Today's date:



By Shimon Peres

JERUSALEM -- The attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers and the Pentagon uncovered another side of globalization -- the globalization of terror.

Until now, we were aware of economic globalization. When economic life shifted from the land to science, technology and telecommunications, territories and borders lost their importance. The economy became global instead of national. And much that belonged to the state was privatized.
Globalization also minimized the importance of armies, created primarily to protect land. No army is capable of conquering science or cyberspace.

Traditional wars as a form of defense are gradually fading -- despite the fact that they have not ceased. Rather, the conflict is one between the connected world, that is thriving on high tech, and the disconnected world, entrenched in agriculture, poverty and nationalist aspirations.

Terror appeared to be, until now, the weapon of the poor and of the bitter fanatics living in yesterday's world. Now it has become an even more dangerous instrument, because modern weapons, as well as civil planes, have fallen into the hands of those who, in the name of a God that condones killings, turn into mass murderers and exploit global means of communication to cross borders.

The world thus must move from a position of national strategy to one of global strategy, from battles between national armies to a fight against global danger.

This new global danger has no borders. Its soldiers can strike anywhere at any time. Unfettered by human values, they perpetrate atrocities that are indiscriminate and limitless. Slaughtering innocent people and disseminating horror, they are the personification of present-day Satan.

There is no room for compromise with such evil behavior. Should such terrorism be allowed to prevail, every water system could be poisoned and every infant threatened. It could jeopardize the freedom and security of every country, of every individual. It could create pandemonium in domestic and international flights, dealing a fatal blow to tourism and ruining global trade.

How should terrorism be confronted?

To start with, the magnitude of the danger should be recognized and its true nature identified. It is necessary to understand that terrorism will not cease until the hand of the last terrorist in the world has been stopped.

The present situation needs to be clearly perceived: We have armies lacking enemies, and we have dangers lacking armies to defend against them.

There is no other option but to adjust the whole of the global defense system to address the new world danger we are facing.

NATO, for example, was founded to contain the Soviet enemy that no longer exists. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has no real enemy, yet it has at its disposal extensive forces, large budgets and skilled experts that could be utilized to fight not yesterday's foes but today's. Naturally, NATO's present coalition needs to be changed to include Russia, India, China and Japan, that have positioned themselves together with the United States and Europe in the new alliance against terrorism.

NATO would also need to adopt a new strategy appropriate to fighting terrorism. As opposed to conventional wars between armies in uniform fighting at the front, the campaign against terror will be directed against enemies without identity cards, fought more in dim corners than on front lines.

It is a conflict that will deal with lies, distortions and the hypocrisy of murderers who promote terror even under the guise of clerics. It is a campaign that will punish countries that sponsor terrorism and support nations that oppose it.

This battle needs to be planned in a systematic manner, using every available tool to thwart terrorist threats: precise and updated intelligence information; full cooperation; curbing of overt and covert incitement; scrutiny of funding sources; control over media exploitation. And all this will have to be effected under difficult conditions, for democracy cannot, and must not, divest itself of its moral values that make it worth fighting for.

None of us seeks to turn the fight against terrorism into a war, or an excuse for a war, against religions or peoples or specific groups. The battle must focus only on terrorism. Because of this, clerics and other spiritual leaders should openly call on the devout to join this battle. They must prohibit acts of suicide by some for the purpose of killing many.

The new danger is great and terrible. It cannot be overcome with empty threats or the swing of a single sword. On global scale, we must all come together in a common cause to defeat it.

(c) 2001, Shimon Peres. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.
For immediate release (Distributed 9/26/01)

back to index