[EDITORIALS]U.S. needs multilaterialism

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[EDITORIALS]U.S. needs multilaterialism

The first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is today. The fears that the attacks raised have never abated. The world is moving to the next stage of a war on terrorism as the United States plans to launch military action against Iraq. Although al Qaeda's hierarchy has been disrupted and the Taliban regime crushed, the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden is unknown. As a war of attrition against an enemy in hiding is prolonged, American unilateralism grows rampant. A worrisome situation, in which the international coalition against terrorism has been fragmented, is being created.

We fully understand why the United States takes pre-emptive and preventive measures to secure the safety of the American people and prevent the recurrence of terrorism. For the safety of the American people, however, it is frustrating to see that the rights of the Islamic world being infringed upon and dialogue between Islamic culture and other cultures being disrupted. This, in turn, amplifies and deepens anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world.

The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 were motivated by hatred and hostility toward the United States and its policies. Therefore, the solution does not lie in a war, but in political and diplomatic efforts. Nevertheless, Washington insists that military action should be escalated with the aim of eliminating Saddam Hussein of Iraq. There is no way for us to know about the connection between Saddam and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, or about the possibility of a nuclear attack from Iraq. Before taking military action, it is necessary for Washington to get an international consensus on its actions by presenting objective and clear evidence.

No superpower can guarantee the safety of its own people from terrorist attacks. Suicide attacks are a threat to the civilized world and they cannot be justified under any circumstances. Even when the United States is the target, the whole world suffers in the aftermath.

It was noted at the Asia-Europe Press Forum, organized by the JoongAng Ilbo to mark the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, that the United States should respect the opinions of its allies, and Asian countries should raise their own voices.

The United States should keep in mind that a coalition is stronger than unilateralism in a war against terrorism.
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