G-8 Response to the London Bombings
Il Corriere della Sera's Franco Venturini has written a powerful opinion piece on the G-8 response to the July 7 London bombings.
The Half-Hearted Unity of the G-8
The powerful men at Gleneagles chose to view the spectacle from afar, dedicating the conference to misery in Africa and to atmospheric pollution, but the carnage in London rained on the first session of the G8 with scientific precision, reminding them of their ineluctable and urgent task: the War on Terror. When an angry and emotional Blair went on TV to offer the assurance that violence would not change British values and would be defeated, behind him stood George Bush and Jacques Chirac.
And next to Bush stood Hu Jintao with Indian leader Singh and Brazilian President Lula. All of them, members of G8 and invited guests, Europeans and Americans, prosperous Westerners and developing nations, conveyed their unity against terrorism by their presence and with their facial expressions, which never before had seemed so firm and solemn. The decision to continue the conference in order to avoid any display of weakness to the terrorists was merely a logical corollary to their unity, and today, at the conclusion of the conference, there will be further testaments to firm determination.
But behind the solid line of defense against a common enemy, behind the collaboration among intelligence services, once hardly "allied", behind the coordination between teams of prosecutors, does unity really exist against international terrorism? Certainly that unity was real following the September 11 sledgehammer and the campaign to oust the Taliban. Then a period of division occurred with the controversy over the Iraq war and differing perceptions of the terrorist menace on both sides of the Atlantic. After that, there came the definitive demonstration of shared vulnerability to terrorism with the Madrid bombings, followed by London. But has recognition of the shared vulnerability translated into a common strategy of response? Paradoxically, behind the solid wall of defense shown yesterday by the G8 team there is evidence to the contrary. The United States and Great Britain continue to believe that the War on Terror must be fought in Iraq. Italy and Japan are not belligerents in Iraq but they contribute in different ways to the Anglo-American effort.
France, Germany, Canada and Russia (and we could throw in China) are not present with their troops in Iraq and were against armed intervention. If it is true that the main battle against terrorism is being fought in and around Baghdad, as George Bush is fond of repeating, then the least one could say is that the political solidarity shown yesterday in Gleneagles does not correspond to any convergence of analysis or threat estimation among the G8 nations.
To be precise, it is the CIA and the British Institute for Strategic Studies which are reporting with much concern how Iraq and Afghanistan are being transformed into new and ample production lines for anti-Western terrorism. And how the number of Jihadists, trained in the school of the shadowy al-Zarqawi and ready to return and operate in Europe, is growing.
It is time to hope that together with these expert revelations that the London bombings will force the G8 into an informal reexamination of its anti-terrorist strategy. An examination able to translate itself into a more credible operational strategy than that presented yesterday, a more precise analysis of the causes and aims of terrorism--beginning with Islamist networks--and a greater awareness of the present emergency, which cannot be sacrificed to personal preference or even to national interests. We’ve seen the alternative, which Londoners faced yesterday.