The Great Terror Warby Richard A. Falk, Richard Falk
Richard Falk, an international law scholar and veteran of human rights struggles
The horror of September 11 remains indelible. The destruction of that day--and its causes and effects--continues to haunt us. How could the most powerful nation in the world be so vulnerable? How will the US government wage its declared war on terror--and where will that war take us?
Richard Falk, an international law scholar and veteran of human rights struggles around the world, brings to these questions the wisdom of decades of passionate involvement in world politics. Firs outlining what is new and different about the challenge of megaterrorism, Falk thoughtfully teases out the implications of the various US responses: the war in Afghanistan, as declared and as carried out; the extension of the war to Saddam Hussein's Iraq; the domestic focus on security and patriotism; the intensified unilateralism of the Bush administration.
As an independently minded scholar whose interest in politics has always been in enhancing the well-being of people throughout the world, Richard Falk brings a thoughtful and necessary perspective to the current crisis. His political and moral imagination, driven by his humble insistence on both realism and hope, make his words ones to heed for anyone who--despite the news--still wants to imagine a safer, fairer, more humane future for all the world's peoples.
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Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, has written a thoughtful survey of the war on Al Qa¿ida terrorism. He differentiates this from other forms of terrorism, because of its genocidal intent and worldwide scope. Chapter 1 looks at what winning and losing this war would mean. A proper strategy must include a justified war of self-defence focusing on Al Qa¿ida, international law enforcement, and addressing the causes that recruit people to this form of fundamentalism. We must understand, not to forgive individual terrorists, but to change the social conditions that give rise to terrorism. Chapter 2 examines 9/11¿s causes and effects, Chapter 3 the war on Afghanistan. Chapters 4, 5 and 6 look at how Bush has twisted the war against Al Qa¿ida into unlimited, perpetual war for US domination. Bush has smeared all national liberation struggles as terrorist and delegitimised, sanctioned and isolated what he calls `rogue¿ states. He wars against Iraq, and threatens Iran, Cuba, Libya, Syria and others. Falk shows that the Al Qa¿ida threat does not justify the assault on Iraq or any other country. Chapter 7 criticises the US state¿s attacks on American society. Chapter 8 looks at our world, where ¿American assertiveness is no longer deterred by the Soviet presence.¿ From Clinton¿s `unreserved embrace of predatory globalization¿ to Bush¿s worldwide empire-building and warmongering, the US approach has meant `unconditional authorisation for state violence¿. Attacking civilians and their homes is terrorism, whether done by states or by anti-Castro exiles, Chechen rebels, Palestinian `suicide bombers¿, or Animal Liberation Front fundamentalists. Falk mostly upholds the UN Charter¿s prohibition on non-defensive force. Yet he backed the USA¿s 1999 war in Kosovo and its attack on Afghanistan (which was not limited to attacking Al Qa¿ida) because he privileges the ideal of transnational government over national sovereignty. We must uphold the democratic right of all nations to self-determination, which includes the right to self-defence against all schemes for global or continental domination, US or EU empires. Which is to say, we need a working class politics based on workers¿ nationalism.