OPINION

Commentary

Despite the incredible pressure of American public opinion for an immediate reaction, and the grief and pain from the horrifying loss of innocent lives in the terrorist attacks of September 11, the administration of President George W. Bush has avoided taking action, waiting until a clear picture of the situation has emerged and it has collected the necessary evidence to implicate organizations and foreign countries. The anti-Arab climate stoked by the US mass media has brought a demarche from Saudi Arabia, while extremist, racist reactions have already cost the life of an Indian immigrant who was apparently mistaken for a Muslim, raising serious concerns among moderate Americans. US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is emerging as a most worthy political leader, believes that irrespective of the form that American retaliation will take, the United States must deal seriously with the regional crises and especially with the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, well-informed sources in Athens said. Powell has been in frequent contact with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. This proves that a team within the US administration is beginning to deal with the root causes of the radicalization of Arab and Muslim elements which respected political analysts place in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This does not mean, of course, that this restrained political approach will prevail, nor that there will not be a forceful response against a Muslim country – most probably Afghanistan. American retaliation will come and it will be strong, but the essence of the issue is in the parameters of American foreign policy beyond its military and security dimensions. Recent history has shown that many major foreign policy initiatives by America, such as the end of the Vietnam war and the restoration of ties with China, came during Republican administrations. In this case, it is possible that the war on the plague of international terrorism will include a more balanced approach to the Palestinian problem by the United States. But in the meantime what everyone is waiting for is US military retaliation for the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the possible response by the terrorists. Diplomacy is not yet the focus of public attention.