Rebels, insurgents, paramilitaries, separatists, militants, guerrillas, insurrectionists, fundamentalists... are these all terrorists? The UN has been striving for decades to find a wording for terrorism which, instead of "all its forms and manifestations", narrows down to a specific profile of violence which can be condemned regardless of the circumstances.

The vocabulary of terrorism has become the successor to that of anarchy and communism as the catch-all label of opprobrium, exploited accordingly by media and politicians. All countries must deplore indiscriminate acts of terrorism which kill and maim civilians and which create a climate of fear.

Global terrorism threatens to undo a generation of multilateral endeavour for human development, inspired by principles of social justice and human rights. Foreign aid budgets are struggling in the wake of security priorities.It appears that this environment will become even more volatile in the near future as weapons of mass destruction become available to those groups that want to use them.

Nevertheless, real doubts linger over the capacity of politicians. The fundamental adjustment of attitudes necessary to neutralise terrorism can perhaps be engineered only by good citizenship. We may need to devote more energy to the integration of mixed ethnic communities and to the inequalities that are inseparable from modern economics.

The most effective response to the terrorism problem requires a two-front strategy that has short-term and long-term components: dealing with the current terrorists and dealing with the fundamentals that produce and encourage terrorism. Most all of the governmental effort is focused on the short-term problem and not the long-term one so it is reasonable to presume that if the fundamentals that encourage terrorism are not addressed in a significant way the problem will continue and grow.

In the same way that technology is enabling the terrorists, the developed world is turning to technology as a principle defense against future destructive individuals and groups.

These pieces of the solution were neither connected together to form a significant pattern of behavior that could be responded to, nor was there interest in this possibility at higher levels within the bureaucracy.

The response has been to develop major rapidly growing new initiatives in the defense and intelligence arenas to remedy the “connecting-the-dots” problem. If the pieces of the solution are out there, how are they identified and related to each other in a way that provides enough substance to be actionable?

New proactive approaches and incentives are required that are based on the understanding that this is a global system and we all share responsibility for its well-being.

Terrorism is unconventional warfare. There are no fronts, no armies, no battlefields. The solutions therefore will not come from militaries, which are largely designed for fighting other armed forces. The solutions will come from new approaches that address the whole person, not just the political and economic components. This is about individual people, their values and aspirations – and cultures, some of which have not changed much over centuries. Different people and groups will require different approaches – one size will not fit all. The new solutions will be complex and sophisticated and necessarily not look like the past. But if we are going to safely make it through this extraordinary, historical transition, we must not do the old things – we must invent new ones.

Copyright 2008, trizsigma.com. All rights reserved.
Designed and Hosted by
Mirage Solutions