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International Extremism and Terrorism-Contemporary Dimension
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Регистриран на: 01 Мар 2007
International Scientific Conference Balkans and NATO-United Against the Terror
Sofia 10 September 2003
When we speak about international terrorism and its modern - day dimensions from a scientific point of view, perhaps we have to begin with what we lack to build a complete and legitimate scientific theory of the phenomenon.
What we lack are more or less widely accepted, clear methodological waypoints and a unified framework of criteria for defining terrorism globally.
There are no clear lines of definition between terrorism and its defining categories such as democracy, justice law, war, armed struggle, political aims and many others.
There exists a certain misbalance between the theoretical and practical efforts to limit terrorism globally and science still has a lot to offer.
Attempts to localize an untied command center of world terrorism have failed.
Attempts to neutralize the command centers of such organizations as Al Qaeda, IRA, Hamas, Warriors of Islam, the numerous Iraqi, Palestinian, Chechen, and other terrorist groups, are not efficient enough. This fact in itself aggravates the problem because it is obvious that in the present situation, there exist conditions for objective existence of a self-organizing phenomenon, which can be activated at any given moment practically anywhere.
But in science insufficiencies usually result in efforts, which can bring positive results.
The objective existence of a social phenomenon constituting a threat unprecedented in its scope, which is defined in the public space as TERRORISM, led naturally to a concentration of civilizational resources aimed at limiting. Despite this fact, the results are not impressive. There is no guarantee that the 11 September events in New York, those in Kisljar, Moscow, Bosnia, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Bali, the UN mission in Baghdad, the Shia shrine in Najaf, will not be repeated somewhere else in the world.
We are left with the impression that the main efforts are focused oh the consequences, not on the causes and that the response is inadequate to the challenge of the threat.
From the standpoint of the civilizational achievements of science we have reasons to define differentiate and unite two interconnected social phenomena - extremism and terrorism.
The former is limited to the sphere of ideological concepts; the latter, which results from it, represents the practical realization of these ideas.
We have scientific proofs to view extremism as a sum of ideas and views characterized by total intolerance and denial of everything different or contradicting. As a system of norms, rules and ideas totally contradicting the values accepted by humanity. As a developed to absurdity variety of popular ideologies and religions. As a kind of social pathology, a deviant psychological state, abnormal reaction to social practices and life.
We have reasons to view terrorism as politically and criminally motivated practical acts of violence, of total war against civilian population, infrastructure and information facilities and legitimate institutions. Their aim is to achieve fear and social paralysis, and subsequently of concrete political and other results. This constitutes a direct or indirect blow against the institutions providing protection of the vital interests of the citizens, the integrity of the state, the mind of the individual and the collective consciousness. It constitutes a motivated violence aimed at putting pressure on the public opinion. It is in essence a special kind of armed struggle, and requires adequate counteraction.
This would provide an opportunity for political, economic, scientific, legal, and moral limiting of the ideological roots of the phenomena, a better-organized global prevention and the conduct of a sustained, practical, adequate activities, including the use of military force for precise strikes against the direct perpetrators of terrorist acts.
Such differentiation would limit the possibility for speculative identification of world terrorism with the ideologies and religions from which the terrorists have borrowed their phraseology.
Thus the use of adjectives such as left, right, Islamic, Armenian, Kurdish, Latin American, etc. in conjunction with terrorism and extremism will have only conditional meaning. This will limit the opportunity to identify them with the left of right alternatives of social development, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Kurds, Latin America, etc. Irrespective of the above offered definition of extremism it should be admitted that it belongs to the difficult, politically dangerous but amorphous social phenomena, which exist for a long time just as an intuitive idea. In a sense this state is encouraged by the comfort of political expediency, of the interest of the moment, of the urgent necessity to legitimize some actions, as well as indifference. Doubtless all these influences exist but are hardly the basic reasons. What we need to better define such a negative social phenomenon is a worldwide consensus, if not on all the issues, then at least on the vital ones.
Today humanity can already point to several such issues. Very generally these consensus issues can be summed up in several groups.
- Preservation of life on Earth.
- Striving to preserve and develop the ides of liberty, achieved during the process historical evolution.
