Olivium IndexAbout UsContact Us
Olivium Logo
Olivium Logo

If there's one thing we've learned in the last two decades, it's that the War on Terror has mostly failed: radicalization is widespread, and the Taliban now rule a larger portion of Afghanistan than they did in 2001. The war on terror, on the other hand, disguised the war we didn't fight.

While well-intentioned, the fight against jihadism has created an environment that rewards sensationalism, mistrust, and prejudice, and has sparked an Islamophobic backlash that has progressively emboldened dangerous populists and destabilized democracies across the globe.

A corollary consequence has been the rise of the far-right, which has been able to hide behind the West's desire to employ the words "terror" and "terrorist" as a language that is inherently connected to jihadism and Muslims.

Instead of Islamists, the far-right is now blamed for the bulk of terror plans in the United States and has been dubbed the biggest security threat. Worse, the far-right has gone worldwide, with white racists and violent nationalists banding together across national boundaries. Theirs is a violent history that stretches from Pennsylvania to Texas, Norway to New Zealand.

This terror blind hole has evolved into a menace that rivals that of the Islamists. But it's one that's been blatantly ignored. According to reports from New Zealand, Wellington overlooked far-right threats because its emphasis was effectively restricted to Islamist threats, allowing critical chances to avoid assaults like the terrible Christchurch slaughter to pass by. When you add in the ransacking of the American Capitol, which security personnel dismissed for months, it's obvious that the danger is real—and becoming worse.

When the Taliban took control of Kabul last month, far-right internet groups across the world voiced open admiration for the Taliban, whom they see as role models for their own goals of defeating liberal ideas and toppling Western governments.

This terror blind hole has evolved into a menace that rivals that of the Islamists. But it's one that's been blatantly ignored. According to reports from New Zealand, Wellington overlooked far-right threats because its emphasis was effectively restricted to Islamist threats, allowing critical chances to avoid assaults like the terrible Christchurch slaughter to pass by. When you add in the ransacking of the American Capitol, which security personnel dismissed for months, it's obvious that the danger is real—and becoming worse.

When the Taliban took control of Kabul last month, far-right internet groups across the world voiced open admiration for the Taliban, whom they see as role models for their own goals of defeating liberal ideas and toppling Western governments.

More than ever before, a War on Terror is required. However, once military alternatives have failed, the age of US nation-building has come to an end. We need a new and better vision, one that is appropriate for the postwar age.

For starters, it must abandon outdated methods that focused only on a single ideology and adapt to recognize extremist dangers in all of their manifestations. Importantly, we must recognize, based on the painful experience of the past two decades, that force is not a sufficient answer in and of itself - we cannot eliminate terror or ideology with guns and bullets.

Counterterrorism can no longer be confined to the realms of the military, law enforcement, and censorship. This implies that governments and politicians must resist radicals' divisive reactionary actions. And it requires unprecedented global cooperation between civil society leaders and governments across the globe to combat the many manifestations of the same destructive extremist danger.

And it's not as if governments all around the globe lack the financial means to make this dramatic change. If the US had spent even a fraction of the $2 trillion it spent on the Afghanistan war on efforts to unify civic leaders and combat extremist breeding grounds, the new war on terror could have succeeded.

Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, has learned time and time again that mobilizing the religious mainstream's resources, summoning all of its moral capital to make a strong, clear case against violence, and ensuring that the messages reach the most vulnerable is one of the most effective weapons in combating religious extremism.

Along with this private effort, the state sector must strive to limit extremist distribution of harmful material online, as Bjorn Ihler, a survivor of the Norway assaults, has learned. This two-pronged approach of deterrence and persuasion is the best basis for a long-term American, Western, and global strategy to combat the emerging terror threat.

There may be many more terror attack anniversaries to come unless governments and civil society embrace a common vision for a new global effort to fight terror - one that takes place in the context of a post-US nation-building age and learns from expensive past errors.

Written By: Olivium's Editor


References

  • Abbasi, Jennifer. "Twenty Years After 9/11, Responders Are Still Healing." JAMA (2021).
  • Fraser, Michael R., Raphael M. Barishansky, and James S. Blumenstock. "Twenty Years After 9/11: The Public Health Preparedness We Need Now." (2021): e1-e3.
More in  ,
Web Design & Development - PIT Designs
Top