Attacks Change Shape of U.S. Foreign Policy

By Sands, David R.; Carter, Tom | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 12, 2001 | Go to article overview

Attacks Change Shape of U.S. Foreign Policy


Sands, David R., Carter, Tom, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Byline: David R. Sands and Tom Carter

The devastating terror attacks that rocked New York and Washington yesterday will produce aftershocks that will be felt in U.S. foreign policy for decades to come.

President Bush faced intense pressure to respond to the attacks before U.S. officials could even hazard a guess as to who had orchestrated and carried out the world's worst act of terrorism.

"Everything changes," said Thomas Henriksen, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a specialist on states accused of harboring terrorists. "Terrorism has always been remote, but now it has touched us."

"This was clearly not an isolated attack," former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in an interview yesterday on CNN. "It can't be dealt with by just one retaliatory blow."

Foreign policy experts predicted a vastly heightened sense of urgency in the global war against terrorism. With much of the early speculation focusing on Islamic fundamentalist groups with links to Saudi financier Osama bin Laden, the attacks could foreshadow a profound change in the dynamics of the Middle East peace process.

Some predict that current U.S. laws forbidding the use of assassination and infiltration of suspect terrorist groups abroad may be amended or repealed in the wake of the attacks.

"There was clearly an intelligence failure of massive, international proportions here," said George Friedman, chairman of the Texas-based forecasting service Stratfor. "It really raises question of whether our intelligence capabilities are up to par."

As expressions of sympathy and outrage poured in from leaders around the globe, several pointed to the attacks as proof of the need to coordinate the response to terrorism. Many of the calls came from states who fear the resurgence of militant Islamic fundamentalist movements on their own borders.

Said Russian President Vladimir Putin: "What happened today underlines the relevance of the offer of Russia to unite the powers of the international community in the fight against terrorism, the plague of the 21st century."

Scrambling for clues yesterday, U.S. officials said in private briefings they suspected the attacks were the handiwork of bin Laden, whom intelligence officials accuse of running an anti-American terrorist network from his sanctuary in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is run by the Taliban, a strict Muslim fundamentalist movement.

"We need to call our allies on the carpet, especially those like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that recognize the Taliban," said Jim Prince of Control Risks Group, a former Middle East specialist for the House International Relations Committee and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, suggested yesterday that the United States must strike hard at the Taliban if bin Laden and his supporters are linked to the attack. …

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