Scholar says U.S. needs world's help to fight terror, rogue states

by Joshua Stowe

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (CNS) — The United States should seek international cooperation as it confronts the intertwined threats of terrorism, rogue states and weapons of mass destruction, a University of Notre Dame peace studies scholar said in an Oct. 1 address.p. Together, the three challenges create a new security equation, which “represents an unprecedented danger for the U.S. and the world,” George Lopez told a small audience gathered to hear him speak at a Mishawaka library, just minutes away from the University of Notre Dame.p. Lopez, a senior fellow and director of policy studies at Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, used his speech to critique current U.S. foreign policy as he offered alternative policy approaches. Multilateral cooperation is vital in dealing with the new security equation, he said.p. The United States and its allies must deal creatively with terrorism, recognizing it as a component of the security equation, Lopez said. While terrorism itself is nothing new, he said the early 21st century has seen the rise of a new kind of terrorism: one that seeks to destroy instead of to exact political concessions.p. “There is no bargaining dynamic,” he said, adding that civilized countries cannot negotiate with al-Qaida as they did with the Irish Republican Army. “And there’s no discernable political group with whom one could sit down and bargain.”p. While new terrorism requires a new approach, Lopez said, the metaphor of a war on terror is simplistic. He said “struggle” is a better metaphor for appropriate anti-terrorism action. Such action should include civilian cooperation in investigative, diplomatic and financial efforts to deal with terrorist groups, he said.p. As it mounts a coordinated struggle against terrorism, Lopez said, the United States should see the actions of al-Qaida as international crimes that require the response of an international posse rather than a declaration of war, which necessitates only warlike actions in response.p. “The metaphor of war should not blind Americans to the fact that suppressing terrorism will take years of patient, unspectacular civilian cooperation with other countries in areas such as intelligence sharing, police work, tracing financial flows and border controls,” he said.p. The United States also must work multilaterally to promote arms control, Lopez said, setting an example of disarmament rather than further pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.p. “The U.S. is preparing to become more, not less, reliant on nuclear weapons,” he said. "By declaring a readiness to use such weapons against non-nuclear threats and proposing such steps as the development of bunker-buster nuclear weapons, U.S. political leaders are increasing nuclear dependence and lowering the threshold of potential nuclear use.p. “This attempt to legitimize nuclear weapons sends exactly the wrong message to potential proliferators, including North Korea, Iran, and al-Qaida, and erodes U.S. and global security,” he said.p. Lopez said the U.S. policy of maintaining nuclear weapons for its own use while forbidding other countries to use such weapons is both inconsistent and untenable. He said the United States should abandon its nuclear weapons and instead rely on its overwhelming conventional military superiority. In addition, he said, the United States should encourage multilateral disarmament and seek to find and eliminate fissionable weapons materials.p. Finally, Lopez said, the United States must deal more creatively with rogue states, abandoning its policy of pre-emption and turning to diplomatic and economic pressure through the multilateral efforts of coalitions.p. “Pre-emptive action might imperil U.S. foreign policy goals as much as it might help us under certain conditions,” he said, adding that rogue nations will take a different lesson from the Iraqi war than the United States wants them to take.p. While the United States sees the war as a deterrent to countries who might seek nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, Lopez said some countries will decide to seek as many weapons of mass destruction as possible to discourage the United States from attacking them.p. The United States also should build real coalitions when it does have to confront terrorists with military action. This could include establishing a standing international army under U.N. control that could assist the United States in dealing with imminent terrorist threats, he said.p. Such an army would be a significant improvement from the “coalition of the willing” that the United States gathered to fight the war in Iraq, Lopez said.p. The small group was nothing more than a “coalition of the billing,” since nations that supported the Iraqi war received financial compensation and most of them did little to strengthen the U.S. effort in Iraq, Lopez said.p. “Does anybody really believe that when (Defense Secretary) Don Rumsfeld goes to bed at night he says ‘Honey, I’m going to sleep well tonight because I know that Poland and Portugal got my back’?” he asked.

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