The attacks on September 11, 2001, marked the event through which terrorism showed its global presence. The death of nearly 3000 people was an attack on American civilisation. These attacks had worldwide consequences and were a cause for global concern. The Afghanistan war led to the fall of the Taliban government that supported Al-Qaeda, then there was a military succession of Iraq. The post-war occupations were not expected, both in terms of casualties and financing.
Attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon on 9/11 created a New World Order in which governments started feeling insecure in terms of International movement of trade, finance, communication and people.
The irony is that this is an era of globalisation. Due to this insecurity, Governments became more sensitive to the threat of terrorist activities and became more dependent on military forces, intelligence agencies and retaliatory measures. There were fear, confusion and anger among people. As a result, the new world order was less secure, more militarised and less stable than before.
There were debates about factors that explain terrorist acts. Deep analysis and intellectual exercises were performed to conclude that the creation of inclusive and effective political institutions and development of domestic ethos in the terrorism prone middle East region could be the remedy. However, much less was discussed about what policies and steps would initiate democracy in the Middle East. This led to sudden steps, not to establish democracy, but to force it on them.
There was a need for patience and understanding of the depth of the problem. Efforts of democratization of countries are likely to be long and hard but American Leadership used ‘Shock Therapy’ to disturb the middle East region in and out.
Indeed, there was a fault in defining democracy and terrorism which was necessary for consideration before any direct military actions. The very character of terrorism is to target noncombatants i.e. common people and use violence to instil fear in the target people’s psyche.
Both the conditions were somehow met by the American operations in the region. Just like terrorists justify their violence, America too rationalises its violence as a legitimate means to achieve a much larger end- in this case, democracy.
Unfortunately, In my opinion, the American attempt to establish democratic rule in the Middle East met all the conditions of Terrorism. No matter how noble the intentions are, the means to achieve it should be in harmony with the end. Further, these arguments are prone to debate and discussion, although, according to me, the effect of these series of events should be accepted by all, without much debate.
Terrorism is here to stay if the root causes are not addressed in a meaningful way. Authoritarian governments are likely to persevere, and so will poverty, ignorance, fear of change and religious zealotry. Military actions for a prolonged time will potentially destroy any chances of democratic rule. Terrorism is an ugly truth and is unethical, immoral, inhumane and criminal from the victims’ perspective. It is a vicious cycle.
The transition to democracy is an endless process. Its beginning, end, failure and success is hardly identifiable. This process of evolution is messy, full of setbacks and difficult to achieve and maintain but to give it all is our duty towards humanity and peace.