What Next for U.S. Foreign Policy?

Power, stability, and the post-Iraq world order.

(Page 7 of 7)

reason: How could civilian-based defense resist terrorism? I don't see how noncooperation could be useful in dealing with someone who's blowing up a café.

Sharp: No, it's not. Of course.

There would be several possibilities. One is to spread the know-how for nonviolent struggle so widely that the people who now end up being terrorists don't. They choose to use this other method.

There was no terrorism in Poland, in the struggle against the Soviet Union and the indigenous Communist government. There was no terrorism in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. There was no terrorism in Serbia. Because they chose a different way to struggle.

I think it's a nonsense assumption that you can get rid of terrorism with war. Because terrorism is taking the lives of noncombatants, innocent people, to gain your objective. War is basically the same thing on a larger scale. And using military means to fight against terrorism simply teaches future terrorists that they weren't cruel enough. That they didn't kill enough.

If you don't want them to use terrorism as their means of fighting, you have to make it clear that there are alternatives.

reason: But once a group has already started using terrorism -- once planes collided with the World Trade Center -- you've passed a boundary. How do you respond to an attack like that?

Sharp: That's a little bit like, "How many feet are you from the cliff?"

reason: Let me rephrase the question, then. Once you're on the cliff, what can someone who wants to stop the terror do?

Sharp: I don't have the answers. I'm not sure anyone else does either. Under those kind of circumstances -- once the bomb's already been dropped from the airplane and it's on the way down, what do you do? It's that kind of a situation. Of course you have to do things to deal with casualties and take care of people and all that.

reason: How would you describe your politics?

Sharp: I think everything from political structure to the scale of governments has to be re-examined. I think the unification of all Europe under one government is really very unfortunate, for example. I lived in England and Norway, back and forth, for 10 years, and I appreciate relatively small countries. Putting all the populations of Europe under one government -- which has to be military, which has to have police, which has to have a massive inaccessible bureaucracy, where people have little control over the central government -- that's really crazy.

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