The public move by the Obama administration, to try to internationalize the fight on terror, has been a great move that I fully support.
While North Korea and Russia seem intent on making sure we don’t throw out all of our history of war books, the world of war has seen a fundamental shift. Wars without borders, fighters without a state. After millennia of fighting against neighboring powers, countries of the world have been slow to shift to the new reality.
The worldwide support against ISIS is a critical step in the right direction, one that I hope leads to more steps. Fighting terrorism walks a fine line between ‘war’ and ‘policing’ and it’s time that countries dive into those murky waters to come up with a better solution.
No one can say what this solution is going to look like, just as there were no bullet proof vests when the first shot was fired. However, I do think that it needs to happen at the United Nations level.
The nations of the world need to come up with general set of laws regarding terrorism and murder that all can agree upon. That is step one, and hopefully one that has the possibility of actually being accomplished.
Step 2 is to create a system of dealing with aggressors while maintaining a country’s sovereignty. After all, we wouldn’t have responded well if China sent troops into our country after the Oklahoma City Bombing. Nor would we respond well to Russia stationing troops at every school nationwide after a mass shooting.
I don’t know what this process would look like, but with experimentation, an acceptable outcome should be attainable.
Step 3 would be to make sure that these future policing/war acts are performed by the world’s countries, accepted by the world’s countries. Terrorism is not a crime against America, so fighting against it should not be an American act. Sure it may be seen as a Pollyanna view of the world, and I accept that. Ultimately we are talking about fundamentally changing the look of war, something that has looked pretty similar since the first two cavemen started hitting each other with clubs.
We might as well start with some high ideals and work down from there.
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I like your idea of an internationally approved set of rules in how to deal with terrorism and terrorists. Like you said, terrorism isn’t an American problem, so it shouldn’t be left up to us to defeat it. Like I said in my entry, I think seeing other Arab nations step up, take the lead and condone this group would, in my view, be pretty groundbreaking in the fight of terrorism. However, this is a problem for the world, we all need to figure out the best way to approach this and develop a system to deal with acts of violence like this.
I agree on the need for an international system that balances sovereignty with the need to fight international terrorist networks. Today’s actions in Syria seem to indicate that we’ve taken the war against ISIS as a justification for crossing Syria’s boarder for other reasons as well. Like other nations where we do so (Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, etc.), the Syrian government is in no position to stop us. Still, it’s a startling precedent that I wish we had broader agreement on.
I hate to be a nay-sayer, but what are the chances of the United Nations having the competence to handle this difficult task. The UN has a very short list of accomplishments that actually mean anything.
I am not suggesting that it wouldn’t be good for the world if they could, but I think it is just as realistic as hoping for ISIS leaders to sit down for Sunday brunch with the Obama family (low-fat egg whites only) and work out their differences with a rousing game of Risk.
I’m not saying that we should not do anything regarding terrorism, and just assume that the United Nations will something about it. I agree, it isn’t likely you’d see anything happen.
What I’m suggesting is that when a terrorist act gets worldwide attention, like ISIS, our leaders should push for an agreement at a worldwide level to the definition of terrorism. (If it’s timed appropriately, it should be fairly easy to have an overwhelming majority agree).
Once terrorism is defined on a basic level (i.e. murder of multiple innocent people in a public fashion) and accepted by the world, then you start coming up with method of dealing with it. In my mind this looks something like the UN condemning a group (based solely upon the agreed upon definition – the ’cause’ wouldn’t be debated at this level), meeting with the leaders of the countries where that group is present to determine whether they need/want support in dealing with the group, then if help is needed, forming a coalition of forces.