Ways of Curbing Local and International Terrorism
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Ways of Curbing Terrorism
The War on Terror, from the beginning, has been both a war of arms and a war of ideas – a war against terrorists and their terror ideologies (Silk et al., 2013). In the short-run, fighting terror involves the application of instruments of national power to kill, capture or influence terrorists; deny terrorists safe hiding places and control of the nation; prevent terrorists from accessing national territories; render potential targets less attractive for terrorists; and cut off sources of terrorist funding and support. In the long-run, victory over the terror war involves the neutralization of terrorist ideas, which can transform the disillusioned and embittered either into murderers or free people living harmoniously in diverse societies (Silk et al., 2013). Effective utilization of these short- and long-run measures will lessen and eventually end local and international terrorism.
The lasting solution for winning the fight against terror is the protection of human dignity and freedom through the adoption of effective democracy (Silk et al., 2013). The clearest sign of a free society is elections, which can play a crucial role in advancing democracy. However, elections alone are insufficient. Effective democracies respect and uphold fundamental human rights, which include freedom of religion, speech, conscience, association, assembly, and press. They respond to their citizens and submit to the people’s will. Effective democracies exercise sovereignty and maintain law and order within their borders; peacefully address causes of conflict, protect impartial and independent systems of justice, embrace the rule of law, resist corruption, and punish crime. Moreover, effective democracies limit the government’s reach hence protecting civil societies (Silk et al., 2013). Freedom is indivisible in effective democracies. These long-term measures can neutralize terror ideologies hence winning the battle of ideas.
The advancement of human dignity, freedom, and opportunity through effective democracy has been identified as the long-term solution to transnational terror movements today. However, these long-term solutions cannot take place instantly. There is the need to create space and time for the solution to take root. This process calls for the implementation of short-term measures , which can be can be categorized into four priorities of action: prevention of attacks by terrorist networks, prevent rogue states from accessing weapons of mass destruction, prevent rogue states from supporting terrorists, preventing terrorists from controlling weak states from where they launch their attacks (Maras, 2012).
Governments have no higher obligation than protecting their citizens’ lives and livelihoods. The most hardcore of terrorists cannot easily be deterred or reformed; they can only be tracked, captured, or killed (Maras, 2012). This move will help cut them off from the network of institutions, individuals, and other sources of support, which facilitate their operations. Consequently, the network will be disrupted, disabled, and deterred (Maras, 2012). Global coordination will help deny terrorist entries into target states and hinder their movement across borders.
The fact that terrorists access weapons of mass destruction highly fuels terror attacks (Maras, 2012). Aggressive efforts should be taken to deny the access of these materials, expertise, and equipment locally and internationally, incorporating both public and private sectors. This initiative will help immensely in driving international action and focus on ensuring that the international community does everything possible to prevent terrorists from accessing nuclear weapons, knowledge and materials (Maras, 2012).
There is no difference between the real terror perpetrators and the individuals or institutions that harbor and support terrorists. A government that opting to be the friend of terror opts also to be the enemy of justice, peace, and freedom (Maras, 2012). The international community will hold these regimes accountable. The bonds between these rogue states and terrorist enemies can be broken if the world cooperates in disrupting the flow of resources from support states to terrorists while also working simultaneously to terminate state sponsorship of terrorism (Maras, 2012).
Lastly, terrorist enemies are determined to claim certain strategic countries as havens of terror. This notion could enable them destabilize some regions and strike others with ever-increasing violence (Maras, 2012). For instance, the United States’ enemies had put up their sanctuary in Afghanistan before the Operation Enduring Freedom. Today terrorists view Iraq as the base for their war against the U.S. (Maras, 2012). Perhaps this explains why it is vital to help Iraqi and Afghan peoples forge effective democracies. Joint efforts should be taken to prevent terrorists from exploiting under-governed or ungoverned areas as safe havens. Ultimately, these havens should be eliminated.
In conclusion, the war against terror is both a war of arms and a war of ideas. Short- and long-term measures have been identified, which could help win the war against terror, both locally and internationally. Nations should adopt effective democracies where human dignity and freedom are protected and respected all the time. Nations should strive to stop attacks by terrorist networks, stop rogue states from accessing weapons of mass destruction, stop rogue states from supporting terrorists, and stop terrorists from controlling weak states from where they launch their attacks. Emphasis should be put on international cooperation because no individual or state can stop terrorism on its own.
Maras, M. (2012). Counterterrorism. New York: Cathleen Sether.
Silk, D., Spalek, B., and O’Rawe, M. (2013). Preventing Ideological Violence: Communities,
Police and Case Studies of “Success.” New York: Palgrave Macmillan.