Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Friday, July 08, 2005

Looking for answers

Some interesting analysis from the Financial Times via Business Day. The basic premise is that although military force might have it's place in fighting terrorism, political solutions are also needed. Likewise, this analysis states, political solutions aren't enough on their own.

"...the fight on the ground against terrorists can only ever be half an answer...It would be equally naive to say that politics holds all the answers. The brutal and...fascist ambitions of the extreme jihadists stretch way beyond reasoned argument or political accommodation. Their ideology is indifferent to justice for the Palestinians, to peace in Chechnya, freedom and selfdetermination for Iraqis or self-government in Afghanistan. Force is an insufficient response to these people...

The role of politics is to starve them of recruits, to deprive them of the oxygen provided by a widespread perception of injustice and oppression in the Islamist world. If a settlement, say, between Israel and the Palestinians would not deter the present generation of terrorists, it might well set their sons and daughters on a different path.

What this demands of governments is the resolve to confront the complex, seemingly intractable challenges that most of the time it is more convenient to ignore. It requires nation-building, mediation, conflict resolution, sustained aid flows, political courage and a willingness, sometimes, to compromise. It means sacrificing what may seem like today’s strategic and commercial interests to tomorrow’s imperatives — the spread of freedom and democracy among them."

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