Behind the Curve: Globalization and International Terrorism
Essay Preview: Behind the Curve: Globalization and International Terrorism
Report this essay
Since the events of September 11, 2001, international terrorism has been on the forefront of international relations and public thought. Subsequent terrorist attacks in Spain, England and Southeast Asia, have served to bring to light the importance of the Global War on Terrorism and, more importantly, a better understanding of the terrorism phenomena. Although terrorism has existed in many forms for many years, the challenges that come with understanding modern terrorism and formulating effective counter-measurements have to be looked at through the scope of globalization.

In her article “Behind the Curve: Globalization and International Terrorism,” Audrey Cronin asserts that the effects of globalization have the greatest effect on recent and future international terrorism. Cronin explains that although terrorism has shared common themes and goals, the world of globalization presents new problems in dealing with this deadly threat. Cronin argues that if the international community is to successfully combat modern international terrorism, it must use an approach that is flexible and multifaceted in its incorporation of international cooperation, intelligence, law enforcement, social-economic policy, conventional military and Special Forces. However, Cronin says this is not currently happening (Cronin, 30).

An understanding of trends in terrorism is important to formulating effective responses. Although the ideology behind leftist, rightist, ethnonationalist/ separatist and religious terrorism contains many similarities, the conditions created by globalization make religious terrorism a particularly difficult situation to address.

Recent trends in international terrorism show a growing number of attacks coming from religious terrorism groups such as al-Qaeda. While the frequency of attacks has been steadily declining, the severity of these attacks is increasing (Cronin 42,43). Recent history has shown that these religious terrorist groups are focusing more and more on actual body counts rather than numbers of attacks. Cronin states that although the number of terrorist attacks has been declining, the number of people killed in each attack is growing. Because of this development combined with the potential for attacks using chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological weapons, Cronin claims that religious or “sacred” terrorism has become more dangerous than other forms seen in the 20th century (Cronin 41).

Cronin describes religious terrorism to contain the following characteristics: the belief that those who do not adhere to certain religious beliefs are valid or deserving targets, a belief that engaging in violence pleases a deity, a detachment from secular values and laws, and a complete sense of alienation from the current social system (Cronin 41). Cronin argues that the effects of globalization in the Arab and Muslim world fly in the face of traditional cultures and provide fuel for religious terrorist rhetoric. These effects might serve as a source of anger and political discontent over uneven distribution of wealth, prosperity and access to knowledge, all of which are perceived to come from the U.S. led globalized system (Cronin 45,46).

Cronin points to the effects of free and open communication and travel in the international system as a growing change in international terrorism. As globalization has made the world smaller and easier to conduct business in for multinational corporations, the same benefits go to terrorist organizations that benefit from improved communications and financial freedoms. The disappearing physical borders and barriers in international commerce from trade blocs facilitate the movement of terrorist groups, finances and ideology and also serve to complicate prosecution due to complicated extradition laws (Cronin 47-48).

Cronin states that the U.S. government is still fighting terrorism with outdated attitudes. Just as terrorism is changing and adapting in the globalized environment, Cronin argues that so to must the attitudes toward combating terrorism change and adapt. Cronin calls for U.S. policy makers to focus on the environment in which religious terrorism flourishes as a cause of terrorism rather than a symptom. Cronins policy prescription is two-fold. The first focuses on addressing the immediate problems faced from terrorism with short-term military action that comes from critical analysis of the social-political environment of the area in question. Secondly, Cronin calls for long-term policies that focus on reshaping the international environment (Cronin 54).

According to Cronin, the short-term military response must incorporate continued use of strategic air strikes and specially trained ground forces with a greater focus on all forms of intelligence gathering, cultural awareness and local language proficiency. In the long term, Cronin calls for nonmilitary solutions that include public diplomacy, increased regional cooperation and, most importantly, economic assistance and development. Cronin advocates

Get Your Essay

Cite this page

Audrey Cronin And International Terrorism. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from