by Austin Bay
December 11, 2002Abdullah essayed Islam's core ideals, which he identified as compassion,
goodwill and respect for others.
His plea for compassion and respect referenced one of the three
assassinations that deeply scar the Israeli-Palestinian turmoil, the 1951
murder of his great-grandfather, Abdullah I -- the two other high-impact
murders being those of Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Itzhak Rabin. King
Abdullah wrote: "... long before so-called Islamic terrorists began
attacking the West, they were targeting fellow Muslims. The goal was to
silence opposition and obliterate the Islam of peace and dialogue."
Extremists who rejected respect and dialogue believed Abdullah I
would make peace with Israel. The murder of Rabin by an Israeli religious
fanatic was a vicious mirror of this evil.
State terror -- statecraft by fear -- rules in far too many
corners of this planet, Iraq and North Korea as patent examples. The tool of
fear, as the assassinations in comparatively open states like Jordan and
Israel illustrate, also thwarts moderation. Moderates literally live under
the gun, fearing reprisal and death.
Poverty does not create terrorists -- that's a falsehood and a
smear. However, theft of wealth and development denied inevitably seed
resentment, the spark terror's masters know how to stoke. Corruption and
stolen opportunity stalk the streets and hard corners where terrorists
The rule of law eventually punishes and minimizes corruption and
theft, which is one reason democracy is a strategic weapon against
terrorism. The democratic rule of law ultimately frees a public from
murderous extremists. Instead of calling the shots, the thugs land in jail.
It's not utopia, but it's justice.
A month ago, I wrote a column that noted the attack on the World
Trade Center was an attack on the world that created the United Nations.
Somewhere even the dictators and autocrats who send ambassadors to dialogue
with ambassadors from free states know that to be true. The UN is one result
of steady, increasing, inexorable globalization -- the trend that puts
McDonalds in Moscow, that puts Colombian flowers on the altar of my church
in Texas, that brings Hong Kong's South China Post to the Internet, that
brings the BBC to Zimbabwe, that makes Taliban shenanigans in Afghanistan
potent security matters in Manhattan.
Osama bin Laden rejects globalization. Sure, he digs the
Internet and loves high-tech weapons, but the "open world" globalization
offers threatens extremist zealots. Bin Laden and other rejectionists long
for "closed worlds" -- closed societies where their sole interpretation of
the Koran, of Marx, of the gospel of John, of Shona or of Serb tribal
tradition utterly dominates.
Religious absolutists, ethnic zealots and ultra-nationalists
reject "the new rules" of cooperation and compromise globalization
entails -- these organized forms of goodwill and respect, to use King
Bin Laden's hatred for globalization explains in part why
left-wing "anti-globalists" and professorial cranks wedged in academia find
oddball common cause with his Islamic imperialism. Their utopias are
perfections that do not allow compromise, much less McDonalds.
Sept. 11, then, is another battle between "open-connected
systems," the type which link globally, and "closed-isolated systems."
And it's why globalization is a strategic means for defeating
the bin Ladens present and future.
To a large degree, it's a strategy that pushes Washington more
than Washington initiates, but furthering the process of globalization
around the world, in terms of free communications, free trade and democratic
political structures. In other words, giving people the freedom to choose
and protecting their right to do it must be part of America's War on Terror.
Free trade and free economies -- central components of
globalization -- are the means of relieving mass endemic poverty. Terrorists
and dictators are no longer the "best bad choice" of the desperate.
Extending globalization into the hard corners, the Somalias and
Colombias, thus becomes a grand strategy for improving 21st century
security. And it's another reason the departments of Treasury, Justice and
Commerce, the U.S. Agency for International Development and, for that
matter, McDonalds and the BBC, are key to truly defeating global terrorism.