Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 10 October 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: October 4, 2001 - New Jersey Record: PEACE CORPS, AID CAN DEFUSE TERRORISM, EX-ENVOY SAYS

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 10:09 am: Edit Post


Oct 4, 2001 - Record, Northern New Jersey Author(s): Jan Barry, Staff Writer

To truly win a war against terrorism, the Bush administration should beef up the Peace Corps and launch a new version of America's post-World War II policy that rebuilt shattered Europe and Japan.

That's the advice a retired Pakistani diplomat offered at a Caldwell College forum Wednesday as he explained how stressed Third World societies can produce murderous hatred.

Military action to take out Osama bin Laden and his followers will not destroy the seething discontent in much of the Third World, said Azmat Hassan, a former Pakistani ambassador to Morocco, Syria, and Malaysia.

Hassan, 57, teaches courses on diplomacy and the Middle East at Seton Hall University, having retired from a diplomatic career two years ago and moved to join relatives in New Jersey.

It is this discontent with the effects of modernization in ancient tribal societies, he said, that creates willing recruits for terrorist groups.

Countering what he called the "cold-blooded mass murder" inflicted at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon is not just a matter of destroying Bin Laden's hideouts in Afghanistan, Hassan said.

Across the Muslim world from northern Africa to South Asia there are caldrons of hatred where people feel traditions are being trampled by modernization without the option of a better way of life, Hassan said.

"The war against terrorism can't be launched by one country alone.

This has to be an international effort," Hassan said. He urged that the United States work with the United Nations to help improve people's lives in impoverished societies to counter the grievances that terrorists feed upon.

Interviewed after the speech, Hassan said that Pakistanis are worried that the flood of Afghan refugees and rising militancy of homegrown Muslim fundamentalists could tear apart his homeland, especially if the United States launches military assaults on Afghanistan from bases in Pakistan.

He cautioned against inflaming the region's fundamentalists, who he said have been indoctrinated by their leaders to blame America for local hardships.

Hassan said that best model for defusing hatred was America's post- war treatment of Japan.

"If Japan hadn't been helped" to recover from military defeat by the U.S. and to build a modern democratic state, he said, "it would be a very different situation today."

Along the same lines, he said, America is widely admired in the Third World for the work of the Peace Corps. That agency's assistance to people at the village and neighborhood level should be greatly expanded, he recommended.

In this new war on terrorism, he said, the U.S. should capitalize on another admirable trait: "The great thing about the United States is the ability to correct policies. It does not have the rigidity of many other countries."

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