November 9, 2001

Moving Toward a Worldly Understanding

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Continuing the ongoing discussion of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented, “Global Development and Terrorism: Related Topics?” yesterday afternoon.

The event also served as an introduction to a CALS class that will be offered in the spring which will allow students to examine the issues in even greater depth, said James Haldeman, director of international programs with CALS.

The panel’s featured speaker, Lawrence Busch, sociology professor at the University of Michigan, spoke on globalization and the U.S.’ role in foreign affairs. About 150 people attended the discussion in the David L. Call Auditorium in Kennedy Hall.

Busch explained that many potential terrorists begin as people who are experiencing “rapid downward mobility,” from a socio-economic point of view. Terrorist leaders then provide an ideology for these potential terrorists, often combining religious and secular elements. Once financial backing and technology is available, terrorists are trained in a cult-like atmosphere, Busch said.

He also discussed U.S. foreign policy, dubbing it “how to make enemies and influence people,” adding that the country took too much of a short-term, convenient viewpoint to foreign policy, with an unpredictable and often fickle support of its allies.

Busch continued to criticize the U.S.’ role as the world’s largest arms supplier. He denounced the U.S.’ tendency to fight “proxy wars,” such as previous U.S. support for Afghanistan fighters against the USSR in the 1980s and other authoritarian regimes.

Busch voiced strong disapproval for the bombing in Afghanistan.

“If you liked Vietnam, you’ll love this war,” he said.

To resolve the terrorist conflict, Busch suggested the U.S. coordinate intelligence, resume sending humanitarian aid and “treat terrorists as criminals.”

Most importantly, “we have to recognize U.S. responsibility in the world today,” Busch said.

Prof. Samer Alatout, near eastern studies, who accompanied Busch on the CALS panel, urged for a movement that could counter the network of violence that spurred the current state of affairs.

Alatout called for “a network of peace that does not lend itself to rhetoric of terror or rhetoric of war.”

The next speaker, Omer Saeed Bajwa grad, also highlighted ways of fighting terrorism.

“Education is the only answer because ignorance leads to intolerance, and intolerance leads to injustice,” Bajwa said.

Archived article by Shannon Brescher