Joschka Fischer: A military response alone will not win war on terror

From a speech at the 40th Munich Conference on Security Policy, by the German Minister for Foreign Affairs
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The Independent Online

It is becoming more and more apparent that the crisis in Iraq will not be solved without a sustainable long-term reform process in the region as a whole. Notwithstanding the controversy about the war in Iraq, we have long shared the view that following 11 September 2001, neither the US nor Europe and the Middle East itself can tolerate the status quo in the Middle East any longer.

For the Middle East is at the epicentre of the greatest threat to our regional and global security at the dawn of this century: destructive jihadist terrorism with its totalitarian ideology. This brand of terrorism does not only pose a threat to the societies of the West, but also and above all to the Islamic and Arab world.

We cannot counter the threat of this new totalitarianism by military means alone. Our response needs to be as all-encompassing as the threat. And this response cannot be issued by the West alone.

If we were to adopt a paternalistic attitude, we would only inflict the first defeat upon ourselves. Instead we must formulate a serious offer based on genuine co-operation, an offer to work together with the states and societies of the region.

This jihadist terrorism is not strong enough to achieve its political aims by a direct route. It is therefore attempting to embroil the West, and above all the United States, in a clash of civilisations - the West versus Islam - and to provoke it into over-reacting or making the wrong decisions, thereby bringing about the destabilisation of the entire Middle East.