Western media makes it impossible for us to go a few days without being reminded of the immanent threat of a terrorist attack. Whether they mean to or not headlines such as ‘Massacre in Paris‘ and ‘terror fanatic beheads soldier‘ evoke feelings of fear and anxiety into anyone who reads it, it reminds us that terrorists don’t discriminate and that anyone can be at the mercy of an attacker. Therefore, it is a topic of conversation that everyone has an opinion on and has their own idea about how it should be tackled. One thing many people may fail or even avoid thinking out is the reasons for terrorism. Most commonly, we look at the effects of terrorism on our society, economy, international relations etc. which understandably is something we should be interested in. However, I think we have It all wrong, in order to truly eradicate terrorism, you have to look at the cause not effect.
The current ‘war’ on terrorism consists of bombing the ‘terror’ country as a form of instant solution. or quick fix. This strategy can provide very short term gains but also cause long term consequences and frictions. In economics one of the assumptions made is that everyone is rational (we have rational behaviour) therefore we make decisions in order to maximise our utility (happiness). This concept also applies to terrorist who, based on the definition of terror, use or threat to use violence against civilians in order to obtain a political or social objective through the intimidation of a large audience. Hence if terrorists are rational then they believe that performing acts of terrorism is the only way to achieve their social or political objective, policy makers need to determine why this is the case.
The root causes of terrorism often stem from vast wealth inequalities, here’s why:
Hopelessness and desperation are often side effects of poverty; poorer individuals are more likely to accept radicalised ideologies and religious fundamentalists, because religion is meant to bring hope. Therefore, you can see how terrorist leaders can exploit this in order to recruit vulnerable people looking for some purpose in their lives.
The exploiters, although play a part as recruiters, are not the underlying cause of terrorism, however poverty is one of the key contributors. Counterterrorism policy needs to be formed based of this theory if we want to see a long term change in modern day terrorism, the cycle of going to war with particular terror groups never seems to work. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Our governments strategy up till now very much demonstrates this definition.
By Toro Kehinde www.torosthoughts.wordpress.com