The Paris terrorist attacks of November left the City of Lights sounding a lot more like Bagdad than a European metropolis. Between the coordinated kidnappings, shootings, and bombings, those living in the birthplace of democracy probably felt more like those living in the Middle East. Moving away from grandiose 9/11-sytle terrorist attacks designed to give Al Qaeda political legitimacy, the shifting threat of globalized terrorism appears to be focusing more on multiple, small-scale attacks of opportunity. Because terrorist attacks of this kind are easier to pursue, terrorist attacks could become more common, which threatens public safety and civil liberties.
Events like the Paris terrorist attacks are solely designed to instill fear and drive chaos that terrorists can use to force their view onto others. Humans feel particularly vulnerable and grow increasingly desperate to the point they make irrational decisions if they are unable retreat to a “safe haven” when threatened. Terrorists who can strike anywhere at any time are very effective at creating panic and provoking self-destructive reactions, i.e. bad policies, to their actions, because they are able to destroy the security of the community.
Sadly, these recent events are only part of a much larger history of violence that continues to rock the world. Beyond terrorism, mass shootings have become commonplace in the United States while violent crime in general plagues all communities of the world to varying degrees. Terrorism is a particularly scary form of violent crime, because terrorists use seemingly random violence and the indiscriminate murder of innocent civilians to force their will onto society as a whole.
In modern society, violence is seen as a disruptive force that undermines the very fabric of community and destroys the accomplishments of the human race. For more than a century, especially since the Cold War, the developed world has managed to suppress the violent side of human nature so well that events involving brutal and widespread destruction spark massive outrage and grievance throughout the International Community. This is why Westerners struggle so much to understand why people are attracted to terrorism and the motivations behind acts of violence.
For much of the developing world, however, unchecked violent crime is normal while war is commonplace. That said, the fallout of violence is just as devastating to those who experience the horror and pain of crime, terrorism, and war on a daily basis as those who are luckily enough to live in stable countries. In other words, terrorism periodically happens in the West, yet the Peoples of violence plagued, unstable regions, e.g. the Middle East, Africa, etc., must cope with it on a daily basis.
Given how most the developed world struggles with the trauma of violence, it should be self-evident that those living in violent regions need the International Community to help them overcome terrorism.
Where nations could once focus on their own national security, centuries of globalization have gradually created the need to guard against threats from all over the world. Consequently, the many Peoples of the world have a common interest in fighting terrorism and other forms of violence. Remembering the Arab Spring Revolutions, along with the long history of sacrifice Westerners made to ensure freedom endured in the face of war, there is also a common interest to ensure freedom and democracy for all.
This means pursuing our common interest to fight terrorist without surrendering our way of life to the tyranny of national security overreach.
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