So We Give The Terrorists What They Want. What Happens Next?

The main reasons I’ve heard for why terrorist groups are so Anti-American and are attacking America are as follows:

  1. Our unwavering support for Israel. And our unwillingness to help/liberate the Palestinians.

  2. U.S. presence in “holy” lands. Particularly our presence in Saudi Arabia.

If the U.S. were to totally or even visibly stop its support (including military support) for Israel and started to support the Palestinian cause, would this curb Arab anger? What if the U.S. started to give military support to the Palestinians? Would this get the terrorist groups to see America in a more positive light? Or would they just find another reason to hate America? Would a decreased or non-existent American presence in the MiddleEast really curb Anti-American sentiment?

“If you give a mouse a cookie” seems appropriate here.

If you give terrorists what they want, they only come back for more because they see the tactic works. If not these terrorists, then another group with another axe to grind. Pretty soon you have formerly peaceful groups taking up weapons because they know bombs work where words don’t seem to be.

You’d probably start seeing Israeli terrorists.

Technically I suppose you’d see a short term drop in terrorist activities against the US. Nevertheless a country as large and powerful as the US is today will always find someone who has an axe to grind with us.

Remove the Palestinian, Israeli, Saudi Arabia issue and others will arise. Maybe they’ll get cheesed off becasue we keep oil prices low and thus deprive them of money to feed their families. Presumably they despise our lifestyle as well as far out of accordance with Allah’s directives. They view us as decadent. Maybe they will hate us for suggesting that women in their countires should be treated better.

In the end I think you will find that such groups are motivated by others who wish to keep power. Be it Muslim clerics or their own governments. Take a group of poor, disenfranchised people and you’re going to have problems with them. If not directed they will likely direct their anger inward towards their government and maybe religious institutions. Look through history to see how most revolutions started. If you are one of the people in power you obviously do not want that to happen and if you’re smart you redirect those people’s anger elsewhere. “WE’RE not the cause of your problems! It’s those damn heathen Americans!”

You can even see it in the present situations. IIRC Palestine (not that there ever was such a thing but those who today describe themselves as Palestinian) was supposed to be absorbed into Jordan. At the last minute Jordan didn’t let it happen. Further, consider the aid the Arab world has given to the Palestinian people. How much of it was in the form of food, education, infrastructure improvements and so on? Relatively little. How much of it was in the form of guns? Most of it. It served the Arab powers political interests to keep a thorn in the side of Israel and through extension the United States. Eventually it became apparent that Israel likely couldn’t continue to exist without the storng patronage of the US so hatred shifted or at least expanded to include the US.

Take away whatever you like…till deeper issues are resolved in the Arab world it is my opinion you will see them continue to rail against the US.

I agree, they will always want a little more. If not OBL, then somebody else. And besides, Saudi Arabia asked us to have a presense in their country after the first Gulf War.

If there’s one area I strongly agree with the President about it is the fact that we cannot give an inch to terrorism, or be perceived as doing so. To allow such an image would be to invite more attacks with different agendas. We could continue giving in, of course, but then we’d simply offend another group which would commence the suicide bombings until we saw things their way… repeat ad nauseum.

No. Down either path we will see violence. Better to show it is ineffective as a shaper of public policy and hope at least some learn other methods than prove we can be intimidated and thus invite more.

As long as the demands of the terrorists are unreasonable this is a tenable course of action.

If, hypothetically, the US or any other state were (perhaps clandestinely) engaged in immoral/unethical behavior which spurred the terrorist response, is it right to continue with that behavior, just to show them that terrorism doesn’t pay?

In such a case as I just mentioned, I feel the proper course would be prompt extirpation of the associated terrorist organization, followed by a leisurely review of our own policies.

In my never humble opinion, we should only be shown to take action after rational dialogue takes place. If we make talk the best mode of action to effect change, we also make that the best path for groups to go down. While it would be foolish to say that all terrorism would disappear, we would at least not be encouraging in increase in it.

“We should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate.” — John F. Kennedy

Bullshit. If intransigence worked, then Israel would have ended its terrorism problem long ago. Not to mention Britain and Sri Lanka. You are advocating a policy that has been proven ineffective time and again.

Did France have a problem with Algerian terrorism after allowing and then respecting Algeria’s referendum on whether to secede?

Not even close to the same thing!

Britain and France were maintaining their empires in places they clearly weren’t meant to be. For Israel to do the same they should go where exactly? Recall the stated aim of some of these groups is the complete destruction of Israel not to mention the Arab world has attacked them twice (or three times?).

Problem is the Palestinians have nowhere to go either so for now they seem stuck with each other with a solution nowhere in sight. This lends a convenient rallying point to any disenfranchised nutcase looking to cause trouble. Further, if you look into it more closely you can see that other Arab nations encourage this behavior either overtly or covertly or at the very least give it a wink and a nod.

