You are here: Home Knowledge Base Polity Dealing with Terrorism Proposals GES Summary - Dealing with Terrorism Panel
Symposium 2008

Proposal - GES Summary - Dealing with Terrorism Panel

The Challenge

Over the past years there has been a dramatic increase in terrorism all over the world. At the same time, many governments are at a loss on how to combat terrorism. Despite massive counter-terrorist ...

Over the past years there has been a dramatic increase in terrorism all over the world. At the same time, many governments are at a loss on how to combat terrorism. Despite massive counter-terrorist activities, terrorist attacks in weak states such as Afghanistan and Iraq have continued and the threat of attacks in developed countries remains strong.

It is unclear whether we will ever know what is at the root of terrorism. There are many factors—political, social, cultural as well as psychological—involved in whether individuals or groups adopt terrorism as a tactic in pursuing their goals. It would probably be impossible to reduce the threat entirely and we may have to learn to live with that fact—however hard that is.

Nevertheless, drawing from the large number of studies, several actions stand out as medium to long term strategies which governments and societies can adopt to stem current levels and lessen the chance of future occurrences on a large scale.

1) Reduce youth unemployment. Gainful employment gives hope for the future and allows the youth to begin to build for themselves a future. This won’t necessarily undermine recruitment of the tiny number that usually constitute the core of most groups. It will help to lessen the appeal and resonance of terrorist groups to larger numbers who provide the social backing for terrorists’ action. Opportunities for boosting employment and bolstering growth exist in some Middle East countries with declining youth bulges.

2) Publicize the violence and impact on innocent civilians. In order to gain “dramatic” effect, terrorists almost always overdue and their attacks inevitably end up taking their toll on innocent victims. This is unpopular as we are seeing with the growing revulsion with al-Qa’ida’s violent actions.

3) Refrain from overreaction. Harder to say than do for most authorities, particularly in the throes of an immediate atrocity. Nevertheless, violence breeds violence and terrorists’ thrive on a less-than-measured approach by authorities.

4) Address the underlying grievances. Terrorists are only successful to the extent that they can create sympathy for the cause. Sympathizers are only attracted so long as the injustice continues to exist.

Big issue confronting us is how to prevent WMD from falling into hands of terrorists. Diffusion of technologies and scientific knowledge is placing some of the world’s most dangerous capabilities within the reach of terrorists. Use by terrorists would make it hard to accomplish above since it would hard to avoid an overreaction and repercussions—depending on the seriousness of the attack—that may have long term impacts for economic growth, globalization, international cooperation, etc.

    Related Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2008

    Responding to the challenge of global terrorism?

    In the aftermath of September 11, 2001 President Bush declared war on terrorism and sought to marshal a coalition in a “war against terror”. It was clear at the time that describing the campaign a ...

    In the aftermath of September 11, 2001 President Bush declared war on terrorism and sought to marshal a coalition in a “war against terror”. It was clear at the time that describing the campaign as a ‘war’ was ill-conceived. The task was too complex, the ‘enemy’ too diffuse and the time horizon too long to sustain co-ordinated commitment. Most importantly, the common values that would sustain a long struggle were not in place. Lamenting the failure to achieve the desired result, Robert Leiken wrote in 2005: ‘With a few exceptions, European authorities shrink from the relatively stout security measures adopted

    Polity, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2008

    Dealing with Terrorism

    As terrorism is a tactic employed by many different groups in may parts of the world in pursuit of many different objectives, it is a little misleading to think in terms of solutions per se. Terrorism ...

    As terrorism is a tactic employed by many different groups in may parts of the world in pursuit of many different objectives, it is a little misleading to think in terms of solutions per se. Terrorism, like other tactics, will continue to be employed as long as it succeeds in achieving the ends of those who deploy it. The solution then is to render the tactic ineffective. This prompts the question, what is it that terrorists are trying to achieve? The most cursory look at the history of the tactic suggests that terrorists have been singularly unsuccessful in achieving

    Polity, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2008

    Dealing with Terrorism

    The various manifestations of terrorism are as diverse as its causes. Some terror movements are rooted in nationalistic attempts to gain independence, while others are founded in religious fundamental ...

    The various manifestations of terrorism are as diverse as its causes. Some terror movements are rooted in nationalistic attempts to gain independence, while others are founded in religious fundamentalism. Still others see their goal in fighting political and/or economic elitists or supposed imperialists. However, one common denominator is evident: virtually all members of terrorist groups see themselves as unjustly treated outsiders of society. Coupled with a strong sense of personal pride, they refuse to seek reintegration into the society in which they live. This attitude is promoted within a terrorist group, which develops its own code of social conduct

    Polity, Business, Civil Society