петък, септември 23, 2005

Globalization a Key Weapon Against Terror

Globalization a Key Weapon Against Terror

Some people can see that globalization and terrorism are related, while some cannot. Probably, the truth is in the middle, as usual. When I hear somebody speak for or against globalization, I almost always ask what his reasons are. It is frustrating that people often do not know how to argue their position. The usual argument is "I feel this way" or "It's obvious, isn't it?"

Globalization is an objective social process. It is not invented by an evil wise man, enclosed in his office, trying to complicate the life of his contemporaries. I do not think it is created from some bad guys, authors of some world conspiracy.

It is an economic necessity to ensure more room for the development of local economies on the basis of global interests instead of local ones. There are at least two main reasons for this. One is reflecting the relationships between businesses and organizations -- people have to learn how to adapt to new economic environments on the local, national and international levels.

The other reason concerns the personal realization and functioning of any individual in a global society. We have to learn how to continue our usual professional, personal, community, or religious lives in a drastically changed environment. If we refuse to do it, it may expose all of society to unpredictable consequences and ourselves to the constant pressure provoked by a conflict with objective social trends.

On a personal level, the opposition against globalization is due mainly to the fact that its very existence imposes a kind of voluntary surrender of the right of self-determination, understood in its narrow national sense. Even if this were the only reason, it is enough for millions of people to fight fiercely against a process that claims part of their "sovereignty." Unfortunately, it is not the only one. Therefore, the lack of a necessary explanation for society's problems -- a failure of governments to educate their citizens properly -- is one of the main reasons for the resistance against globalization.

The second main factor is the incapacity of leaders and the main political forces to understand the mood of the population. The most appropriate expression should be "to act accordingly to the mood of the population." The reason for this incapacity is that these same politicians are dependent on business to finance their election campaigns.

The gap between the politicians' desire to stay in power and their readiness for any kind of possible compromises on one hand, and the expectation of the general population to see in the politicians as their representatives on the other, has become more and more significant and unpredictable as a consequence.

Recent examples are the European Constitutional elections in France and the Netherlands. Many political analysts described them as being directed against the politicians, rather than against the constitution itself. These days it is practically impossible for someone to become a politician if there is not a powerful lobby behind him. The people are not blind. It is highly predictable that new manifestations of the same phenomena are waiting for the right moment to appear in the near future.

A third factor for the negative mood against globalization is a confused populace faced with an exponential development of technology and information flow. Our society is developing so fast that many of us feel we're constantly losing ground. Part of the responsibility for this phenomenon should be looked for in the fast acceleration of technology and its manifestations in our daily lives. But it would be extremely shallow to conclude that this is the only reason for the frustration of the population.

The opportunity to know much about almost everything is becoming a frustrating factor in itself. The Internet, cable and the satellite TV, the cheapest communications, provoke the feeling of "information deluge." Not everyone is able to accept this situation and deal with it. Again, the only way to know how to find our place in such a "complicated" world is a fundamentally different type of explanation and adaptation toward a new kind of education. We need to learn how to adapt gradually to this situation and to all the changes around us.

We should also consider the role of religion. It is becoming more and more crucial to take it into account, but not to give up unconditionally every time we face so-called "religious problems." We should respect the religious convictions of others, we have only one vital environment, only one world -- ours.

However, if we want to live in society, we must obey the basic rules of coexistence. Society has to play the primary role; religion has to be concerned with the spiritual life of a person. Our societies are becoming more and more complicated and many individuals have started to lose connection with life's fundamentals.

Religion is one of the primary ways to give a form of relief to people, to create a sense of security and stability, a way to suggest a hope that our life, even if it is miserable now, is not the only one possible for us. I do not intend to enter into a religious dispute here. My goal is to try to describe the hierarchy and the interaction between some extremely powerful factors in our lives. Any ambiguity in this hierarchy will create the conditions for future misunderstandings between people and nations and is a sure way to cause human disasters, including terrorism.

Terror is a form of war. If someone does not agree with this, I would be glad to hear an opposite opinion. Honestly, I doubt someone would disagree.

As the whole history of humanity until now has shown, every war, even the most ferocious one, has followed some basic rules. Terrorism is the first form of war without rules.

