After the conclusion of the cold war and with the recent formation of entities such as the Islamic States, the definition of Nationalism and Terrorism have changed dramatically. These days security threats to democracies around the globe, are not limited to interstate confrontations. With the expansion of globalisation, in which we are currently entangled through global financial markets and communication channels old concepts are eroding. In the changed world security threats and strategies created a dilemma which is evident in the discussion posts of this unit. In the 21st century, it is not necessary that nationalism is helping a society and in turn fuels the society towards the security of the state. Historically too, nationalism concepts have always been changing, for example earlier nationalism was a term used with growing opposition to the multi-ethnic empires (Ottoman, Russian, British), later in 17th-18th century the term was widely applied in opposition to colonialism, and afterward in the 19th and early 20th century it was utilized to present concepts of a safe homeland, shared language, common customs, security against the hostile surroundings and memories of conflicts. In a nutshell, the term ‘Nationalism’ confers political legitimacy of the day’s leaders and impose obligations on their people. Similar phenomena can be remarked in the concept of Terrorism. However, since George W Bush declared a “war on terrorism” the ‘Terrorism’ term has lost its sheen(Grassie 2008). Hence, it's essential to understand ‘Nationalism’ and ‘Terrorism’ in current context.
This report offers an analytic thinking of different perspectives presented on Nationalism, Terrorism and Strategic surprises covered in a PICX851 discussion against the below mentioned questions. Topics are interlinked and so are the parts; which is subdivided into below three major sections highlighting the key issues or concepts.
• Role of Nationalism in welding society's security of the state
• What is Terrorism ?
• Strategic surprises and ways to negate its impact .
Post of by Dayffyd Klippel-Cooper on Friday, 28 November 2014, 2:42 PM in Module 2 discussion about Role of Nationalism in welding society's security to that of the state
“I agree that Nationalism is an extremely useful tool, especially in states that embrace multiculturalism such as Australia. A national identity can help new arrivals to feel “at home” and a part of the greater community. Furthermore, it can lessen and remove any fears that individuals born in Australia can develop against people that they perceive to be “coming in” to take their jobs. By encouraging all citizens /residents to identify themselves as “ Australian” it makes the community stronger and able to fight of radicalization by outside forces. Mr Abbott is the utilization of Nationalism as a means to unite the different communities inside…………………………………”
All of us know human as a social animal. The human’s connection to societies evolved from small, intimate hunter tribes into large social groups (Grassie 2008). Mutual needs of these social groups gave a birth to the concept of Nationalism. It refers to the sense of attachment with each other as a nation and encourages individual sacrifice for mutual needs. It gives a pride to the individuals to be part of the nation. Among several mutual needs, one need is a security which is provided by nations in the form of the military superiority against neighbours. Particularly after World War I when the Treaty of Versailles redraw the map of Europe by creating new nations; there are the states where the Nationalism played a vital role in welding society and providing a security to these states, like the United States of America and the Great Britain (Anderson 1986; Haas 1986; Spencer et al. 1998). English and American nationalism was in its origin, linked up with the concepts of individual liberty and represented nations firmly constituted in their political life. This form of nationalism was progressive, modern and exhibit a pride in the achievements of their own culture (Spencer et al. 1998).
However, in the name of nationalism some harm has been done to the society, primarily during the World War II. Immediately after the war the concept of Nationalism was evolved into the new arena in the form of an anti - colonial insurgency and political downsizing of states. Early years of 20th century revolutionary political ideologies against nationalism were the principal developmental forces acting upon terrorism (Research 2015). Concept of Nationalism encouraged ethnicities and minorities, not recognised to campaign for autonomy or independence and created a bitterness. For example, in case of Arabs nationalist, they feel that they had been betrayed because of their disappointment when British and French received authority over their land and on a top of it Zionist immigration into Palestine (Dawisha 2009).
In the current context when globalisation is at peak, the concept of nationalism is eroding a democratic society. With the rise of international organisation such as the World Trade Organisation and European Union, nationalist ideology itself is eroding. Some European Union states allow residents to decide the political fate of state like in Scotland, German students are allowed to cast their vote. Another example of eroded nationalist ideology is, impact of United State of America’s “Credit Crunch” leads European economies in recession (Campe 2008; Sathyamurthy 1998). Considering the example of Australia itself in 2011-12, Net Overseas Migration (NOM) contributed 60% of population growth in the country. Means more than 50% of population growth of Australia is from immigrants who are global citizens (Markus 2014). With such a huge immigrant population, forced nationalism concept would create a negative impact on the security of the state. Sometime it creates a conflict in society, for example, civic nationalist v's ethnic nationalist (we are tagging such conflict as racism). In the name of nationalism many democracies, resist acceptance of the rights of national minorities out of fear of fostering different loyalties, this could be threatening to territorial integrity and social cohesion of their states (Sabanadze 2010). Not only this, the generation born from immigrant citizen is in a state of dilemma of which nationalism they have to follow, either ethnic or civic. It’s a mutuality of human being which is keeping democratic society united. Collective action is essential for the unforeseen challenges in todays world like international crime, infectious disease, climate change, financial instability and terrorism.
