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America's New War: International Reaction to Tuesday's Attacks

Aired September 17, 2001 - 03:20   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: For more now on the wider international reaction to Tuesday's attacks. I'm joined from London by James Geary of "Time Magazine."

Mr. Geary, thanks so much for being with us.

Let's -- how do you see international reaction thus far in terms of what the U.S. is planning to do?

JAMES GEARY, "TIME MAGAZINE": Well, certainly in Europe, there's enormous support for the United States in the wake of the attacks.

At the same time, there is also great concern that whatever military action -- military reprisals are taken in response to the attacks are well targeted and don't lead to a worsening of the situation or a spread of the situation to other parts of the world.

HOLMES: Is it -- is there a fear that that may occur -- that the U.S. might be a bit trigger happy perhaps -- that there's a desire to strike back and strike back now?

GEARY: Well, I think that's one of the reasons that some European leaders such as Tony Blair in the U.K. and the French President have been asking the United States to provide evidence of the links between the perpetrators -- the actual hard facts that they have discovered that would justify the attacks. I think this would go some way to allaying, perhaps, some public fears that the U.S. is lashing out without proper due process or in an act of revenge rather than an act of justice. And I think that could further enflame public opinion throughout the world.

HOLMES: How much juggling needs to be done? How delicately handled does this need to be?

I mean we've been talking in the last hour or two specifically about Pakistan. I mean there is a country that has to answer to its own religious zealots, supporters of the Taliban, not to mention Islamic countries on which it relies itself. The ingredients are potentially there to create enormous civil unrest. How difficult is it going to be for the U.S. to fight this war without upsetting someone somewhere?

GEARY: Well, I think it will be impossible. I think people will be upset in many places. And I think that's also part of the diplomatic concern.

Here in Europe, there's more of an emphasis on a diplomatic offensive, if you will, to go along with a -- with a military response. And you can envision something such as a Marshall Plan for the Muslim world, for example.

I think its -- European leaders feel that it's important for the U.S. to show that this is not a clash of civilizations. In fact that's just the way the terrorists present this conflict -- that it is a battle between civilization and barbarism. And I think some kind of diplomatic, economic, political gesture towards Muslim people and Muslim governments in the world would be -- would be most welcome. And that would allay some of the fears about a military response I think.

HOLMES: And the fact that striking hard may just sort of provoke the anti-American fanaticism that it's designed to eradicate.

How do you see the future of the word alliance? You know, alliances in when we think of NATO and we think of other pacts around the world -- if we're going to be looking at alliances between the United States and Islamic countries, it really changes the very nature of the word alliance, doesn't it?

GEARY: It does indeed, and I think that could be one of the positive things that results from this horrific situation.

If, for example, in the Gulf War, if a similar alliance to that one could be created and sustained -- and I think that's the crucial point -- that when military action does take place and it certainly will take place and I'm convinced it will be massive military action -- that along with the economic and diplomatic and political efforts that I -- that I mentioned earlier -- if these

(AUDIO GAP)

HOLMES: ... softly, softly, if you like. And then you said you were expecting a massive response. How do you see those two views tying in?

GEARY: Well, I think it's -- I think a massive military response is required, given the nature of the attack on the United States. I don't think the U.S. government or the U.S. -- the American people would settle for anything less.

But as I said, that's -- that won't solve the problem of world terrorism. That will -- that just in many ways could exacerbate the problem and leave the recruits of more like-minded people especially if civilians are involved.

So I think a two or three-pronged effort is necessary. The military aspect is certainly probably the first thing that will happen to be combined with perhaps economic aid and a major diplomatic push to address some of the underlying issues that feed this kind of fanaticism. So I see these things working together.

HOLMES: OK. James Geary of "Time Magazine" in London, thanks.

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