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the November 2001 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 48,
Martin Winter, Frankfurter Rundschau
(liberal), Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 13, 2001.
attacks on New York and Washington have changed the Europeans
world as well. Anyone who believes that mere expressions of solidarity
will do, and that the fight against international terrorism can
be left to the Americans, is seriously mistaken. Even though the
United States was the most seriously injured party, this is not
an American but a global problem. When European governments refer
to the blows as attacks on Western civilization, they are getting
to the heart of the issue. But words must be followed by deeds.
And that has not always happened in the past. This was not necessarily
the result of ill will, but rather the result of a mixture of minimizing
the extent of the threat, ridiculing American fears, and concrete
interests in the region itself.
Europe does not have to fall into the black-and-white mind-set that
the United States has come close to in calling some nations rogue
states in order to recognize that its soft policies toward
certain countries cannot, after Sept. 11, be continued. At the same
time, Europe needs a strategy for combating terrorism, one that
will not push the world into a spiral of uncontrolled violence.
The governments of Europe will need to provide voices of reason
to keep the United States from acts of blind vengeance. With appeals
alone, the Europeans will achieve nothing. There would be all too
many people who would see Europe, then, turning one blind eye or
another to the problem.
Assurances that Europe will stand staunchly beside the United States
in the struggle against terrorism will make sense only if they answer
European interests, and deal with them as well. Only such assurances
will impress the Americans and convince them that a joint action
is under way. French, British, German, and Italian security agencies
can provide valuable assistance in the hunt for the attackers, their
helpers, and their sponsors, who are spread throughout many parts
of the worldif they receive clear political instructions.
It would also be helpful if Paris, especially, but London as well,
refrained from the games they have played in the crisis region,
dark games harking back to their days as great powers.
And the United States cannot avoid taking another look at its relationships
with nations and political groups that provided direct or indirect
aid to the terrorists, or are suspected of such. Where necessary,
the political and economic screws must be tightened. At the same
time, the European Union must increase its efforts toward peace
in the Middle East and bring the United States into this effort.
That will certainly not make any impression on violent terrorists,
but it would make it harder for them to justify their acts. Terrorism
can also be fought through political isolation.
The EU is on the way toward becoming a great power. It wants to
be an example for the world. Good. But if it does, then it must
assume convincing responsibility for fighting the worlds forces