- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 30, 2003

Blinded by the light

Former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. recently criticized Western leaders of the 1990s for failing to recognize the danger posed by terrorism and called on the United States, Europe and China to work together to fight what he described as a “perverted branch of guerrilla warfare.”

Mr. Haig, addressing a foreign policy conference in Beijing last month, said the end of the Cold War lured U.S. and European governments into “triumphal self-satisfaction.”

“I fear that history’s verdict on the leaders of the 1990s will be harsh,” he said. “They were so blinded by the light that they failed to notice the darkness creeping upon them.

“The tragic truth is that the United States and other governments should have acted before the al Qaeda [terrorist network] spread its cells. Even worse, the record will show that the world’s response to terrorism over the past 30 years has been weak, erratic and often just plain disastrous.”

Mr. Haig’s indictment included the Clinton administration, which treated terrorism as a crime instead of an act of war, the first Bush administration, which liberated Kuwait but failed to eliminate Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and the Reagan administration, in which he served, for inaction after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983.

Terrorism is as big a threat today as any of the great power rivals of the past, he said.

“Terrorism is, in fact, a perverted branch of guerrilla warfare whereby the weak attempt to ensnare the strong in a series of mistakes that serve to advance the objectives of the terrorists,” he said.

“Part of this strategy is to set nations against each other and to ignite religious conflicts. Indeed one of the biggest mistakes we could make would be to attribute terrorism to Islam. Let us not be misled.”

Mr. Haig emphasized that war against terrorism is “not America’s alone.”

“It is a global struggle with global stakes for international order. … We need each other to succeed,” he said.

Lithuanian visit cut

Lithuania’s embattled president has cut back his scheduled visit to the United States next week, Lithuanian Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas said.

The ambassador says President Rolandas Paksas has decided to eliminate a visit to Chicago planned for Dec. 9-10 and concentrate on the main purpose of his trip, a Dec. 8 meeting with President Bush at the White House.

Mr. Paksas has been under investigation for suspected to links to organized crime. A parliamentary committee of inquiry is expected to release the results of its investigation today.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• A delegation from Albania that includes: Diana Chuli, president of the Independent Forum for the Albanian Woman; Blendi Fevziu, editor of the Korrieri daily newspaper; Remzi Lani, director of the Albanian Media Institute; Misha Piro, director of the Book and Communication House publishing company; and Genc Ruli of the University of Tirana. They will discuss terrorism issues with administration officials and members of Congress.

Tomorrow

• Uladzimir Kolas, former director of Belarus’ National Humanities Lyceum, who discusses educational indoctrination in Belarus at a briefing sponsored by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

• A delegation from Bulgaria that includes: Lyubomir Ivanov of the Atlantic Club, Ognyan Minchev of the Institute for Regional and International Studies, and Boyko Todorov of the Center for the Study of Democracy. They participate in a forum on Bulgaria in NATO at the Western Policy Center.

Thursday

• Israeli Tourism Minister Benny Elon.

Friday

• Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Vu Khoan, who will sign an aviation agreement with the United States.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.


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