What's the best way to deal with terrorism?

I think the reason why terrorism is so effective is that it puts the powers that be in a lose-lose situation no matter what they do.

  • Respond with overwhelming force = lots of civilian casualties + radicalization, massive PR blunder, makes the nation look bad = terrorists win
  • Do nothing = nation does nothing to protect its people = terrorists win
  • Give in to the terrorists’ demands = terrorists win
  • Increase security = reduction of peoples’ freedoms = terrorists win
  • Offer terrorism insurance = man that’s expensive = terrorists win

From my limited understanding, a lot of this results from centuries of colonialism and poor decisions made in establishing the nation-states of the modern era, and a whole bunch of other reasons. To address these would require more time and more concessions than any one administration would find tolerable.

So, what do?

You forgot: Install friendly dictators.

I don’t think there is a quick solution. The only real fix is a long process of incrementally rewarding cooperative behaviors while pulling back when problems occur. People need to grasp on to hope that change will continue to occur and see progress in moving out of extreme poverty. That takes generations to fix.

You could do what China does. They have little terrorism.

You could also examine the underlying conditions giving rise to terrorism and see what can be ameliorated. Some of the “demands” have some basis in justice.

I think the approach should include reducing injustice and harm reduction of terrorist acts. You won’t eliminate all terrorism, but reduction in frequency and severity would be awesome.

So what you’re saying is, we should reduce the pure premium

I don’t know. I’m SOA. I figured i just got points for frequency and severity. :grin:

I’m cribbing from the wiki article for this definition.
Terrorism, in its broadest sense, is the use of intentional violence and fear against noncombatants to achieve political or ideological aims. The OP seems to be considering only the terrorism by non-state actors or groups against the will of the state (the powers that be). Terrorism is effective when it disrupts the power of the state, primarily the relationship between the state and the people.

Terrorism from outside the state requires a strong border to keep the terrorists out. Not just the physical border but any distinguished line between what the state controls and does not control.

Terrorism from within the state requires:

  • Lack of support from the general populace or even a significant minority group. If the people are not sympathetic to the cause of the terrorists the terrorism is ineffective.
  • A crushing intrusiveness of the state such that the relationship between state and populace cannot be altered by a mere terrorist act. Whether through fear, delusion, or cultlike devotion the relationship between state and populace cannot be broken.

Open liberal democracies are easier targets of terrorism because the above goes against the very structure of the state. The solution for a democracy is to maintain a cultlike devotion to that structure by the people and the state.

  • All people, all groups must feel they have a voice within the democracy.
  • The state cannot weaken its own position by not applying the rule of law to all entities equally. In simpler terms corruption breeds terrorism.

Thoughts and prayers, of course.

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That’s only for domestic terrorists with ARs.