- Preservation of the fragile ecological balance of the planet.
- Providing perspective for future generations.
- Preservation of the balance and growth potential in world economy.
- Preservation of spirituality.
- Reduction of suffering.
- Improvement of international law and increasing of its scope.
- Reducing the effects of world economic crises.
- Preservation of national borders and attempt for achieving self-determination within them.
At the same time Humanity has not reached consensus on issues such as:
- Distribution and use of important resources, including natural resources.
- Parameters of inequality.
- Acceptable means for achieving interests.
- Unacceptability of War.
- Common basis of spirituality.
- A model for improving democracy.
- Parameters of the New World Order.
- Admitting the new tendency for globalization.
In a situation where consensus exists but is not predominant, a legitimate explanation of a socially significant phenomenon such as extremism is possible if its boundaries are in harmony with the areas of consensus. In the opposite case we will go back to the dichotomy of communism and capitalism, of the developed and the underdeveloped worlds, whites and reds, etc.
It is a well-known situation when only the others are associated with extremism. Otherwise the explanation of the phenomenon will have only group or national, and not common significance. This is one more argument for the effort to adopt new common norms of co-existence on the planet-one of the elements of the New World Order.
From a purely theoretical point of view, extremism, as an idea, behavior and a state can be separated from other social phenomena by comparison. It is logical to look for its place outside the perimeter of other phenomena, even the most radical, It is scientifically legitimate to differentiate between extremism and fundamentalism and view the former as a mutation of extreme ideas, as illogical behavior, as social pathology. In fact it is important to differentiate between extreme (in the sense of radical and fundamentalist) ideas and extremism, although extreme radicalism and fundamentalism are a border territory, beyond which extremism and terrorism begin.
Today civilization does not wage a religious war, it wages a war against the social pathology, called extremism and terrorism, constituting a serious threat to civilization.
Every real conflict has at least two opposing and defined sides. The contemporary conflict between civilization and terrorism is a conflict between the idea of democracy and the philosophy of extremism.
Ethically, democracy is associated with freedom of the mind, economic justice, prosperity and decency, tolerance, and morality, human dignity. No doubt this is a positive, but chaotic characterization from the sphere of ethical ideas and subjective opinions. Outside these realities and virtues it is a theory and political interpretation of a system for exercising political power. The gnoseological roots of democracy as a political system is the thesis that the legitimacy of every political rule comes entirely and only from the consent of the ruled, i.e. from the people or the nations. The intuitive thought implied in the term consent is the free adherence to the socially accepted norms of behavior, i.e. the social contract between the individuals in society, which in its turn defines broadly the principles of equality. As far as concepts such as people or individual are concerned they are to a certain extent an abstraction, as far as they are subject to historically changing political necessities and moral imperatives, and also to a lesser extent to linguistic change.
From purely ethical perspective extremism can be associated with total intellectual, legal, and economic dependency, with total denial of categories such as tolerance, integrity, decency and good will. Outside the ethical boundaries however, extremism is also a theory for destroying the established political system with a set of means, ignoring human life and the foundations of modern ideas of justice. It is a practice of ignoring the basic and common human values. It is a model of enforcing the adoption of a political system based on violence and denial of consciously adopted norms of the modern civil society.
Attempting to renounce democracy extremism in fact ignores human nature. Even if we try to view extremism as a form of human culture it is a mutated form, or a sub cultural manifestation of historical or social backwardness. The results are the same-extremism leads to the destruction of human nature.
The intuitive idea is that it also destroys the dialectic unity between human nature and human culture. We can project this thesis on Jean Beschler’s statement that, “Human nature sets the objectives, the solutions found by people are the human cultures”. Here the contents of the term express the dialectic relationship between “nature” and “culture”, but the question is that such a relationship cannot exist under the dominating presence of extremism. In fact this is the condition that destroys it in the sense of its purpose, and is in itself a formative condition for a mutation of human nature in the direction of its biologization.
Undoubtedly, extreme or extremist solutions outside historical and cultural accumulations and achievements of humanity are essentially antagonistic to human nature. We may need some clarifying examples from ancient and well known cultures - we can for instance mention slavery. And admit its total unacceptability today. A solution, which is an element of human culture, should always correspond to the modern view of the category human nature.
