Volume 8 Editorial Introduction Global Safety and Terrorism
threat of terrorism is frequently popping up in all kinds of ways and in all
kinds of places of the world. There is a broad demand for global safety. Policy
makers and technological experts often have an easy and quick answer to these
of the answers to these threats is controlling the individual. The first step is
the identification of an individual. This assumes
that they know where the danger comes from; form small groups of vaguely
identified persons, who might be planning an attack or on their way to carry out
an attack. To prevent an attack all kind of controlling is allowed. Laws are
rapidly changing to make these acts legal. In order to prevent terrorist attacks
from individuals or small groups of people politicians are beginning to develop
total control over individuals by giving the government the right to follow the
individual in all its travels, tracking him or her down with Geographic
Information Systems (GIS); by following a person via his or her cell phone and
credit cards and using millions of cameras; and when one crosses a border
through the use of passports and X-rays of luggage, with travellers being
stripped of his or her belt and shoes and enduring
eye scans and fingerprints for recognition.
in all complex societal problems some people benefit from a problem and some
have to pay. All this controlling demands many (new) technological devices. That
provides work for a whole sector of industry following enthusiastically all the
new demands for control. But those controlling measures have a direct negative
effect on the liberty of people and the democracy of the state.
It is striking that these freedom restricting acts of the government are
being initiated by the country of liberty and democracy: the USA during the Bush
junior administration. Instead of freedom we are moving towards to a society
well-known under the former USSR and shown in East Germany in the period of
1945-1990, where almost every third civilian watched the two others.
this the price we have to pay for our safety? Can these highly technological
devices in fact prevent terrorist
attacks? Looking at a huge attack like 9/11 New York, that was the start of many
of the demonic measures, we see that all these procedures could not have
prevented the attack. Some of the persons that persuaded the attack on 9/11
where partly trained in the USA, were there long before the attack in the USA,
and some were actually citizens of the USA.
Looking at suicide bombers we see that these people are very hard to
detect and even harder to prevent doing their terrible acts.
legal governmental systems of control actually threaten the privacy of the
civilians, and this itself threatens democracy. The civilian is under total
surveillance, before he or she has even thought
of a illegal act. All this controlling demands a lot of money, government money
which is, as is shown in the Bush administration, being diverted out of
healthcare and education.
order to make the world a better place to live in and to increase global safety
we should try to find out where the threats really come from. What provokes
terrorists to do these acts? What and who stimulates them to do this? What are
the causes? And when we know the causes what can we do to change this.
this volume of the Journal
of Methodology and Models of Complexity we focus on threats to global
safety, from civil war and from terrorism. War and terrorism have in common that
these are both ways to ‘solve’ a complex societal problem in a violent way,
in case of differences in opinions how to rule a state,
or in differences of opinion of who is the owner of the land and
resources like oil, water, and
is a difference between war and terrorism. The so-called wars are considered to
be legal. In this perception the Second World War is easily accepted as a legal
war. The war in Vietnam seemed to be a legal way to defend our freedom.
Civil wars are a class apart, but can be considered as a war between
‘states in decay and states in nascent’. That was the case in China in the
war between the communists and the nationalists.
The struggle between the Irish and the English can also be framed in this
context. In more recent times, the (civil) war between the Israelis and the
Palestinians upsets the world. In all these cases the state seems to have the
right to carry out violence and is allowed to send young boys into the killing
fields. The state has a legal right to protect its country and soil when
attacked by other states. Terrorism on the other hand often starts where people
want to defend their property, soil and ideas. They do not have enough money,
resources or people to stand up for it. Therefore these groups have recourse to
terrorism. Terrorism uses violence to try to persuade a state. As such,
terrorism can be defined as a ‘war
between a group of persons and a state’. The group can be small or even ‘a
state in nascent’ that has no power or the means to start a legal war. Suicide
bombing water, subway and Internet attacks are then means to put pressure to
state. In Europe there are many example of terrorist attacks such in the Basque
country in northern Spain, fighting for independence.
war nor terrorism are good solutions for a complex societal problem. In this
volume three authors, well known with the problems of (civilian) war and
terrorism, take the concept of national identity as a starting point of their
analysis of the problems.
renowned Harvard Professor Herbert Kelman has a long during experience with the
psychological aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. He wonders in what way the cores of the national identities of
state in conflict, - as necessary elements of the integrity of those states -,
can be preserved on one hand, and on the other hand how the less central
elements of those identities can be used to come to compromises. His hopes comes
from problem-solving workshops in which representatives of the Palestinian
and Israeli nations (de)construct a private space in which mutual
understanding is possible and the route to negotiations becomes feasible. In his
intriguing article he describes the theoretical foundation of those enterprises
and report about a decennium practice about the problem solving workshops.
eminent Operational Researcher Professor Ken Bowen, with a military background,
reflects about the British experiences in relation to the defending of national
identity. His aim is to stimulate a debate “on what studies are worth putting
in hand and how to avoid stereotyped views of defence as a purely military
activity”. For this he refers to
the Falkland War of the British against Argentine. He presents a framework in
which integrity and national identity of a state are better served by activities
in the domain of education, research
and healthcare than by military activities.
lessons from the practice of (civil) war and peace in Ireland comes from Cathal
Brugha of the University of Dublin. He starts with a theoretical framework lent
from reputed philosophers. From this
framework he generates “eight Principal Political Adjustment Activities along
with corresponding Dilemmas: Unilateralism (Backlash), Negotiation (Recognition),
Credibility (Awareness), Trust (Renege), Inducement (Rejection), Deterrence (Incitement),
Positioning (Vulnerability), and Threat (Weakness)” that can be used to
analyse and handle conflicts between nations. He illustrates that with example
from the conflicts in Ireland, and “uses the model to suggest how the United
States might move away from an unilateralist approach to dealing with
international terrorism”. It is also clear from this discourse that an
unilateral military intervention is not the way to solve the problem of global
With these articles one can (re)think and (re)discus the topic of global safety in the world. We like to thank the authors and the reviewers for their very interesting contribution and we do hope that these article can give us some insights and knowledge to handle contemporary conflicts in a more peaceful and less damage causing way. We can imagine that there is an urge to discuss these issues with us and other scientist after reading these articles. In this case we would stimulate you to send us an email with the material you want us to put on the web. Please indicate if you would like us to put your comments on the discussion site of Volume 8: Global Safety and Terrorism.
International Scientific Journal of Methods and Models of Complexity
Ó Dorien J. DeTombe, All rights reserved, first published May 2006