December 29, 2003


TERRORISM: The Unexpected Peace Dividend (Austin Bay, December 29, 2003, Strategy Page)

The War on Terror has had an unintended, and welcome, side effect; world peace. Since September 11, 2001, and the aggressive American operations against terrorist organizations, several long time wars have ended, or moved sharply in that direction. Many of these wars get little attention in American media, but have killed hundreds of thousands of people over the last decade. These include conflicts in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chad, Congo, Kashmir, Israel, Kurdistan, Philippines, Burundi, Somalia and Sudan. Some of these conflicts diminished because they had been going on for a while and, as is usually the case with wars, eventually the participants are worn down and make peace. But in all these sudden outbreaks of peace there was another factor; an American crackdown on terrorist activities around the world. The rebels in most of these wars depended on money raised outside their country to keep the fighting going, and on gun runners able to get weapons in. American anti-terrorism operations, energized by the shock of the September 11, 2001 attacks, now included cooperation from many nations, especially in Europe, that had tolerated, on their territory, fund raising, recruiting and public relations efforts by various rebel groups. No more. Most of these rebel organizations had already been declared "terrorist groups" (which they were, as most rebellions use terror, the American Revolution included). Once the U.S. and other nations began to crack down on the fund raising and other activities, it became difficult to keep many wars going. [...]

All of a sudden, rebels in many conflicts around the world discovered that negotiation offered better prospects than did continued fighting. And so it came to pass that in the wake of September 11, 2001, peace broke out in many odd parts of the world. And hardly anyone noticed.

One of the most striking aspects of all this is that, while it is we who are considered ignorant of the rest of the world, anyone who understood America and its history even a little would have known that if they just didn't attack us we'd not have paid any attention to what they were doing in the Middle East. Al Qaeda's doomed its own project on 9-11, and those of many other terror regimes and groups.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2003 9:32 AM

One shudders to think whether patience, if used by the nefarious, might still be considered a virtue....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at December 29, 2003 9:46 AM

Well, I imagine you'd agree that these clowns ain't rocket scientists nor history buffs beyond Islamist revisions of the past, but they remember Viet Nam, Somalia and Iranian hostage taking. They remember 1993 and Arafat in the White House. Some of the more afluent of their cult have spent time in American universities and they can read the papers to get the latest from the Democratic left. Anyone whose views of this country were formed in such a manner might honestly believe the crud that justifies the "jihad" while remaining oblivious to the end they will face at the hands of an aroused and angry American people.

Posted by: at December 29, 2003 12:43 PM