chattanooga shooting memorial Johnathon Henninger/ZumaPress

Containment begint in eigen land

NEW YORK – Eerder deze maand opende Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, een 24-jarige Amerikaanse staatsburger afkomstig uit het Midden-Oosten, het vuur bij twee militaire kampen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, waardoor vijf mensen om het leven kwamen. Deze lokale terreurdaad had ook nationale betekenis, want het was een bevestiging van de waarschuwing van de vroegere Amerikaanse diplomaat en strategisch adviseur George F. Kennan dat Amerikaanse buitenlandse beleidsmakers hun neiging in toom moesten houden om tot actie over te gaan, vooral in militaire zin. Je kunt immers nooit weten wanneer de terugslag zal komen, aldus Kennan, maar komen zal hij.

Onvoorzienbare gevolgen waren precies wat Kennan zorgen baarde toen de Verenigde Staten in 2001 Afghanistan binnenvielen, en Irak twee jaar later. Het was immers geen toeval dat velen van degenen waartegen de VS in Afghanistan vochten, waaronder Osama bin Laden zelf, geassocieerd waren geweest met de Mujahedeen, de guerrilla-achtige eenheden van islamitische strijders die door Amerikaanse strijdkrachten als opstandelingen waren getraind tijdens de Sovjet-bezetting van 1979-1989. De Verenigde Staten hadden in de jaren tachtig ook het Irak van Saddam Hoessein bewapend om een oorlog te beginnen tegen Iran.

Na de terroristische aanslagen van 11 september 2001 vroegen de Amerikanen: “Waarom haten ze ons?” Hoewel de VS sindsdien op hun eigen grondgebied geen aanslagen meer hebben ervaren, ging de regering van president George W. Bush vrijwel ongehinderd door met de verwoesting van twee islamitische landen – en die verwoesting is ook na het presidentschap van Bush voortgezet in de vorm van een steeds heviger wordende campagne van drone-aanvallen.

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