País (liberal), Madrid, Spain, Sept. 14, 2001.
could have imagined that Article 5 on collective defense of the
North Atlantic Treaty, signed in 1949 and intended to
defend Europe from the Soviet threat, would be activated for the
first time 52 years later, after a terrorist attack against the
the United States? The allies have demonstrated the greatest degree
of solidarity in considering that this attack was against all, even
though they retain their freedom of action. But the [American] president
will be forced to manage the conflict with skill: This is not the
Gulf War to liberate the territory of Kuwait.
has shown its full solidarity. It also suffers the scourge of terrorism,
one that does have a name: ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna), the Basque
separatist organization. Iraq did not join in the expressions of
rejection and horror at what has happened, while Afghanistan claims
it had nothing to do with the attack. A large number of Arab and
Muslim countries have manifested their solidarity with Washington.
But there is a major difference between expressing solidarity and
supporting Bush in some modality of response. As occurred during
the Gulf War, there is tension in many Islamic societies.
These signs of international solidarity ought to lead the United
States to return to multilateralism and to stop acting, as it has
done on too many occasions, as a lone ranger. The situation created
by the atrocious attack has once more highlighted the need for an
international justice system, with the creation of the International
Criminal Court, which the United States has so far rejected.
the moment, the coalition should serve, first and foremost, to unify
the capabilities of the various intelligence or espionage services.
It is rather unlikely that the response will require any direct
military participation by the allies, but the fight against terrorism
requires that the various secret services exchange all the available
information, as this is the only way that the mobility and capabilities
of these groups will be reduced.
punishment should not turn into a crusade that spills over beyond
the fight against terrorism. To choose the right measures will be
more complex than planning the counter-offensive in the Gulf War
was. More than a war, the United States and the international coalition
must push forward global police action on an enormous scale, even
though it might involve removing some regime that may have collaborated
with the terrorists. On everyones mind is the Taliban regime.
Bush must weigh the long-term effects. The French government is
right in asking the United States to see to it that the world after
the punishment will not be left even more dangerous than the present.
It must be a world that is more free but also more secure.
action must serve to put an end to terrorism and to generate an
international movement against all its manifestations.