What is Terrorism? An interview
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in General with No Comments
What are, in your opinion, the leading causes of international Islamic terrorism?
Terrorists are power entrepreneurs who believe in using violence to achieve political objectives. This is true of all terrorists.
In general terrorism is defeated by providing an alternative way for thse power entrepreneurs to join the political scene. In Latin America many former terrorists or terrorist sympathizers of the 70s and 80s have become elected officials in the 90s as dictatorships gave way to democracy. I believe that the same will be true of the Islamic World. Once the Islamic world becomes democratic and terrorist leaders are offered less costly ways to gain power they will choose them and the problem will die out.
What is the most pressing issue in confronting terrorism?
To achive trans Atlantic consensus on policies that involved less militarism, more and better coordinated police work and more and better judicial cooperation.
What lessons should be learned from past experiences of terrorism?
The best lesson to me is the terrorism I grew up with, the terrorism of Argentina and its neighboring countries. It ended with better democracy. Democracy can defeat terrorism. Give people a voice and they won´t blow up other people to make a statement.
How does the struggle against terrorism affect the transatlantic relationship?
US and Europe were together in Afghanistan. They parted in Iraq. Europeans did not feel threatened by Saddam Hussein. America did. Wrongly in my view. America has a vindicative view of justice. Most people in America believe that criminals should be punished, they see an element of revenge in justice. Europeans don´t. Europeans believe in the rules of law enforcement. They believe in reform. Americans believe in the rules of war. Most European believe that air bombardment of civilians in the search for terrorists is a crime. Most Americans believe it´s justice. But still the views of Europeans and Americans are much closer to each other than the views of these two groups and anyone else in the world. So bridges should be rebuilt.
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