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Professors publish report on terrorism

Laura Vilim | Monday, December 8, 2003

A recent report written by Kroc Institute fellows George Lopez and David Cortwright urges the United States to renew its commitment to international alliances and weapon non-proliferation treaties as a means of protecting its citizens and other nations from terrorism.The report, titled “Toward a More Secure America: Grounding U.S. Policy in Global Realities,” takes issue with the Bush administration over methods used to combat terrorism. Based on two years of research and input from 22 international policy advisors, the report argues for a collaborative security effort within the international community.The authors were asked to write the report based on their beliefs and findings regarding the war on Iraq after developments in Iraq.”A number of high level former officials were familiar with our work on sanctions, especially in regard to Iraq,” said Lopez. When it turned out by May that the Lopez [and co-author] Cortwright team were correct, that is, that the sanctions and inspections had actually worked to deprive Iraq of the ability to produce weapons systems, “our stock and credibility went up and a number of folks suggested we enter the wider foreign policy fray.”The report’s main argument says that “Through cooperative engagement with other countries, multilateral disarmament, the strengthening of international institutions, and carrots and sticks diplomacy, the United States can protect itself against terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and realize a more secure future.”The authors believe that the way the United States implemented its invasion of Iraq hurt the war on terror because it detracted from any real debate about how best to combat terrorism. They caution against allowing the media’s hype of the war on terror and the “axis of evil” to mask the mounting problems in American foreign policy.Instead of focusing on Iraq, according to the report, American government officials should focus on cooperating with international institutions and other countries to improve counterterrorism intelligence. Finally, Lopez and Cortwright contend that terrorism cannot simply be fought militarily, but efforts are needed to reduce the root causes that drive people to act violentlyThe report also received support from the Fourth Freedom Forum, an institution that promotes the effective use of economic incentives-carrots- and sanctions-sticks-to free humans around the world from the fear of war.The report also includes two other co-authors from the Fourth Freedom Forum, vice-president Alistair Millar and research director Linda Gerber. David Cortwright serves as president of the Forum. Lopez and Cortwright have worked together since 1992 and have written and published over 20 articles and five books. One of the main purposes of writing the report is to encourage people to think about the military strategies the United States has employed in the war against terror and to discuss their impact, according to Lopez.”It is meant to spark more intense debate about the trade-offs that have been made that we believe have compromised out ability to win the war on terror,” he said. Lopez also said that some of the officials involved with the report will be speaking on campus about the issues in the near future and that the report will possibly be used in some classes next semester.