elders knew as their own, or for their right to be a free people instead of oppressed? Or are the terrorists disillusioned Americans who lost their livelihood and blame “Big Brother”? The point to these questions is no one knows who the terrorists are or when they might strike. Since this is the truth and it cannot be disputed the question arises is the answer to global terrorism democracy? My answer is no!
Democracy as we know it has only been in practice since the new America and it took hundreds of years to perfect. The old world knew nothing about democracy and civil wars have and still are being fought to stop the American experience from reaching the old world. Eastern Europe has witnessed an explosion of newly formed democratic states, but these nations still teeter between success and failure because the democratic world does not back these fledgling democracies; which we saw all too well with the Russian invasion of Georgia, the only back up the world provided was lip service, and the promise of money to rebuild. As stated above there are 195 countries on the planet and unless America and her allies are willing to invest all their capital, blood, and patience to the task of spreading democracy around the globe the mission cannot succeed. George Bush states “America is pursuing a clear strategy with our allies to achieve victory. Our immediate strategy is to eliminate terrorist threats abroad, so we do not have to fight them at home.”(Bush 95) With the invasion of Iraq the immediate strategy changed from hunting terrorists to lining the pockets of a few people. This change in strategy allowed not only Osama bin Laden, but Mullah Omar to escape to a region Americans cannot go, so for the last six years Americans have been told that Iraq was the central front on the war on terror which is kind of funny being that no terrorist attack on American soil was ever committed by an Iraqi national. Once George Bush focused on the Middle East his strategy started to show flaws because like Gause says, “The September 11th attack originated in other countries.” (Gause 101) Those countries where September 11th originated are allies to America and have since been attacked themselves. Gause refutes Bush’s claims simply by producing numbers published by the U.S. government. “269 terrorist incidents around the world occurred in countries classified as free.” (Gause 101) Meaning more free countries are attacked then partly free and not free countries combined. George Bush will contend that “Iran and other nations have an example in Iraq.”(Bush 98) If that example is multiple bombings and massive civilian death then yes other nations have an example, but if that example is liberty and stability then no nation has an example in Iraq. Iraqis are still living in fear for their lives even a trip to the market could be the last time they see their loved ones. The Middle East has never seen real democracy. “In other parts of the Middle East we’re seeing small but welcome steps. Saudi Arabia’s recent municipal elections were the beginning of reform that may allow greater participation in the future.”(Bush 98) The key words here are “May Allow” Saudi Arabia is a monarch “May Allow” I do not see any more freedom in Saudi Arabia then I saw fifteen years ago.
As history has shown us, if a monarch gives its people any say so the monarch does not last long, so in my opinion Saudi Arabia’s elections was just a façade so the world would turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses that take place in Arabia let alone the billions of tax payer monies to fund the Saudi Royal Military. So is democracy the answer to global terrorism? George Bush uses Japan as an example. The reason this example is flawed is because the situations are far different. The Japanese homeland had been obliterated, more Japanese died in fire bomb attacks then in both nuclear attacks. The Japanese were tired of war and thus ripe for democracy. On the other hand, the Taliban have been at war for most of their lives with no signs of surrender, in fact the signs seem to support just the opposite, a reemergence of strength and morale. So unless Americans are in this for the long haul it may be time to rethink democracy as the answer. “The Bush administration’s push for democracy in the Arab world is unlikely to have much effect on Anti-American terrorism emanating from there; it could in fact help bring to power governments much less cooperative on a whole range of issues-including the war on terrorism than the current regimes.”(Gause 105) For proof we only need look at the Gaza Strip or Lebanon. Hamas and Hezbollah both hold seats in elected office, but if your elected democratically and America does not agree then they will not deal with you which in my view is hypocritical.
American values are great for Americans, we love democracy and liberty, but does that mean that democracy is great for the rest of the world? It could be, but only if the rest of the world embraces democracy. Liberty cannot be forced on a population; the population must force it on their government. With that being said America’s presence has destabilized the entire Middle East region, the current situation is nothing if not chaotic! The surge in Iraq never worked, money is what worked, and it only worked for Americans not the Iraqi populous. The security situation is in shambles and Iraqis are dying by the dozens every day. Iran is free to do whatever it wants without Saddam there as a buffer I only give it three years until Iran either has a nuclear weapon or at the very least be able to produce one. Pakistan is fighting for its very existence against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, but the worst part is Pakistan has nuclear weapons and the security of those weapons is now in question. Saudi Arabia may be our ally, but is having Saudi Arabia as an ally the right thing at a time when America is preaching democracy? These are the questions and problems that need to be faced; until these are solved there will be no answer to global terrorism.
Muhammad A. Shabazz