Wednesday, October 25, 2006


The Economist has a really good article on the Arab World in its current issue, found here.

In this, the Economist makes one very interesting point. It says (but not in as many words) - "The mistake that the US made after 9/11, that it clubbed all the terrorists together. However, Al Qaeeda is vastly different from Hamas or Hizbullah. Al Qaeeda has a more global agenda, while the concerns of Hamas and Hizbullah are more local." Failure to differentiate between various terrorist organizations has also led to a failure in prioritizing as to which organization to deal with first. Trying to take them all at the same time is now proving burdensome for USA.

Politicians are often criticized for being not idealistic and too compromising. Here, Bush tried to lay out a very idealistic version of his policy - "We are against all terrorism". And it has backfired. Should one conclude that good politics would always call for chosing amongst the lesser evils (minimax, or minimize your maximum losses) ? In this case, for instance, USA could have ranked Al Qaeeda as its number one target, and Hizbullah somewhere down the order. This would have implied that USA continue maintaining relations with Syria (USA clubbed Syria in its Axis of Evil in 2002 for supporting Hizbullah).

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