This essay is by David Cortright, President of the Fourth Freedom Forum, and a visiting faculty fellow at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Cortright argues that the US must be careful about its response to the September 11 attacks, lest it further enflame anti- American sentiment. He suggests a number of alternative approaches to military action that focus on multilateral actions to mount an international criminal prosecution.
"Developing an Alternative, More Effective Strategy"
A viable alternative is needed to the strategy of responding to the September 11 terrorist attacks with military force. The United States is preparing for unilateral military strikes that could make matters worse by killing innocent people, further enflaming anti-American hatreds.
To punish the perpetrators and prevent future terrorist attacks, the United States should cooperate with other nations to mount an international criminal prosecution. The response to the September 11 attacks should be multilateral not unilateral. It should be under the authority of the UN Security Council and in accordance with the principles of international law.
The alternative strategy would include the following actions:
The United States has an unprecedented opportunity now to work in cooperation with other nations to mobilize an effective multinational campaign to apprehend those responsible for the September 11 attacks and eliminate the threat of future terrorist attacks. Unilateral or excessive use of military force may erode the sympathy and goodwill that the United States has received and impede the international cooperation that is essential to stamp out terrorism.
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