. ..The United States has much more vital interests at stake in the Arab world than its European partners, and therefore a misdirected response to the terrorist attack would have a greater impact on Washington than on any European capital. The political and economic stability of, for example, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Kuwait is much more important to Washington than to the European countries – including even France, which has developed autonomous activity in the Mideast oil market. The concerns expressed by many European commentators about the danger of the crisis evolving into a clash of civilizations between the West and the Islamic countries are not groundless. But this issue is primarily of concern to the USA, as American society is a multiethnic and multicultural one and a clash of civilizations could pose a serious threat to its cohesion. Furthermore, it is clear that the aim of the American leadership, and particularly of Secretary of State Colin Powell, is to form a broad front against terrorism, which will include Arabic and other Muslim states. And his intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shows that he is prepared to tackle the problem that fueled the extremism of the Arab world in a more open-minded fashion than did his predecessors. The concerns of several European politicians are indicative of some degree of embarrassment, in view of the creation of a common security zone which will be mainly administered by the USA…

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