Many solutions have been tendered to control ‘terrorism’. It will remain un-muzzled hydra-headed monster, unless a reasonable approach is adopted. Strong states should stop accusing weak states for ‘aiding abetting terrorism’. In historical context, efforts to distinguish ‘terrorism’ from civil disobedience, revolutions, crime, banditry, freedom movement, etc. have foundered. 

The best approach to control ‘terrorism’ appears to be the one presented by Dr. Ihekwoaba D. Onwudiwe (University of Maryland) in his The Globalisation of Terrorism. He used World Systems Theory (dividing countries into dominant/core and dependent/peripheral groups) to identify the ‘terrorism’ problem. 

Onwudiwe does not classify ‘terrorists’ as criminals or freedom fighters. But looks at terrorism as ‘consequence of the world is ordered’. He postulates that there are dominant nations that control world resources and manufacturing practices, and which possess the ability to translate their economic resources into political and military strength used to maintain a world order that continues to benefit their best interests. They have the military might to enforce their will when challenge. 

Patterns of terrorism are strongly influenced by nature of the capitalist world economic system. Terrorism is a response to the structure of the world system, a response to the global inequality that exists between nations, the only solution that will have any significant impact on the reduction and control of terrorism are those that restructure the world; that is policies that eliminate cross-national inequality and existing patterns of exploitation that extend from the core to the peripheral nations of the world. 

Military interventions, attempts at ‘target hardening’, or other forms of social control such as economic sanctions, may work in the short run to contain terrorism, but only temporarily. In the long run, however, these policies have been and will continue to be ineffective since they do nothing to remedy the conditions that set the state for terrorism: namely global inequality. 

Let us hope that there are steps like Marshall Plans and UNCTAD to balance world-wide inequality. 


Rawalpindi, March 17.