Kerry - as seen by Europe
Can he get more global support for the war on terrorism? Not likely, say analysts.
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One hope dangled by the Kerry camp is that improved international ties could help "tear down the walls" that separate intelligence agencies both domestically and internationally. Intelligence experts are skeptical. They say international cooperation has improved immeasurably since Sept. 11, that information sharing is routine and enthusiastic, given that every major country in Europe is concerned that it might be next on the terror hit list.Skip to next paragraph
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"Cooperation is at a higher level than it has been ever before in the history of terrorism and that's a very good sign," says Paul Wilkinson, head of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. "It exists even where there have been important policy differences. France and Germany were deeply opposed to the invasion of Iraq, but have continued to give close cooperation on terrorism."
Further synergies may be hard to achieve: There comes a point where spy agencies are reluctant to give up their jealously guarded secrets. An intelligence service is defined by the agents and informers who sustain it, and giving these away is tantamount to surrendering essential assets. "You don't give away your capital very easily," says Mr. Romano. "Don't expect too much more along those lines."
The Kerry-Edwards message towards the terrorists has been clear: expect no let-up. But analysts say it is the wider diaspora of disaffected Muslims that will be crucial. Those communities must decide whether they are with or against the jihadists.
"The hard-core terrorists - you can't change their minds - but you have to offer a more attractive vision of the future to the footsoldiers and that comes right back to policy issues like Palestine," says Rosemary Hollis, Middle East expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
A breakthrough in Israel would, it has long been argued, generate an important reservoir of goodwill to sustain relations with the Muslim world. But new presidents tend to take a long time to make any headway in the Middle East. Many only find traction during a second mandate.
"This is an area on which people on this side of the Atlantic will be disappointed," says Joyce. "There won't be a major shift in a Kerry administration. Democrats are traditionally quite pro-Israeli and the signs that Kerry will take a drastically different approach are not really there."
Dr. Hollis adds: "A difference of style may not be enough to get an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will translate into a sense that the US is a just and fair player again."
So with little political capital to be won from the Middle East, how else could a Kerry team reach out to disenchanted Muslims? US troops have left Saudi Arabia, but their formidable presence elsewhere in the region still riles.
Professor Wilkinson says the answer lies in taking a multilateral approach, and ensuring that one's own house is in order.
"Whoever wins the November election is going to find that multilateral multipronged, intelligence-led strategy absolutely vital," he says.
But to win "the battle of ideas" and prevent the creation of new generations of suicide bombers, he says, "we must live up to principles of human rights and democratic law so that young people throughout the Muslim world see we do practice these ideals."