Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Terrorism PART 4 Countering Terror

Based on the history of terrorism, the changing face of terrorism, and the principles of terrorism that have been developed in this paper, three general models emerge that can successfully diminish the success of terrorism.
History has shown that in a truly totalitarian regime terrorism has a negligible success rate. Due to the comprehensive control afforded by totalitarianism, and the brutal nature in which uprisings are suppressed, four of the five principles are immediately interdicted. Intelligence is not available, since almost all actions are controlled and monitored. Propaganda cannot occur openly, so its effect is minimal. Technology is not available to the masses in an unrestricted manner, and international support matters little since it will never be advertised to the general populace. The one principle that may be satisfied is grass roots support, but due to overwhelming fear, few citizens will act on this. Saddam Hussein's regime is an excellent model of totalitarianism. All media and communications are controlled by the government. As a result, propaganda does not take place. Technology is not available to the masses, and intelligence gathering is extremely limited in scope. Although some groups, such as the Kurds and Shi'ites, have managed to mount rebellions, they were quickly suppressed with overwhelming force. The general population lives in fear for their lives, and is unwilling to stage a rebellion. Pockets of resistance still exist, such as the Kurds in northern Iraq, but their survival is completely reliant on allied control of the no-fly zone. Once this protection is removed, their presence will be short lived. The only way for such groups to succeed would be through international support, supplying them with technology, arms and intelligence. If equipped with these things, they may achieve limited propaganda and be able to mobilize their grass roots followers. Without such interdiction, however, success is not possible under the current conditions. Fortunately, for many countries in the world, totalitarianism is not a viable or humanitarian option.
Countries that are able to remain completely isolated technically, politically and economically will be quite successful in combating terrorism. Bangladesh, for example, has no technical infrastructure so it would be a poor target for cyber warfare. Its limited media prevents terrorists from gaining a true voice to the people. Lack of economic value diminishes international interest. Due to its political isolation, it is able to carry out its own policies and actions without concern for political fallout. For many countries in the world, however, isolationism is not a viable option, either, because they are too internationally intertwined technically, politically and economically.
History has shown that democratic nations, like totalitarian regimes, are seldom toppled by revolution. Unfortunately, due to the free nature of pluralistic societies, they are much more susceptible to terrorist attacks. Freedom of the press allows for intense propaganda and grass roots campaigning, along with the weighing in of international opinion. The proliferation of technical equipment and manuals allows for the creation of advanced weapons. Freedom of movement allows for unrestricted intelligence gathering. The goal of democratic nations must be to limit terrorist attacks, while at the same time maintaining individual liberties. History testifies to the fact that authoritarian regimes are most vulnerable to revolutions. The goal of any terrorist group, within a democratic society, is to strike it until it begins to withdraw individual freedoms. Once this occurs, the population at large becomes enraged, and the terrorists are able to gather grass roots support and progress down the path of a revolutionary campaign.
Perhaps the best way to combat terrorism, and still maintain some semblance of humanity, is through the proliferation of democracy and economic well-being. By utilizing the Trojan Horse approach, and spreading the economic, political and technical prowess of the West, non-Western nations will become more reliant and involved with Western nations and terrorism will find less of a foundation. Almost no noteworthy threats to the US currently come from the Western world. Even technically and economically advanced nations such as Japan and China offer little in the way of terrorist threats. The majority of terrorist organizations are rooted in economically deprived countries, or countries with an authoritarian regime. In order to adequately combat such groups, two key areas must be pursued:
1) Economic stability
A large majority of the revolutions that have taken place, although bearing a political message, have focused on class struggle. This is the central theme of Marxism, and has even played a role in the Arab-Israeli conflict (rich Jews vs poor Arabs) and the Irish conflict (rich Brits vs. poor Irish men). Nationalism is key in numerous campaigns, but it is questionable how much of an issue nationalism would be if all the parties involved were economically equal. The lines of nationalism become more distinct when they're unofficially drawn based on economic vitality. The same would apply for religion, etc. A central requirement for adequately combating terrorism is to assist third world nations with the development of their economic infrastructure. This does not mean opening these countries to Western capitalism. Doing so would only increase anti-Western sentiments, because the local populace would quickly see rich Americans taking over their country, with little benefit to the natives. Economic enhancement means offering the guidance and training to allow these countries to foster their own economies. This will help to sway grass roots support in favor of the West, limit the effect of propaganda, and withdraw support for intelligence activities.
2) Technical stability It has been noted that the US and its Western counterparts are most vulnerable to electronic attacks. This is because non- Western nations lack similar infrastructures. By assisting fellow nations to develop similar infrastructures, we are not only facilitating their economic viability, but we are integrating them with our own infrastructure. Once that is accomplished, foreign terrorist attacks may become less attractive, because an attack on US system is also an attack on their native system. Technical proliferation provides a level playing field for all parties, thereby removing the exclusive vulnerability of the US. With global technical infrastructures, the vulnerabilities are shared. Critics would be quick to point out that such a move would offer enhanced technology to the terrorists themselves. However, this is an incorrect assumption, since the technology is already freely available to terrorists. A hacker in Libya has access to the same tools as a German hacker. What differs is the infrastructure supporting them. The German hacker is much more open to attack, even though they both may have the same tools. The Libyan hacker can disrupt the daily life of the German--the opposite does not hold true. Truly democratic societies have little to fear in relation to revolution, as long as they continue to protect individual liberties and avoid authoritarianism. In an effort to ensure stability and minimize the threat of terrorism, energy should be expended in helping other, less-developed nations to improve their economic and technical infrastructures. Terrorism is a phenomenon that can never be expunged. It is a part of history that will be ever-present. Yet, through the study of history, and attempting to limit the progression from terrorism to revolution, nations can at least limit their vulnerability to attack. An important foundation in counter- terrorism is understanding of the Principles of Terrorism, and how to adequately stunt the growth of each one. Three successful models exist for doing so, with Pluralistic Expansionism being the most promising and humanitarian.


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