Enough newsprint is wasted over millions of strategies on the War on Terror, since the term was coined after September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. With a decade gone, little progress is evident to wipe out extremism across the globe. With the current US President getting a Nobel Prize even before he probably uttered a single word in his State Address, many hoped to see the deciding times in this global phenomena, which has spiraled ever since. But unfortunately it was not so. Here's five reasons why:
1. Foreign Policy based on "Hope":
Nothing is more naïve and impractical when a distinct foreign policy is based on perceptions and hope, and when that foreign policy is related to war, it is nothing short of catastrophe. Obama dealt with the Arab world reset in his Cairo speech, based on hope. The reset with Russia, hope again. Engagement with the neo rebellions and monarchies in the Arab Street, based on hope. He infact even hoped that traditional terrorist organizations will take his hopeless rhetoric, and even listen to a ceasefire without no active engagement. Result, money flow, blood flow, and gunpowder smoke. Not much changed since 2001. Not much will also, as Hope can never be an alternative for practicality.
2. The Eastern Eye.
The need to engage with Russia was an absolute must. Russia has a traditional sphere of influence over the Central Asian republics, Russia is itself a victim of Chechen terrorists who are heavily linked with Al Qaeda and global Jihad. Russian intelligence is experienced in dealing with these cancers since the Afghanistan days. Any active cooperation would have resulted in massive data exchange, intelligence gathering, opening of new corridors in Central Asia, under Russian supervision and cooperation, as an alternative route to Pakistan for Afghanistan theatre, which is specifically the hotbed of the global Jihadi movement. It could have proved a major turning point and balance shift in this war. Even joint operations like the one against the drug lords in Afghanistan would have been hugely beneficial. But...there is one thing...which is a major hitch...the Cold War Confrontational mindset...
One country can take up a whole point of argument in any debate, and the credit goes to Pakistan. The recent Raymond Davis affair, the ISI warning to USA, to cut down Drones, while Pakistan itself refuses to take any action against their own terrorists raising the baseless "Eastern Front against India" bogey, was symbolic of a rot that went deeper than the skin. Pakistan is unchangeable now, despite their almost non-existent liberal civil society, the overwhelming poverty, illiteracy, and urban apathy. It's a lost state. And history is proof to the fact that a lost state only knows the voice of the iron mace. The policy on Pakistan is a hugely unpopular one even in US domestic front. With billions of dollars aid money going to the hand of the terrorists, Coalition trucks on the border being sitting ducks to the whims and fancies of Talibans operated by the Pakistani intelligence, and the general indifference of the Pak army to take on the challenges head on, this policy of appeasing is going to be a failure. Pakistani Government has a habit of using the word "core" in every official document, they use. Kashmir being a core issue, drone being a core irritant. What the world fails to understand is the failed state is a core problem for the security of the world, as the Chechen, Al Qaeda, Somali, Arab, and Taliban terrorists, all find refuge in the mountaneous North West Waziristan. This core problem needs to be addressed, and addressed urgently and globally.
4. Empire strikes back.
How exactly otherwise, can one, explain the reaction of Britain and France on Libya! With exceptional evidence of Al Qaeda in the ranks of the rebels of Libya, with their own admission, with the country being no threat whatsoever against any national security, with Gaddafi being an overwhelmingly secular leader, and one who dismantled his WMD programs, and even allowed the UN inspectors, why on Earth did US even got influenced to attack Libya, is a puzzle that's baffling analysts World Wide. Russia, China, India, Brazil, didn't support intervention, that's almost one third of humanity. Even Germany, a major member of EU and NATO, went practically against the flow. Everyone expected a better judgement from the Obama, who is speculated to be cold and analytical and much different than his predecessor. But the quest for easy glory and immortality is always alluring, more so if it comes through the smoking guns. This knee jerk action will have its reactions, as Libya is slowly sliding to be a "tunnel without end", and this wisdom, or the lack thereof will haunt Obama for the rest of his Presidency, and perhaps for the rest of his life.
5. The need to look beyond.
Look beyond clichés, look beyond NATO, or the speak of democracy and bringing freedom and all those hackneyed talks. NATO is redundant and superfluous now. It has grown massively, diluting its homogeneity and practically a framework which doesn't have any responsibility, sense of camaraderie and undertaking. It would much help in small 3-4 country engagement, zonewise, with the regional powers. For example, there's problem between Saudis and Iran, let them solve it themselves, with the greater powers supervising that it doesn't break into cold war. There are much greater perils facing the World, and the faster USA understands the genuine causes behind these perils, without generalizing, and gunslinging, the better for her.
Sumantra Maitra is a journalist, and columnist, who writes for various newspapers including Washington Examiner, and Jerusalem Post. He provided first hand eyewitness reports of the Mumbai Terror Attacks of 2008, for the British website, The-Latest.com. You can follow him on Twitter, @dailyworldwatch.