With the Olympics just over a week away, the mood we should display is one of exuberance. However, the one that we have been displaying is one of sheer fear and terror.
In light of recent terrorist attacks in Russia, this fear is quite justified. For almost two decades now, Russia has been involved in skirmishes with both Chechnya and Dagestan. Although these tensions have been prevalent even during the era of the Soviet Union, they exploded following the end of the Gulf War in 1994. It was at this time that the war between the caucuses and the rest of Russia began that only increased the tensions between the Muslim minority and the rest of the country.
By many accounts, this should only be an issue between the Russians and Chechen rebels. For many years, in fact, it had been. But now these rebels seem fit to bring the rest of the world into conflict. Threatening to attack the Winter Olympics would be completely heinous as well as counter-productive for the cause of the Chechen rebels. It would be equally on par with the Munich Massacre by the Palestinians towards the Israeli athletes during the 1972 Summer Olympics.
To be perfectly honest, there have been times where I sympathized with the Chechen rebels. In their earlier years, they did not seem to be fighting on the basis of their Muslim faith but rather simply because they wanted to break free of Russia, which is quite understandable.
The fact that the majority of them were of the Muslim faith seemed to be a non-factor, it was just the faith of a people who were fighting for patriotism. I had often deemed the Chechens as people who were great examples of people who properly practiced their Muslim faith and who would not use it as a force for violence.
However, the recent attacks and threats in Sochi are now falling more in line with Islamic fundamentalism, and that is a grave mistake on the part of the Chechen cause. If these terrorists deem it acceptable to attack the rest of the world during one of the most unifying events, it will not be at all tolerated. The U.S. will certainly not be at all easy going about this.
It is completely understandable for Americans to be fearful of the possibility of an attack. But we as Americans must not allow these terrorists to determine our fate. It may sound cliché, but we must remain stronger and show them that we are still better than they are.
These terrorists must also be wise and remember past events where the U.S. dealt extreme retaliation. One that comes to mind in particular is the great speech that President Ronald Reagan gave in 1986 after ordering an airstrike on Qaddafi after he ordered an attack on U.S. servicemen. Reagan stated, “He counted on America to be passive, he counted wrong. I warned that there should be no place on Earth where terrorists can rest and train and practice their deadly skills, I meant it.”
Judging by President Barack Obama’s ability to take down Osama bin Laden and Qaddafi, any terrorist who might carry out an attack can certainly count on America to not be passive again.
Therefore, while threats of terror may stir us with alarm, we as Americans will remember that no matter what, we have the upper hand.