Terrorism is emerging as a popularly used but rather a carefully veiled and accepted instrument of foreign policy when it comes to solving matters of international politics. It has evolved from being a practice of radical insurgents to fulfill their demands in a local area to being operated by strategically planned organizations with the funding provided by states to settle the claims. In modern times, conventional methods such as war, international forums, and diplomatic discussions are proving to be less efficient with the economies becoming more sophisticated and technologically advanced. These methods are not considered worth the economical and political costs involved in them. Thus, terrorism has evolved as a Political Tool.
Further, terrorism is viewed as the best medium when there isn’t much hostility involved between the national parties and war seems to be an extreme and unfeasible solution while diplomatic talks prove redundant. Terrorism provides a way to inflict urgency and pressurize the opposite state, giving enough room for talks to resume by giving constant pressure on an administrative level. However, along with terrorism comes hypocrisy, as states would never take the responsibility of such attacks as it makes them answerable on a global stage, which doesn’t consider terrorism to be a legal tool as of now.
The post-second-world war world is looking for alternate methods of resolving issues at national and international levels. In present times, terrorism has come out as an accepted instrument in areas of the Middle East. No matter, the leaders curse the domestic insurgents of disrupting the very roots of peaceful and civilian idealism but they passively support the system on international platforms by sponsoring and training militias.
The evolution of modern-day terrorism paves its way back to 1948 when controversy arose in the Jewish state of Israel after the UN proposed two separate states in the disputed territory and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) adopted a rebellious method and began civilian attacks to meet their demands of its territorial rights. The Israeli government also chose the same path for counter-attacks, leading to killings on a massive scale. A temporary peace was struck in 1980 when PLO accepted the two-nation theory but this led to the emergence of a new militant group ‘Hamas’ and since then, terrorism has played a key role in the foreign policy issues of Israel. Moreover, the enemy states of Albania, Lebanon, and Syria have all resolved to sponsor terror attacks against Israel making terrorism used as a Political Tool.
Talking of the big boss, the USA which tries to represent itself as a peace monger and criticizes the Middle East for widespread terrorism, has itself adopted the same counter path to silence the uprising liberation movement in the state of Libya against Zionism. Moreover, the US has utilized every such opportunity to impose its policies in its neighboring central and south America to weaken the influence of communism.
Terrorism owes the major chunk of its popularity to the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the USA. USSR’s attempts to bring communist rule in the state of Afghanistan led to the emergence of a number of terrorist organizations like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Hiz-bul-Mujahideen. These militants were supported and funded indirectly by the USA, making it one of the biggest players in this game. The country has attempted to bring an end to the communist world.
Since then, Afghanistan (Why Afghanistan?), Pakistan, and other middle eastern countries have become a hub for terrorists and they have conducted a number of terrorist operations, killing civilians all over the world including the USA in the 9/11 attacks. Moreover, a growing insurgency in Pakistan has mongered a constant threat to India. India has witnessed a number of attacks from its neighboring country, which aimed to capture the state of Jammu and Kashmir- yet another diplomatic issue that could not be solved by talks or UN interventions.
Thus, we see that terrorist organizations are being used in the name of Jihad to satisfy the political motives by the majority of countries even when the UN has considered it as a criminal offense years ago. However, if we take the concerns of morality and ethics as promoted by human rights commissions, the concept of war is also wrong as it involves the killing of soldiers on a massive scale. Notwithstanding, war has been justified by its proponents on the terms that both sides are prepared and armed in their full potential and each side gets the opportunity to redeem themselves, and therefore, it is considered legal when diplomatic talks fail. Further, some also talk about the Economic Benefits of a War.
Now, if the diplomatic talks fail to strike a balance and the country is not able to afford a war because of its financial or political constraints, there are chances that in near future, terrorism may be conceived as a legal option by the world. If such a situation arises, some guidelines must be laid down on a global level on the conduct of terrorism and on the answerability of such events to make it somewhat less unethical and reduce its extremism to some extent. Nonetheless, terrorism shouldn’t be used as a Political Tool too often.
Written By – Creamy Garg
(Creamy is a First-Year student at Hansraj College, Delhi University)