Terrorism: a Problem of Modern World
Terrorism now and forever will be a problem in our world. Since the attacks against the United States on September 11th, 2001, more and more effort has been made in hopes to slow terrorism. Yet, in most cases throughout the world it has only shown to grow. In fact, the Global Terrorism Database reported that over 3,000 Americans have been killed due to terrorist attacks from 2001 to 2014. Now that there is a bigger spotlight shining down on terrorism, many have lost sight of what truly signifies components of terrorism versus random violence. Therefore, it is crucial to first understand the parts of terrorism as well as its causes and effects to realize we are far away from the end of terrorism.First off, the perception of terrorism is commonly misconceived because of the different meanings it has among various groups and people. In other words, there is no true agreement of the term’s definition.
However, it can be best defined as “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims (Oxford English Dictionary, 2018). Certainly, one simple definition won’t grasp the complex concept of terrorism therefore, it is important to realize the characteristics of the idea. In terrorism there are typically terrorists and terrorist groups who hold responsibility of violent actions in achieving their political aims. First, terrorists alone are known to hold some of the same characteristics. Professor Gunderson once said that many terrorists generally are seen to be young single men who believe to be a “misfit of society and a point often overlooked is that they’re well-educated thus, holding a higher intelligence to carry out their devised acts. On the other hand, Gunderson explained how many of the terrorist groups tend to be mobile with a small membership that’s very tight knit. Another key point is that these groups are likely to only last between five and ten years.
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All in all, the changing contexts of the term surely make it harder to grasp but the characteristics of terrorists and groups have proved to stay true. The question many then ask is, how did terrorism come about? For one thing, this isn’t something exactly new in our history but rather something developed over time into what is now modern terrorism. In “A History of Terrorism written by an American historian named Walter Laqueur, there are historical examples that he offers an insight on how terrorism has grown. An early example used were those of a religiously motivated rebellious Jewish group called the Zealots. Under the ruling of the Roman Empire the Zealots sought to find a way to overthrow its current regime. Therefore, the Zealots turned to violence as the best way to accomplish their aims of territorial control in defeating its government and as a result, they would carry out assassinations against anyone who represented a part of the government. At times assassinations would even occur in broad daylight and amongst many people in order to gain a greater reaction. Additionally, the Zealots would also damage vital infrastructures to society. Truly, this was one of the first examples of terrorism. Next, approaching into the eleventh to thirteenth century there was a group recognized as the Assassins. The Assassins were another group driven to defend their religious practices and were willing to die in doing so. Similarly, this group also resorted to acts of violence and in particular, were known to execute their victims with daggers(Laqueur 2001).
Because they were a small group with big aims they chose to assassinate prominent leaders rather than taking on the government altogether. Among those leaders included the king of Jerusalem as one of their top victims and by all means the Assassins were willing to die from these killings in order to fulfill their religious purpose. Nowadays terrorism has evolved from their previous methods. In recent years a group named Al Qaeda set forth their political goals to overthrow the corrupt government in Islam. Furthermore, they saw the United States as their primary enemy to make this change and as a result, carried out terrorist attacks that’s never been seen before.
On September 11th, 2001, the world was changed forever when members of Al Qaeda hijacked four planes in which two of them came crashing into the World Trade Center towers destroying them completely. The unpredictable attack “intensely affected many individuals and institutions, well beyond those directly harmed(Lerner et al. 2003). Overall, terrorism has historically been present however, the way it has now developed is the reason why the issue has become more prevalent. The horrifying occurrence of terrorism can be best understood through its causes. There are many aspects to look at for what prompts terrorism to take place. It is perceived by many that terrorists are idiotic and illogical for the violent acts they carry out. In a study done by Stanford political professor, Martha Crenshaw, terrorism is a “political behavior resulting from the deliberate choice of a basically rational actor as a result, the causes of terrorism can be narrowed down into three different categories. Of those categories, include pieces such as situational factors, strategic aims, and individual motivations. First, situational factors are basically the unfavorable conditions given in which those conditions trigger interest for typically violent actions in order to make change. Second, strategic aims are either found to be long-term or short-term.
Many of the long-term aims seek political change or revolution while, short-term aims tend to get recognition and attention towards a specific purpose. Next, the individual motives involve the psychology along with the characteristics of a person. Crenshaw added that psychological factors relied heavily on “guilt, desire for vengeance, and thirst for excitement as motives for acts of terrorism. Because of this, terrorism is much harder to predict when fueled by such individual motives. However, this doesn’t mean that it is truly impossible to anticipate when terrorism is likely to strike in fact, “terrorists are undoubtedly rational and intentional actors who choose to develop violent strategies in order to achieve their political objectives(Lindberg, 2016). Therefore, to determine acts of terrorism it is important to look at specific circumstances that could potentially provoke it. For the most part, causes of terrorism should be viewed by the previous evidence as well as the old and new components that has formed what it is today.
The aftermath and repercussions of terrorism and its counterparts are detrimental. Economically, terrorism can hinder and even potentially setback an economy for years. Because terrorists usually target high-profile people and highly populated areas, this will severely impact a country’s economy. For example, the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 was a success amongst the eyes of terrorists because they targeted a landmark within the United States. By hitting one of the twin towers, killing over thousands, this resulted in a severe drop of airplane ticket sales; thus indirectly creating economic demise. Furthermore, acts of terrorism in foreign countries cause economic problems on an even larger scale. In an economic study of terrorist attacks, Spain found that the average attack prompted the number of tourists visiting the nation to decrease by approximately 140,000 people in a year (Enders and Sandler, 1991). Yet, a point often overlooked is that the objective of economic harm doesn’t leave a significant impact due to counterterrorist measures that have been set in place. Ultimately, they effects of terrorism leave a great impact in various aspects not often thought of although, the risk doesn’t always pay off in the end.
All things considered, terrorism is never the right choice as you can see by its historical development as well as its causes and effects. Terrorism will always be prevalent in our world today affecting everyone even if its not directly and surely, you will never know when and where the next attack will be. However, to better understand this complex issue would be beneficial in picking up its red flags. Therefore, as a society we all have the power and responsibility to stop this issue and make the world a better place altogether.