Sometimes I think the best thing Israel could do would be to recognize and setup a Palestinian state unilaterally. Granted that state would still likely bitch about land that belongs to them but now they could use the UN to air their grievances and be eligible for funds to improve infrastructure and such. It’d also give the US and Israel something more coherent to aim for then flailing about with random attacks that do little more than piss off the Palestinians. They could attempt to install a government that’ll give more than lip service to slowing or stopping terrorists. Once setup Israel could no longer randomly take land either without being accused of invading a sovereign country. Finally some of the wind would be taken out of the sails of terrorists in other countries who use it as a rallying point. The Palestinians have their country and government and while maybe not the ‘ideal’ they would like it is a start.

Not perfect I know but I can’t see how it is really any worse than what they have today.

Before anyone tells me that Israel wasn’t ‘meant’ to be where it is either and is an artificially created state post WWII I know that. However, like it or not they are there and there to stay short of getting wiped off the map by their Arab neighbors. By the same token Americans shouldn’t be where they are as they took the land away from American Indians. Also not a very shining point in our history but I think you’ll see the Israelis pack up and move out when non-native Americans decide to do the same and go back to Europe.

In short…never.

We give the terrorists fodder, and they come and repeat 9/11 in some form or another.

Simple as that.
Personally, I do not forsee any change in the foreign policy concerning the middle-east, except maybe for another war.
In any event, what we are doing now is not really stopping terrorism, no matter what Bush has told us.

Moot point. Fighting terrorism with intransigence rather than trying to solve the problem doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked for Israel. If it had, there wouldn’t be suicide bombers. Regardless of the history or the circumstances, you need to show that the hard line against terrorism works when no real world example that I am aware of suggests that such a proposal is even remotely effective.

Regarding Arab absolutism, you may want to consider the difference between a negotiating position in response to the partner’s position and a true wish. For example, here it is noted that

In regards to being where one doesn’t belong, you might also note that “In fact, by signing the protocols to the UN-sponsored peace negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Arabs had ‘accepted the legitimacy of the UN partition Resolution …, abandon the idea of Palestine as a unitary Arab state, accepted the reality of Israel, and agreed to solve the dispute by political means.’” And that, as I’ve been led to understand it, the soon-to-be Israelis were occupying town and killing civilians in April of '48. See for example, this.

However those latter points are orthogonal to the issue at hand: Using a cutesy wanna-be aphorism as an argument to defend a thesis that is obviously false to even the most blind observer is bullshit pure and simple. No offense. (Seriously.)

The mark of a scheme, plan, program, policy, or strategy that is effective is that it works. The hard-line response does not work; if it did, then we wouldn’t have these long-standing terrorism problems. To say that intransigence to terrorism is effective is to say that the drug war is effective, that preaching absinence is effective, and that American prisons have low rates of recidivism.

Well, yes, actually. The GIA, the main Algerian terrorist group, hijacked an Air France flight in 1994, and was behind a string of bombings throughout the 90’s.

Does nobody read Kipling any more? Once you pay the Dane-geld
you never get rid of the Dane.

It is allways a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say:-
‘We invaded you last night, we are quite prapared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.’

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is allways a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:-
‘Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.’

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray:
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say:-

We never pay ANY-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!’

I have to agree with js_africanus; hard-lining is an ineffective strategy. And Whack, I think you’re taking a strawman position regarding the Palestinians. You can say that their goal is to wipe Isreal off the face of the Earth, but then I could just as easily say Isreal’s goal is for a Palestinian state never to exist, and to never give up even one square inch of the currently occupied territory. Obviously, if there is ever going to be peace, BOTH sides will have to compromise.

What everybody forgets:
OBL and his terrorist WERE NOT from the poor, disenfranchised arab masses. On the contrary, they were recruited from the upper middle and upper classes of the arab elites! His group are total fanatics-they can neither be reasoned with or negotiated with. The only course of action is to destroy their bases, and make them so unwelcome that any host countries cannot afford to support them.
Arafat and the palestinians are a different group these are people who have a stake in maintaining relations with the West. They can be dealt with, provided some compromises in a palestinian state can be worked out.
But for OBL, the only thing that can be done is to destroy him and his followers.

True, but that was 30 years after France left Algeria and was the result of very different situation, spillover from an Algerian civil war/insurgency that started in 1991. You can’t really relate that to the anti-colonial terrorism that did indeed stop after the French pull-out.

I could be wrong, but I’m not aware of any Algerian terror attacks in France between the 60’s and 90’s.

  • Tamerlane

If people actually read posts instead of leaping to conclusions, they would realize I was not advocating unilateral refusal to compromise. If a peaceful group of Arabs wished to discuss ways to keep the holy cities of Mecca and Medina untainted ground, I would vote we listen and, if valid points and a workable situation are presented, follow through.

I also never said hardline positions against terrorists would stop them. My point was you can’t stop terrorists. Neither path will solve the problem of fanatic violence from somebody, but better not to encourage that path.