Would prefer to start this section with comments posted by Riognach O'Geraghty-Howard on Thursday, 4 December 2014, 1:16 AM in a module 3 discussion
“In order to answer the question of what constitutes an unethical act of violence, I want to introduce the idea of what constitutes ethical violence. To do this I want to introduce the concept of the Just War, and in particular the concept of "distinction". Admittedly this is a somewhat ass-about-face way of doing things, but I believe that it works…………………………………………………………….”
In spite for more than 500 definitions of Terrorism it’s still very difficult to explain Terrorism and that is clearly visible in this discussion. Using the “Just War” theory is almost impossible to define Terrorism, although it was a good yardstick to define the cause, rules and so called ‘ethics of war’. Basically, in the current context, Terrorism is a tactic of waging war. I would argue that “Just War” theory itself is wrong because it contradicts the logic of war, which is winning always, at whatever cost, by any necessary means (Crawford 2003; Walzer 2006; Zinn 2011). In the wars of 20th century civilian casualties increased phenomenally because during these days warfare technologies have become more and more destructive. It is almost impossible to limit wars to combatants only. We have been preaching that terrorism is barbaric because it is intentionally targeted at civilians, hence the just means test of ‘Just War’ theory has failed. But how are we going to explain the firebombing of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, or more over the atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki and the latest examples of surgical air strikes in Iraq & Afghanistan (Walzer 2006; Zinn 2011). I am not justifying or promoting Terrorism but would like to give a perspective to look at terrorism as a tactics of weak side in guerrilla warfare. Whether it’s an ISIS, Hizbul Mujahedeen, MKO, Hamas, LTTE or FARC; none of them would prefer to wage battles without fighter jets, helicopters, submarines and tanks; they just do not have the capacity to afford it, and so they are using other means to win a war (McCauley and Moskalenko 2008; Piazza 2009; Weinberg et al. 2004; Zinn 2011).
Another aspect pointed out by "Solomon Chiro” on Friday, 19 December 2014
“I agree with you when you say IS considers everyone to be combatant. They pretend to preach Islam, yet they are just a group of barbaric people who have a propensity to kill people randomly if you disagree with their principles (if ever they have them). They now have 'boy soldiers' in the group who don't know the difference between life and death.”
This could be classified as another war tactic. As per Geneva conventions, it is prohibited to engage child soldiers. However, after World War II the average age of combat soldiers in US was dropped from twenty six years to nineteen years. It was intentionally done after studying the psychology and physiology of warfare, because it’s quite possible to train 26 year old to be killed & kill others, but not possible to make them think that it is cool. A famous chant of Marin Corps to promote machismo is “This is my weapon, this is my gun; the one is for killing, the other for fun”(Grassie 2008). This chant provides a ‘feel cool’ aspect of killing. But in any case, any act which harms the innocent population is not good for society, whether you call it terrorism or war.
The yardstick of violence and war is not a good measurement criteria or should not be the only criteria to define or categorise Terrorism, Even though if we consider violence as a yardstick, then where Economic terrorism, Cyber terrorism and Narco-terrorism will fit in. Another point to argue about is calling violent acts of states as legitimate and non state sponsored acts as terrorism. This is again not right as we know the examples of “State terrorism” during the French revolution and then by the erstwhile Nazi Germany.Terrorism is continuously evolving with time, so it’s very critical to understand the cause of terrorism along with its definition and then proceed towards containing it. It is a complex phenomenon which needs lots of research to develop countermeasure strategies. Be it state sponsored or not, both forms of Terrorism will continue to deliver strategic surprises to the democratic societies. And it’s quite possible that strategies developed to deal with one type of terrorism might not work for another type. In a nutshell, I personally believe that terrorism is a tactic used strategically by the radicals within a society and it can be negated by good strategies only (McCauley and Moskalenko 2008).