The incompatibility between human nature and extremism in its capacity of anti culture can be supported by a dissection of the relationships between categories such as virtuality and actuality, nature and culture, common and private, etc. i.e. with many pairs of characteristics that describe a common process. And with which every disruption of relationship would be voluntarism. Besides, these disruptions refer not only to the comparability of the synchrony, but also to the purely temporal, i.e. historical perspective.
Democracy is a real culture. It is the successive interpretation of the humane essence of human nature. It is the modern attempt of the human being to seek new and balanced solutions to problems.
Extremism is an actually existing mutation of human culture, which turns the latter into anti culture.
Extremism goes against human nature, at last because it denies human life.
It is an interpretation of the attempts to enforce solutions of problems outside historical and cultural achievements of modernity.
Nowadays we witness a new tendency for making the world more homogenous and for bringing it closer to a unified political entity, and its initial phase is globalization. In fact this is one of the principal tasks of global democracy.
In modern realities, and from the standpoint of the tolerant political entities, peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but drive towards renunciation of violence, or at least choosing the lesser violence instead the bigger, pervasive and dominating one.
From an extremist point of view peace is the reaching of a state when conflict is eliminated by means of total violence.
Extremism, which is the final carrier of permanent violence, is in principle against peace and understanding.
In the modern world peace is the ultimate end of politics and not simply peace, but peace through justice.
Peace in the sense of the removal of diversity, which could be the cause of conflict, is the primary goal of extremism.
Both in the ancient and in the modern worlds peace through expediency is the objective of extremism. Expediency subject to mutated ideas, not to the principles of justice.
These irreconcilable positions can potentially generate violence in its most drastic form, and result in conflict.
If this is the reality, there is an obvious need to a detailed analysis of the relationship extremism-conflict and defining in the framework of modern conflictology of a new conflict characteristics:” ultra conflict-extremism”.
One of the real challenges with the analysis of this aspect of the bigger problem of extremism is the need to view it as a system of ideas, as a state and as a dynamic supersystem.
With such a difficult and multifaceted initial task, every stage of research is important for its legitimacy, even the of the first step of analysis. Let make this effort from the starting point where the self-organization of the supersystem called “ultra conflict-extremism” begins.
Defending the thesis for the emergence of a self-organizing supersystem, as a rule presumes the existence of objective conditions for the emergence of the social phenomenon called extremism. Here we should stress that the objective character of a phenomenon does not bring outside the framework of legitimacy the effort to limit the phenomenon in society, and even less so scientific analysis.
Conflict is a natural presence and in this sense a state of society. It is not only a clash of views, but also the existence of different even directly opposing concepts and the analogous behavior of the socium. In a sense and to some extent, it is the presence of tolerance and balance itself.
It is obviously a state of the social system, characterized by clear dominants such as extremism and its resultative terrorism, constitutes something different from the defined framework of the conflict, as a natural state and a way of evolution. Naturally the question arises, how can we define extremism and terrorism within the framework of the science of conflictology?
Modern science divides conflict situations into several groups:
1. Conflict “drive-drive”
2. Conflict “avoidance-avoidance”
3. Conflict “drive-avoidance”
4. Conflict “double drive-avoidance”
As a state extremism is always not only a conflict, but in the sense of departure from socially acceptable limits constitutes a new qualitative state, expressed by the new term “super conflict-extremism”. This is a new situation in which extremism in one of the parties is dominant or when it becomes the essential characteristic of both parties.
The scientific reason for defining extremism in the field of conflictology lies in the defining of its boundaries and in bringing it outside the context of the conflict as a formative condition.
The turning of a conflict situation into an extremist one is often the result of presumption, conviction, or a real threat to the foundations of life itself, coming from the opposing party. The existence of a threat to the existence of one or more of the parties or entities, does not necessarily result in extremism, but usually generates or reveals extremist reaction. In a high intensity, deeply antagonistic situations the existence of extremist ideas in some of the subject of the opposing parties can determine the general mutation of the behavior of one or both the sides in the conflict into terrorism only if they are dominant. Otherwise they can be viewed just as elements of the characteristics of the situation. The intuitive idea is that any party in a conflict represents a social system which can be characterized as extremist not when extremist elements appear within it, but when the whole departs from the established limits of the moderation of the specific period in history.
