Terrorism spreads its deadly tentacles across the world and no country is exempt from its outreach. First the terror attacks in Paris, then in Belgium; if anyone thinks that those who planned those attacks are going to stop there then they better think again because all signs indicate that this is just the beginning. The only question is: when and where will the terrorists strike next?
To better understand what is going on, and why this terrorism is posing such an ominous threat to Western nations, the best thing that we can do is to think much more deeply about this issue and clearly identify the underlying reasons for its sudden eruption. What exactly is motivating and driving those who are committing these atrocities? Until we determine and address those root causes we will never solve this massive problem.
The very worst thing that we can do is to continue to waste a great deal of time watching the network and cable news non-stop reports, thereby failing to rise above this kind of surface thinking.
When we tune into these news programs what do we see? We see news anchors and on-site reporters describing the troubling scenes of destruction and the resulting mayhem. We see these frightening scenes over and over. We hear the “special reports” from a steady stream of stern-looking, so-called terrorism experts who provide opinions on who may be responsible, how the acts may have been planned, and what law enforcement must do to identify other potential threats and neutralize them.
Then we listen to President Obama and other leaders who like to say that these acts are being committed by terrorists who hate us because of our freedoms, values and our democracy; but that is simply not the case and reflects nothing more than shallow thinking. Terrorists hate the nations of the Western world for far different reasons as we will discuss in the following.
Something of monumental importance is missing from these reports. I haven’t seen one rational, in-depth discussion or thorough analysis by these experts about what really needs to be done to solve this problem by identifying those underlying causes and coming up with viable solutions. And if you don’t do exactly that then you will never, ever develop solutions.
Terrorism is typically described as “a form of violence used in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim.” While that may be true in the general sense I firmly believe that the acts of terrorism that we are witnessing today are motivated and driven by an overwhelming thirst for revenge against the oppressors who victimized their countries and citizens over a long period of time.
What all the leaders of these Western nations, in both the U.S and in Europe, need to do is to open up their minds and think about the aggressive policies and actions that they have pursued in the Middle East and surrounding regions over time.
Here’s a portion of a report from NPR that describes what happened in the Middle East after World War I: “With the onset of WWI, the French and the British sent armies and agents into the Middle East to foment revolts in the Arabian Peninsula and to seize Iraq, Syria and Palestine. In 1916, French and British diplomats secretly reached the Sykes-Picot agreement carving up the Middle East into spheres of influence for their respective countries.”
“Under the mandate system, Syria and Lebanon went to the French. The British took over Palestine and three Ottoman provinces of Mesopotamia and created modern-day Iraq. Everyone understood at the time that this was a thinly disguised new form of colonialism.” Notice the italicized words which are a clear indication of intimidation and domination. And that intimidation and domination has continued through the decades and to this day as we see no lessening of the exercise of power and influence of Western nations in this region.
Just think about the terror that the people of Iraq experienced when the bombs started dropping on that country in 2003 and the massive destruction that followed.
Think about the destruction and suffering that the people in Libya were subjected to when the U.S. and its European coalition partners conducted a massive, relentless bombing campaign to force Ghaddafi out of power; an attack that left the country in shambles and has allowed ISIS forces to establish a growing presence.
They need to consider the fear that exists in the hearts and minds of people in Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan who, on any given day, come under attack by Hellfire missiles launched from U.S. drones flying overhead. Hundreds of innocent men, women and children have been killed in the last several years as they were congregating at weddings, funerals or going about their daily business. While they may live in a state of terror many of them are planning ways to take revenge against those who they hold responsible for these attacks.
In Syria, the massive bombing by the U.S. and its Western allies on the one hand, and that of Russia on the other, has been devastating to that country and its people, sending hundreds of thousands of terrified Syrians fleeing into exile in many surrounding countries and, in particular, Europe.
Does anyone really believe that these many people who have been subjected to this relentless bombing by Western nations would continue to just take all this pounding and destruction and not react in any way? Do we think that they would let this continue to happen and just meekly submit to these attacks; and that they would never get to the point at which they said, “enough is enough” and “we’re not going to take it anymore?”
European nations have had a massive influx of refugees, hundreds of thousands of them, pouring into their countries, fleeing for their lives and, unfortunately, within that mass of refugees there are going to be more than a few very revenge-minded individuals who will be determined to commit terrorist acts.
The irony of the situation is that some of these countries currently accepting these refugees previously took an active or supportive role in the U.S. government’s bombing campaign in Syria.
The lesson to be learned is that when you commit acts of violence against other nations and their people you may be able to get away with it for some time, but there will come a time when they will come after you with a vengeance, seeking revenge. That’s exactly what is happening today; and, right now, there seems to be no end in sight.
So those nations in Europe and their people who have become targets for these revenge-seeing terrorists have two basic choices that will determine whether these attacks will continue and cause more and more havoc and mayhem or if they can be ended in some way.
They can learn from their mistakes and decide that, what they have been doing in the Middle East all these years constitutes a terribly misguided and failed foreign policy; and then take concrete steps to reverse it. They can remove whatever military assets they have in Syria, Iraq and any other Middle Eastern countries. And they need to make certain that they never again interfere in the internal affairs of those countries.
If they adopt this positive policy then they will be taking the first major step toward solving this egregious problem. However, if the leaders of these countries continue to doggedly take the position that they are not going to change their policies and actions and that they can solve this problem by using massive force to crush these terrorists, they will ensure that their citizens will continue to live in a state of fear and paranoia.