OPINION

Editorial

The shock and horror caused throughout the world by Tuesday’s terrorist attacks may prompt the beginning of a systematic worldwide cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The USA saw not only the EU but also Russia stand by it in its most trying moment. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s harsh and unambiguous reaction was a pleasant surprise to Washington and seems to open new doors in US-Russian relations. Moscow has suffered from the blind violence of Islamist Chechen rebels and has every reason to be sensitive on the issue. It is worth noting that governments across the world, regardless of their political affiliation, sensed that, this time, things were quantitatively different. Until now, terrorism was seen as a violent phenomenon which was, however, marginal in comparison to political, geopolitical equilibria and developments. This time, the scale was different. The terrorists surpassed all limits in the character and the consequences of their attack. Beyond hitting the Pentagon and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the hijacked airliners also inflicted a severe blow to the foundations of democracy and to the notion of Politics per se. Blind violence and the cultivation of horror cannot be politically legitimized. The relentless criminals will obviously invoke selfless motives but this makes no difference. Democratic countries have a vital interest in rooting out terrorism. This means that they must eliminate all types of terrorist organizations but, at the same time, they have to dismantle the ideological and political mechanisms which reproduce the phenomenon. Greece basically shares Western principles, values and way of life. Our equal participation in the unique experiment of European integration is not the result of a simple political decision. It expresses something much more deep and solid. Greece is, of course, a country which has long faced a national security problem and which has reasons to be disappointed in the USA’s stance on its national issues. Beyond this discontent, however, and any political disagreements with US policies, the Greeks sincerely mourn along with the American nation for they realize that what is at stake is democracy and the common cultural values which uphold it.