Undoubtedly this refers not only to political conflicts. This is a general rule which manifests itself without exception.
There exist conflicts in human society which are at the stage of maturing, but even in that early stage can be defined by a number of characteristics (for instance whether they threaten life on the planet) as terrorism.
When we speak of large groups of people, or countries, or even groups of countries, which by the criteria of international law are extremist and are a side in a conflict, then there arises the natural question about the means and possibility for transforming extremism (as a state) into a conflict situation not going outside the limits of modern criteria.
There are enough examples worldwide of the conflict development both in the direction of escalation and in the direction of abating. Let us remember of the proportions to which grew a well-known extremist ideology-fascism, and the international effort to overcome it
This in itself shows the opportunities to oppose extremism and terrorism. But when it is too late, when the ideology of extremism turns into a massive instance of terrorism, the issue becomes not a subject of philosophical political dispute, but a practical effort.
Nowadays, the main efforts of civilization should be focused on limiting extremis, and if this happens the problem of its direct action- terrorism will be solved.
From a philosophic and anthropologic point of view a legitimate means for modern-day conflict management is limited use of force. This should in no case be considered an apology of violence. This is not an effort to turn it into a fetish. This is only a manifestation of the conviction in accordance of the laws of adequacy and sufficiency, that extremism and terrorism in society must receive a decisive response, in the best interests of society itself.
Terrorism, the practical realization of extremist ideas wages a real war with civilization and in the modern world manifests itself as a specific kind of armed struggle.
In this respect it naturally becomes a subject of research for the military science, and is practically in the area of responsibility of the Armed Forces.
This thesis is supported by the created structural, functional, and in part mathematical model of the terrorism as a special kind of armed struggle, but time limits force us to stop here.
In conclusion we shall summarize some of the theses of this presentation:
Extremism and terrorism are two objective interconnected social phenomena, with common essence, but with some differences as to their practical manifestations. Every counteraction to these pathological social phenomena, aimed at their restraining, can hope for success only if if it is differentiated and focused on both of them.
A fundamental condition for success in the fight against extremism and terrorism is the construction of a New World Order, where the number of consensus issues increase. A natural way to achieve this is the acceptance of the planetary model of “social contract”, building the foundations of the world civil society. The essence and the realization of this idea is the UN.
As ideology extremism is a mutation of most radical ideas, which even when they use the phraseology of established political or religious models cannot be associated with them.
Extremism is direct opposition to civilizational achievements but not only this. It is a pathological social antipode of the ideas that have created the fundamental values of human society, and its perspectives. Terrorism is a direct effort and a blow aimed against people, but also against the systems and institutions supporting and guaranteeing their life.
Terrorism has outlived its “infancy” and in its present dimensions can be viewed as a special kind of armed struggle demanding adequate response by the Armed Forces.
The fight against terrorism is nod a deprivation of the right for self-determination, or that of national or other identity, but the creation of conditions for the existence of diversity within the limits of civilizational acceptability.
We have scientific proofs to view extremism and terrorism as a self-organizing system, which demands complex counteraction to limit its spread through the tissue of society.
From the point of view of conflictology it is logical to define as a special conflict situation, a state where extremism dominates social systems as “super conflict-extremism”
These and other ideas and speculations are in the basis of the modern attempt to analyze the social phenomena extremism and terrorism, and the latter to be conditionally united in the theory of “Civilizational Actuality”. Whether this essentially new approach to analysis only time will tell but there is no such thing as only one way, or monopoly in science.
The organizers of this event have implied in its motto, very generally and from the point of view of philosophy, the need for unity of the political effort of the civilization to fight extremism and terrorism. The Balkans are an indispensable part of the civilizational drive to uphold the achievements of humanity, and the national Armed Forces and international coalitions, including NATO, are nowadays a real weapon in the fight against terrorism.
I would like to thank you for your attention.
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