Does anyone have a coherent idea of just how the US should handle this crisis?
I've posted this on two other threads as well as this one. The first time was in response to someone's question. I figure it couldn't hurt to post it here, too.
GUEST, just a nobody... we do everything we possibly can to promote, protect, and preserve a coalition with as many countries in the world as we possibly can.
We work together with all of the countries in the coalition to come up with a plan to use diplomatic, law enforcement, and finanial avenues to isolate and starve the organizations who are responsible for the terrorist attacks. This includes holding banks accountable for any help they give to terrorist organizations by sheltering money for them.
We make absolute sure that we do not do anything to destabilize any countries that have governments who are friendly to us or who are willing to help us.
We learn to work with other countries as equals instead of acting like a father figure to them and treating them like children.
If there is anything that is going to save the US, it will be for us to learn that we need the rest of the world, and we need their help as much as they need ours. If we fail to learn this lesson, I fear that we are in very big trouble.
The first and most important thing, in my opinion, is that at this moment in history, perhaps more than any other moment in history, we not only have the compassion and sympathy of much of the rest of the world, we also have their empathy. By that, I mean that they can, probably for the first time ever, see themselves in our shoes. This is very critical, and should not be wasted.
Because of this, they will very probably be willing to work with us and help us, as long as what we propose to do helps all of us. Most other countries probably won't have the burning desire or need for retribution that we have here. Most of them will probably be interested in solving the problem of terrorism, and no more. If we use our military might in a way that destabilizes countries that are crucial to this effort, at least one of which has nuclear weapons (Pakistan), the other countries in the coalition will probably recognize that they will not be helped in the long run by these military actions, that they may, in fact be hurt, and may remove themselves from the coalition.
I did a research paper about a year ago to find out what is the most powerful motivator for people. This was not research that originated with me. I was researching work that was done by others. What I found was that the most powerful motivator is what I would call "enlightened self-interest". By that I mean, people are motivated the most powerfully, and in the most lasting way when they understand how it is in their best interest to behave in a certain way. But what makes it enlightened self interest is the understanding of how what is in their best interest is also in the best interest of others. So, obviously I'm not talking about extortion. I mean people are motivated most powerfully by what is genuinely in their best interest.
If the US says, "You must do what we want or you will suffer in some way", that would be extortion. If we say, "We must work together to find a way to solve this problem in such a way that we all benefit", that would be motivating people through the use of enlightened self-interest.
Once we have built a coalition of willing participants that is based on the idea of enlightened self-interest, we determine what the benefits will be for all of the members of the coalition. The most obvious would be to protect all of us from terrorism. Even the banks will probably suffer in the long run if terrorism is allowed to destroy the economies of many of the richest nations on earth. So, even for the banks, there is an element of enlightened self-interest in helping to eliminate terrorism. In fact, it seems to me that there are probably very few groups, nations, or other interests who would benefit in the long run from allowing terrorism to continue or to flourish in the world.
If we put together such a coalition, we will need to identify what sort of actions would be detrimental to any of the members in the long run. One example of this would be if we caused, through military action in Afghanistan, destabilization in Pakistan resulting in an overthrow of the government now in place which is friendly to us at this time, by Muslim fundamentalists who are friendly with the Taliban. This, of course would be contrary to Pakistan's self-interest (as defined by the majority of people there at this time, which would likely change if we killed a lot of Afghanis), and it would also be contrary to our self-interest, because we would then have two enemies in the place of one, and one of them with nuclear weapons.
You see where I'm going with this. So we form a solid coalition. We work with the coalition as equals, rather than as an authority figure who says, "you're either for us or against us". Then, we put together the best minds that each of the countries in the coalition have at their disposal, and formulate plans to use the tools at our disposal to find out who the terrorists are, and how leverage might be applied to dry up whatever resources they have to help them to accomplish what they are trying to do. And whenever it is possible to, try to take into custody important figures within the terrorist organizations only if doing so does not put any member/countries of the coalition in jeopardy in any significant way.
It seems to me that the most important thing we can do to the terrorists is to remove their sting. Even if they are still walking the streets, if they are perceived as ineffectual and weak by the starry eyed youths whom they would want to recruit, would anyone want to join them, much less give up their life for them? Take away the glory and there is no point in any of it. We don't take away the glory by killing them or making them glorified prisoners. We take away the glory by making them ineffectual.
This isn't in the other posts, but I'm putting it here. I think we need to get our act together with regard to basic security issues as well. Things like the air marshals and better inspection of passengers, etc.