Other main characteristics of previous wars included a clear goal, a main battlefield or operational territory, conditions to be considered if one or another side decides to stop participating, and resources necessary for the war. In the case of terrorism, all of these rules are missing. Terrorism is so awful precisely because it is like a social virus. It acts without any predictable rules and does not consider any human values as having enough importance to be respected. It is even possible to say that the face of terror is such a repulsive one because of its lack of respect for anything human.

Another very important characteristic of this phenomenon is the limited interest that terrorists usually defend. In the case of war, a nation tries to resolve its problems with another one by force. In the case of terrorism, a group of people, sometimes an insignificant number, tries to impose its point of view on a whole society or nation by force.

It is useful to stress clearly the internal differentiation between the main kinds of terrorism. We face at least three sorts of terrorist actions, significantly different from each other. The first one is "national" terrorism. It is a kind of terror related to the realization of some nationalistic goals, usually connected to some claims for independence of certain regions in a particular country. We have witnessed this in Spain and Ireland.

The second type of terrorist organization is created by so-called international terrorists. Their goals are wider than the nationalists'. Usually, they consider the field for their activities to be a group of countries or regions. Typical examples were the Red Brigades in Italy or Baader-Meinhof in Germany. Usually, they finance themselves from their terrorist activities, but it is not rare for them to collaborate with international drug cartels, arms trafficking and so on.

The third type of terrorism is based on religious fundamentalism. To be exact, we should say it is a Muslim type of terrorism. As far as I know, not a single other religion has given evidence for the readiness to use this approach, systematically giving away the lives of its own members.

Among the biggest problem with religious terrorism is that the individuals do not consider the opinion of anyone who dares believe differently, including people with the same origins, religion and nationality, to be important. They simply consider everyone with a different opinion as an enemy. This type of terrorist organization always tries to conduct their war on the territory of their enemies. This way, the casualties are considerably more significant and the overall effect of their activity is more noticeable.

After the tragedy of Sept. 11 in the U.S., and even more after the recent events in London, many people and international organizations have asked themselves what should be done to counteract this war. It would not be an exaggeration if we say that every significant newspaper, TV channel or radio station in the world produced a discussion, or at least a program about trying to find a solution to this problem. I am not suggesting that a panacea could be found quickly and efficiently. But a solution does exist.

Human history is a source of inspiration, not only for poets and writers, but for anyone interested in discovering difficult answers concerning impossible situations. Thus, the only kind of war not mentioned earlier is the partisan one. Its rules and principles are so specific that from a purely organizational point of view it is probably closer to a terrorist war than to a conventional one. The partisan war could give us some strategic ideas about how to combat terrorism.

I would like to stress the word strategic here. The war on terror could not be won immediately by any measure. The only way for it to be won is to cut off the supply lines of the terrorists, including money, arms, explosives and any other material resources. In this way, the process of procuring war materials would become more difficult for the terrorists and they would be forced to act more openly in the preliminary stages of their preparation. At this moment, the Special Forces of a country would have more chances to act accordingly to prevent tragedies.

Evidently, it will be impossible for a single country or even group of counties to create such a situation. The only solution is a worldwide coordination of efforts. Paradoxically, globalization and the sharing of the operative information and data among the countries is the best way to achieve this.

Another important factor to be considered is again the dissemination of information to the population. It is desperately necessary to establish bridges with ordinary people and to show them that they are also used by the terrorists, that in practice they are also victims.

Terrorism is strong now in some areas of the world because certain populations are feeling alienated from others. It will surely take a few generations and an enormous amount of work, but there is no alternative to follow. It is necessary to explain, to convince ordinary people of Muslim countries that terrorism is also threatening their own positions and the very existence of our world.

The approach should be similar, but slightly different toward Muslim people living in developed countries. They have to understand the danger terrorism represents for themselves and their children. If exposed to the constant pressure from terrorists, the population of these countries, sooner or later, will start to give up and look at xenophobic solutions of the problem.

This degradation of the situation must be avoided at any price! The only way for this to be done is by involving the Muslim population of these countries in an open discussion, to help them understand the situation clearly. It is necessary to create a strategic vision for this transformation and to be assured of the necessary material, spiritual and organizational resources.

When the population of Muslim countries starts to understand the necessity of a common front against terror, when they understand that no one is threatening their religious convictions, when they start to refuse to support terrorism and even become an active part in a worldwide coordinated effort to combat it, the hope for a brighter future should flourish. We must show passion and conviction to the fanatics. This is the only way to insure support for our belief in the universal human values of all.