OPINION

Commentary

The deep turmoil and the emotional reactions caused by the devastating terrorist attacks in America on September 11 have created an extremely tense climate worldwide. No one, of course, can ignore the great shock to American society caused by the strikes or not justify the indignation of the US public which demands that the perpetrators be tracked down and punished. And it would be naive not to expect that, in the wake of the recent events, the US leadership would try to restore its dented image through a dynamic confirmation of its power. However, it is not possible to disregard the fact that several US officials and some of their close allies in Europe are trying to stigmatize those in the West who are pondering the root causes of global terrorist activity or the global impact of a head-on confrontation between the West and the Muslim world. These officials, driven by various motives, are in fact applying pressure in an attempt to undermine critical thinking about the decisions of the angry superpower. Those who criticize today’s events, considering the dire effects of a potentially excessive US response, those who did not rush to protest in public their genuine grief and indignation over the murder of thousands of American civilians, are showing tolerance of the Islamist terrorists and are imbued with anti-American sentiments, this thinking goes. Wishing to render themselves useful to the superpower – or to flatter it – these circles are achieving the opposite results of what they intend. Through such tactics as blacklisting, which have already been fiercely criticized in Europe and also by cool-headed American commentators, these hawks are undermining the political and moral arguments invoked by the US leadership in order to justify its moves on the international arena. US and European officials who encourage these agents may derive some benefits in the short term from their influence on political figures and a section of the press, but these benefits are minor compared to the great damage done to the cause they are seeking to promote.