Editorial to Geostrategic Pulse 183 - About terrorism again

About terrorism again
Corneliu PIVARIU

“Terrorism is the cancer of the modern world. No state is immune to it. It is a dynamic organism which attacks the healthy flesh of the surrounding society. It has the essential hallmark of malignant cancer: unless treated, and treated drastically, its growth is inexorable, until it poisons and engulfs the society on which it feeds and drags it down to destruction.”
Paul Johnson1

After the 8 January 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, I approached again my book on terrorism2 and I was rather surprised by the fact that the developments in the fight against terrorism did not have an essential progress in the last 10 years, while terrorism is continuously adapting and causes victims almost anywhere on the globe.

I am considering not only the secret services, which stand in the first line of counter-terrorist actions, but particularly the political class in all the countries, which, in the globalized world dealing with so numerous political, economic, financial and social problems, proves to be inefficient and unable to adopt an articulated and unitary position in order to fight this phenomenon.

How could such a unitary position be established when there is still no international definition of terrorism unanimously accepted, although the first attempts in this respect happened in 1937, but the project presented by the League of the Nations was not approved by the organization, and, according to some sources, at present there are approximately 300 definitions of terrorism? The well-known expression “for some he may be a terrorist, but for others, he may be a fighter for freedom” illustrates the difficulty in identifying a unanimously accepted definition of terrorism. We cannot be naïve enough to believe that this international inability is not based on divergent and difficult to conciliate interests.

A lot will be written after the attacks that took place in Paris this year, books including. We present in this issue of our magazine two excellent articles and this Editorial, in which we can only briefly eulogize all those who fight in the first lines against terrorism of all types, pay our respects to the innocent victims and note that the beginning of 2015 indicates not only an augmentation of terrorist actions, but also a breach in the democratic world’s attitude towards the fight against this rod. I refer to the quite controversial absence of an American dignitary from the solidarity march organized in Paris on 11 January (State Secretary John Kerry could have participated, since he speaks French quite well and on 10 January he was already in Europe, at Munich, where he met the Sultan of Oman – Qaboos, even though on 11 January his agenda included a visit in India). Naturally, Moscow closely measures this situation and Kremlin would be very happy if important transatlantic divergences were confirmed, giving it the chance to certainly use them for its own interest.

Another essential problem in the fight against terrorism is the relation between security and the respect of man’s individual rights, since it has created numerous approaches and disputes. However, it is very clear to us that regardless of how much man’s individual rights were given up, no state can guarantee complete safety of its citizens against terrorist acts.

The success of the fight against terrorism lies in the annihilation of the support offered to terrorist organizations by the communities in which they originate, and not in the number or terrorists killed or captured. Identifying and understanding the human factor in terrorist organizations and the different attendance of terrorism supporters are important factors of success. This cannot be done only by the technical means of the intelligence services; appropriate capabilities are necessary for the analysis and exploitation of the human factors and ideology in terrorist groups. It is essential and most difficult at the same time to annihilate the factors that participate in the development of this phenomenon.

1. Paul Johnson (n.1928)- English journalist and  historian, author of numerous books, most important being “History of Christianity” (1976), “History of Jews” (1987), “The Intellectuals” (1988), “Modern Times” (1993).
2. Corneliu Pivariu – “Terrorism – from local threat to global danger” (“Terorismul - de la ameninţare locală la pericol global”), Pastel Publishing House - Braşov, Romania, 2005.

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