Section three and final conclusion
To start this section I prefer the posting of Keirena O'Keeffe on Sunday, 14 December 2014, 7:13 PM which is stated as
“Strategic surprise is when a state fails to predict an attack due to their perception of the situation and/or the enemy’s capabilities.
According to Handel, the most effective way to negate strategic surprise is by ‘paying close attention to indicators and warnings’. (1) Strategic surprise can also be negated by an unbiased understanding what an enemy is capable of. Bias comes from many factors including believing that because you wouldn’t attack if you were in the enemy’s ……………………………………………………………………..”
The key issue which we were trying to understand in this module discussion was intelligence failure and their causes. The majority of the examples highlighted in the discussion by fellow members was related to war. Theories about strategic surprises was developed in 1980 by scholars like Richard Betts and Michael Handle so study of these concept with theories of 80’s is not sufficient (Dhal 2004). Bringing the context which is terrorism and intelligence failure along with these theories would present clear understanding. The strategic surprises in the current context are explained beautifully by Janne E. Nolan and Douglas MacEachin in his book titles as “Discourse, Dissent, and Strategic Surprise”. Keirena’s post is presenting only one aspect, However, anatomy of strategic surprises proves that it is the failure of seniors to absorb and use the information provided by professionals in the field, is the major contributor in creating a strategic surprise than missing or faulty intelligence (Nolan and MacEachin 2006).
There are other very good examples of strategic surprises in the current context to understand where intelligence failed like failure to detect the Cuban missile crisis, the Iranian revolution and Iraq crisis (Jervis 2011), terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the U.S. and Soviet proxy war in Afghanistan and the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98 (Nolan and MacEachin 2006). Except for Asian financial crisis, either the information was contained, misinterpreted or ignored by senior officers. This problem of misinterpretation or ignoring relevant information happened because system discouraged alternative approach due to healthy consensus, which is a mode of operation of democratic society (Betts 2013; Jones and Silberzahn 2014). If decision making process is driven by mindset that consensus is truth, it discourages professional in the field from offering dissenting advise in future, which will lead to another issue in which decision makers makes a decision which is not linked to the ground realities and perspective like regional and country specific expertise.
Another problem of intelligence failure is excessive compartmentalisation of intelligence can restrict the necessary flow of information to decision makers (Betts 2013; Dhal 2004). In this sense organisation structure does matter, as key players tend to ignore or filter Information perceived to be threatening or irrelevant to their organisations’ culture or perceived mission, thereby distorting policy analysis and decision making. Global problems (Economics, Terrorism, Ethnic confrontation) have been downplayed as a threat to national security because issues accorded the highest priority by senior officials who face huge burdens and competing demands may overwhelm their time and attention, making it virtually impossible for them to pay attention to other issues being reported by professional analysts (Betts 2013; Dhal 2004; Jervis 2011; Jones and Silberzahn 2014; Nolan and MacEachin 2006).
Coming to the second part of same discussion which is quite well explained by Molly Rydon on Monday, 8 December 2014, 8:07 PM in following words
“I do not believe that strategic surprise can be negated. To negate means to nullify, to deny the existence of. As Handel also outlined, there are issues at several levels of analysis (and I would extend this to include problems at the collection level also) that prevent the negation of strategic surprise. ……………………………………………”
Although Molly believes that strategic surprises cannot be negated still she agree with the Handle’s argument that technological advancement could help us to negate the strategic surprises. Surprises are inevitable and definitely it's not possible to predict all moves of the opponent, that’s why we are discussing term negating, not the term avoiding. To succeed the initiator must be able to exploit the opportunity created by surprises, otherwise initial shock might be short lived and the impact can be easily minimised (Kass and Phillip 2014). Being a information age optimists, I personally believe that intelligence will be able to use modern technology to improve its chances against terrorist threats (Dhal 2004; Lowenthal, 2008). Human nature and behaviour still need to be relooked at every steps with caution because human are indented to believe the truth that pleases them most.
In the 21st Century the study of intelligence failure and strategic surprise has not reached the point of diminishing returns (Dhal 2004; Grassie 2008). A strategic planning process requires not only uniting around a vision, but also thinking backwards to the most efficacious actions and leveraged intelligence for creation of interventions. It would be a valuable exercise for the business communities, civil societies and religious organizations within democracies to engage in beyond the scope of occasion and format to creat diplomatic resolutions (Grassie 2008; Ungerer and Bergin 2008). Diplomacy has become an essential instrument to resolve security dilemmas which needs lots of work to establish correct and accurate context (Nolan and MacEachin 2006).
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