A New NATO Double-Track Decision Against TerrorOnly a new combination of containment and dialog can defeat terrorism
What amazing strategic successes have been achieved by the West in only 15 years: the military threat of the Warsaw Pact has been neutralized; NATO and the EU have been extended throughout the whole of Central Europe. Freedom and human rights dominate in Europe; Germany has been reunited and communism is dead.
These unique victories were based on NATO strategies which consisted of a clever mixture of military strength as well as a willingness for dialog. Outstanding examples are the Harmel Report of 1967 and the NATO Double-Track decision of 1979.
Up to today, there has been a lack of a comparable major strategy to combat the threat by totalitarian fanatics cloaked in the veil of Islam. Military thinking dominates on the one hand, and ignores the fact that a war is only then won when the hearts of the enemy have been conquered (Eric Hoffer), and on the other hand a moralizing “policy of peace” that encourages even more these fanatics through “provocative weakness” (Fritz Kraemer).
We urgently need a new transatlantic NATO Double-Track decision “For the Terrorist Challenge and a Partnership with the Islamic states” consisting of two equally important columns: a credible law enforcement as well as military containment and power politics on the one hand, and an active dialog with the Islamic cultures regarding a common future on the other hand.
The following basic principles should be included in this dialog:
Treaties of Friendship: NATO, America and Europe encourage the cooperation, as friends of the Islamic states, through a mesh of international contracts.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance: Fellow citizens of the Moslem faith in Europe and America are to be treated with respect. We, in turn, expect the same in the Islamic partner countries—including the unhindered practice of religion.
Youth Politics: In particular, the young academics of Islamic countries struggling to find a perspective must be addressed. Joint school book commissions should develop new concepts for the teaching of tolerance.
Media Policy: Media commissions are to draft concepts for the containment of hate propaganda and put forth examples of cooperation. For example, television broadcast companies must no longer serve as a megaphone for terrorists.
Dialog of Religions: The Church has a special responsibility in providing an essential contribution to the dialog with Muslim clerics and reconciliation.
On the level of nation-states—including the U.S.A.—the European Union and NATO, the best suggestions should be collected and bound together in a transatlantic NATO workgroup.
In 2005, the heads of state and governments should agree upon a new Double-Track decision to be put into action by Europe and America.
The dialog should focus initially on key Islamic countries such as Indonesia, the most populous Moslem country in the world, or the Gulf States with their more progressive thinking rulers. Turkey could carry this dialog into the Moslem countries of central Asia.
Only in this way will America and Europe win the war against terrorism, as with so many decisive conflicts before.