About the Author: Carla White has been interested and writing about world affairs for years now, also delving deep into the realms of politics and technology, given their importance to the field. She understands that terrorists pose a different kind of threat and require a different kind of solution should America wish to find lasting peace.
It’s safe to say the 24-hour news cycle isn’t as focused as it should be on the real issues. Media outlets focus on the sensational and the convenient at the expense of accuracy and relevancy. Celebrity weddings hardly matter and have no place in the public sphere outside of outlets who are interested in such things. An hour-long deconstruction of one of the president’s tweets is wasting airtime that could be better spent on more important matters such as the growing debt or national security. The executive branch matters, and rehashing a message is propaganda.
Agents of terror hardly matter in the attention of the American people, until they want to grab it for themselves by committing attacks against our land, our people and our freedom. Left unchecked, they are one of the greatest threats to Western society, and every blow they strike against the Western world only causes backlash that prevents a freer and more open society.
We are distracted from what’s important until it’s too late, and then we quickly forget again as the news cycle marches on. We need a solution.
Here are some ideas:
Understand the Ideology Behind Terror
The type of terror we face isn’t necessarily rooted in Islam. Yes, much of it is justified and perpetuated by Islamic extremism, but we must emphasize that extremism is a far larger concern than Islam, for extremism is the common factor behind all terror. All terrorists are those who use cowardly violence to achieve their ends, and their ends come in many forms. Christian terrorism exists, and extremism is the threat we all face.
As opposed to shunning Muslim communities, we should seek partnership (albeit with caution, as terrorists are of course not above deception). They hate terrorism and its effects on their community as much as any of us, if not more. We must, of course, maintain our identity as Americans and hold to American values, but anti-domestic terror strategies must start at the base of communities. People know when those in their congregations or neighborhoods are acting outside the norm, and faith leaders often know how extremist views form and how to notice them.
Stopping terror before it starts is the best strategy. Terrorists engage in ideological warfare. It’s time to fight back on that front.
Cut Off Their Funding
As it turns out, terrorists need to eat to and their families will need to be provided for as well. Many terrorists join groups (in part) in poorly-developed countries because terrorist groups are one of the only ones with funding. Weapons, ammunition and other types of equipment don’t come cheap. They need to get money from somewhere.
What would happen, though, if that funding were to disappear? What if we make the most dangerous groups on Earth entirely toothless? Their territory would be diminished, their numbers would drop dramatically and their words wouldn’t carry as much weight. People armed with the equivalent of pointy sticks and harsh language can’t do too much to harm the process of Democracy.
And, much to their credit, this strategy is largely put into play by modern militaries fighting terrorism. Logistics wins wars, and the war on terror is no exception. They are doing the following:
- Capturing strategic resources such as oil fields to remove sources of income from terrorist hands.
- Freezing bank account assets when possible and tracing sources of funding to cut off financiers of terror (and take the proper actions against them, if applicable).
- Fighting criminal activity in the region that directly supports these groups, and targeting and destroying internal financial structures within terrorist-held territory.
These other strategies should be implemented (or enhanced) as well:
- Come down harshly and sanction any state that finances terrorist groups.
- Determine where terrorist groups source their weapons and eliminate that source of equipment, either through civilian or military action.
Improve Cybersecurity to Protect Our Interests
With the United States and its allies having such vast military superiority, terrorists and America’s enemies likely aren’t considering a direct confrontation with the United States, and guerilla warfare doesn’t work well when many terrorists are an ocean away and domestic terrorists mostly work alone.
Yet oceans mean nothing to the internet, and improving cybersecurity efforts will be a vital factor in making sure America stays safe for the foreseeable future. The mainstream media doesn’t focus on this as much as it does on celebrity or politician hacks. Security breaches involving our elected officials are of great importance, but we are being distracted from the larger picture: whether or not you believe the Russians were involved in the presidential election, the possibility is there. The OPM hack made that clear.
People are also relying on existing infrastructure to keep their data safe as well. Google, Amazon, Facebook and other companies have vast amounts of data that could do great harm if it fell into the wrong hands. People can protect themselves from hackers and use proxies for privacy, but those types of defenses only go so far if the government is being attacked. There is occasional speculation in the press, but there are few solutions brought forward.
What do you think should be done about the terrorist threat? Do you have any thoughts on the current geopolitical situation? Are America and its allies doing enough to combat terror across the globe? Please share your thoughts on the article by leaving a comment below.