What Happens Next?
Leon Panetta convenes world-class panel for forum on war and terrorism.
Thursday, December 6, 2001
Pictured: William Perry Over the weekend, Israel was bloodied by yet more suicide bombers. In response, Israeli helicopter gunships rocketed Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat''s headquarters, incinerating his helicopters. This week, the pressure grew as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared an Israeli "War on Terrorism," an echo of America''s own.
Meanwhile, the Taliban are nearly crushed and it''s been weeks since bin Laden made threats on TV. "The Evil One" must be either dead, sucking wind or deep, deep in a cave. Ignore the newspaper reports and this thing seems like it''s over already.
On Monday, Gov. Tom Ridge, the chief of Homeland Security, told the nation to be on guard once again. He said the intelligence services have picked up more "credible threats" of attacks somehow linked to religious holidays this month.
There''s surely more trouble coming. Sometime during in the coming days, terror assaults on Americans are expected, according to Ridge. Where and when is not known, but security at the Super Bowl will be coordinated by the U.S. Secret Service.
The matters surrounding the potential for yet more terror attacks on the U.S. is the subject of an expert-laden forum scheduled for Friday.
Former local congressman and Clinton administration Chief of Staff Leon Panetta is hosting a talk entitled "Terrorism and National Security." The event begins at 7:30 on Friday evening at the World Theater at CSU-Monterey Bay. It''s free, but tickets are required. (Call the Panetta Institute at 582-4200.)
Sylvia Panetta, institute co-director, says the timing couldn''t be better, though the need is unfortunate. "It is timely, no question, in the aftermath of Sept.11," Panetta says. "We know a lot of folks are interested and concerned about matters related to terrorism."
Leon Panetta will serve as moderator. A highly qualified roster has been gathered for the evening.
One expert on hand will be former U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross. Having brokered numerous peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors, Ross is now a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Ross served in the State Department for the first President Bush as a policy director, planning U.S. approaches to the former Soviet Union, the Gulf War Coalition and other end-of-the-Cold War matters.
He was prominent during the Clinton administration as special envoy to the Middle East. During that time he brokered the 1995 Interim Agreement between Israel and Palestine, the Hebron Accord in 1997 and a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan.
Ross wrote an op-ed piece in the Dec. 3 edition of The New York Times calling on Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to act decisively or forfeit his life''s mission of world recognition for Palestine.
Also participating will be a former colleague of Panetta''s, William Perry. He was one of President Clinton''s three Secretaries of Defense, serving from 1994 to 1997. Perry is now a fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford.
Perry recently wrote a book called Preventive Defense: A New Security Strategy for America, along with a counterpart at Harvard''s Kennedy School of Government. Published in 2000, it won high marks for its thinking on new threats and appropriate measures in the Post-Cold War world. The New York Times called Preventive Defense the "most important book by any ex-Clinton official."
Traveling from Washington is Jonathan Tucker, a bioterrorism expert and the director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program for the Monterey Institute for International Studies. Besides extensive arms-control work for the U.S. government, Tucker also went to Iraq in 1995 with the United Nations Special Commission to inspect suspected biological warfare facilities.
Finally, speaking with expertise on Islam and the Arab realm is Kiren Aziz Chaudhry, a professor of Middle East politics at Berkeley. She published a book in 1997 called The Price of Wealth: Economies and Institutions in the Middle East. To write it she spent extensive time researching the book in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The speakers will no doubt note the fact that the forum takes place 60 years to the day after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.