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Globalisation: The double edge sword to terrorism

by on December 1, 2013

Tara-Globalization-Terrorism-desen-42-x-60-cm-2007Globalisation has undoubtedly dominated numerous political science debates over the last two decades. This ‘new’ phenomena  has plagued text books  and controlled  numerous seminar discussions but the fundamental belief that  since  the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the cold war that “we must all adapt to a globalise world” was suddenly questioned. When the tragic attack of 9/11 happened the world was stunned. The question that was on everyone’s lips was ‘why did this happen’? As soon as the  NATO forces were about to attack Afghanistan Ossama Bin Laden released  a video to the world which publicized  an internal contradiction; although he denounced globalisation and modernity he used globalisation and modernity in order to convey  his jihadist  message across . This contradiction has embedded itself within this particular form of terrorism. This international terrorism needs globalisation as much as it despises it.

Scholars such as Anthony  Giddens describe globalisation as    the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa . Another definition of this term is given by  Professor David Held  he describes it  as a process (or set of processes)which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions – assessed in terms of their extensity, intensity, velocity and impact – generating transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction, and the exercise of power. When viewing the reason why Al Qaeda committed the atrocities on 9/11 these definitions could almost be translated to the excuses illustrated by  Ossama Bin Laden.  As reveal in the youtube clip below

This has led to some commentator such as Geopolitical strategist and consultant Tom Barnett, a former professor at the U.S. Naval War College to say things such as “the jihadist menace is, in reality…”…’global’ resistance that’s really all about the Gap, where globalization is coming in…and reformatting traditional societies that are unprepared for its new rule sets”.  Al Qaeda did resist American foreign policy , western style democracy and  western economic policy but it has embraced the advancement of global technology. Without the implementation of global technology  the climate of fear would not of been able to be established.  The advancement of Al jazeera network and its American counterpart   CNN allowed bin Laden to have a platform to not only denounce the west but also to rally other disenfranchise people to his cause.

Despite the words spoken by bin Laden the day he released his first videotape in the depth of a cave in Afghanistan, remote from the globalise world, the image he portrayed was a globalised one. From the popular Ak47 kalashnikov (which is produced in Russia) or the Timex watch he disclosures (which is made in America); to the video recorder that he used (which was made in japan) all uncovered that we cannot escape this globalised world. However the most disturbing factor is that the same tools we were promised in the western world would bring the end of history therefore the end of conflict has plunged the world into chaos.  Globalisation has played its role, in allowing a nihilistic group to cast fear, anger and confusion across the entire world. Globalisation during the end of the cold war was portrayed as the hero for the western world but it has now become the villain . Without the advancement made by globalisation this form of terrorism would not exist. Therefore globalisation  is not only a double edge sword for  terrorism but it is a double edge sword for the western world as well. Unfortunately for us it is a much sharper blade.

References

Anthony Giddens, Director of the London School of Economics

David Held, Professor of Political Science at the
London School of Economics

Steger, M. 2003. Globalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/capital-commerce/2007/07/03/globalization-bin-ladens-vs-the-wests

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One Comment
  1. Thank you for your thoughts on this subject. I think you argument is basically sound. However, it is not sufficiently aligned with the main themes of this module. Please refer to the literature we have been exploring in the seminars and lectures. For example, you might want to relate this case study to the chapter on terrorism in Louw’s textbook or the late Phil Taylor’s discussion of al Qaeda’s success in using new tools of strategic communication.

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