[t]he most egregious globalization has been the exploitation and abuse of children in war, pornography, poverty, and sex tourism. Children have been soldiers and victims in the raging ethnic and religious wars; children are the majority of the global cohort that suffers poverty, disease and starvation. Children are our terrorists-to-be because they are so obviously not our citizens to come.
Benjamin R. Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism’s Challenge to Democracy. London, Corgi, 2003, p. xxvii.

1. Introduction: There Are Many Ways To Be Modern

There has been a spate of books following September 9/11 and the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq that seeks to uncover the real motives behind attacks and counter-attacks both by and on the west. Some of these works seek to inquire into the deeper historical causes and reasons why the tenor of post- Cold War politics has degenerated from the advertised safe global world we were promised--after the “end of ideology”--in the “new world order”. We were told by the likes of Francis Fukuyama that with liberalism in the ascendancy, after the collapse of communism all that was left to do was the “tidying up” of a few local skirmishes. 1

Some writers have sought to provide the inside story on Al-Qaeda, or the Bush “neo-cons”, while others have focused on larger issues separating the Islamic world from the west, and still others have probed behind contemporary events to discuss pivotal historical trends and emerging events. Let me take three prominent examples that are representative of the literature I describe. 2 Benjamin R. Barber’s (2003: xi) Jihad vs McWorld originally published in 1995, explains the confrontation between two worlds as a struggle that has put into question the “seemingly ineluctable march” of a secularised, free-market, commercialised and materialist McWorld “into a complacent postmodernity”. His major argument is that the modern response to the clash between Jihad and McWorld—a trope echoing Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations”—cannot be simply military but “must entail a commitment to democracy and justice even when they are in tension with the commitment to cultural expansionism and global markets” (pp. xi-xii). Democracy is the instrument, Barber argues, by which we can avoid the choice between “a sterile cultural monism (McWorld) and a raging cultural fundamentalism (Jihad)” (p. xiii).

In one sense I think Barber is right. The fundamental challenge for the west and for western education is in promoting a form of political education that highlights and takes into account the quotation from Barber with which I have begun this introduction: “Children are our terrorists-to-be because they are so obviously not our citizens to come”. But this would have to be a form of political education that is not based on the logic of conversion or crass assimilation to American or western values but to as-yet unformulated ethos of a world civic space and concept of world citizenship. Such a vision may not be based on a simple projection of Kant’s “perpetual peace” although it might invoke a kind of cosmopolitanism that can still be shaped through participation, dialogue and exchange of world cultures.

Not so differently John Gray (2003: 1-2.) in Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern, explains that Al Qaeda is a “by-product of globalisation” whose most distinctive feature is the “projection of a privatised form of organised violence worldwide” and whose closest models are not medieval assassins but “the revolutionary anarchists of late-nineteenth century Europe”. He makes the Baudrillardian point that the attack on the World Trade Center did more than kill thousands of civilians. 3 The spectacular event also “destroyed the West’s ruling myth” that modernity is “a single condition, everywhere the same and always benign”. He elaborates:

As societies become more modern, so they become more alike. At the same time they become better. Being modern means realising our values—the values of the Enlightenment, as we like to think of them (p. 1).

Gray very firmly demonstrates that revolutionary terror is “a modern invention” and that Al-Qaeda is also modern (I would say postmodern). He also neatly demonstrates that “[t]here are many ways of being modern, some of them monstrous” and he tracks three modern projects—Positivism, Communism and Nazism. All three projects defined themselves as modern and as the basis of universal civilization. He continues: “It came to be that only American-style ‘democratic capitalism’ is truly modern, and that it is destined to spread everywhere. As it does, a universal civilization will come into being, and history will come to an end” (p. 3). Yet radical Islam insofar as it is represented in Al-Qaeda, is also modern, although the West likes to depict it as a medieval relic. While it is anti-western, it is shaped as much by western ideology as it is by Islamic traditions. Gray argues “Like Marxists and neo-liberals, radical Islamists see history as a prelude to a new world. All are convinced they can remake the human condition. If there is a uniquely modern myth, this is it”. And he concludes his argument with the idea that part of the modern myth is that science, read also education in its broadest sense, enables humanity to “take charge of its destiny; but ‘humanity’ is itself a myth, a dusty remnant of religious faith” (p. 4).

I am largely in sympathy with Gray’s argument. His little book serves as moralising tale (in the best polemical sense) that not only details “the original modernisers” (Saint-Simon, Comte etc.) but also provides “A very short history of the global free market” (Chapter 4) and an analysis of both “Geopolitics and the limits of growth” and “Pax Americana?” before emphasising “Why we still do not know what it means to be modern” (Chapter 8). He correctly points out that the word itself only appeared at the end of the sixteenth century to become gradually associated with the idea of novelty and the new, finally coming to convey the Enlightenment view of a deliberate break with the past--that the future would be different from the past. He thrusts home the point of his argument:

Western societies are ruled by the myth that, as the rest of the world absorbs science and becomes modern, it is bound to become secular, enlightened and peaceful—as contrary to all evidence, they imagine themselves to be (p. 118).

He adds a further paradox:

“Al Qaeda destroyed this myth; and yet it continues to be believed” (p. 118).

What disheartens me a little with Gray’s analysis is that he does not capitalise on his argument. Perhaps, within the space of a little book there is not the space to do so. Perhaps, he wanted to end on the provocative note, without suggesting a way forward. There are many possible responses to his argument that depend not only on a greater awareness of historiography and philosophy of history—modes of consciousness based on models of conceiving historical time—but also on the actual history of the ancient Mediterranean together with its first encounters between east and west (see, for example, Braudel, 2001) and the analysis of forms of cultural diffusion upon which the Greek ideal is based. These methods of analysis need to be put side by side both with the philosophical investigation of European humanism and its contemporary expression in the new European constitution with its charter of fundamental human rights. Does Europe offer a distinct way forward? Is there a form of humanism that is sufficiently self-reflexive and open to cultural development to serve as a platform both for cosmopolitical institutions and a project of political education? 4

In the last work I am going to cite two of the world’s leading philosophers—Habermas and Derrida—normally antagonistic, stand side by side for the first time. In Philosophy in a Time of Terror, Giovanna Borradori (2003) conducts dialogues with Habermas and Derrida as well as providing an essay in his case analysing their work in relation to terrorism—both, reconstructing and deconstructing terror. Borradori sets up two models of public participation, political activism symbolised by Bertram Russell, and social critique symbolised by Hannah Arendt. Borradori works hard to find the similarities between Habermas and Derrida: they are both more like Arendt than Russell; they are “post-Holocaust philosophers” who display a commitment to “human laws and institutions as they evolve through time” (p. 13). Borradori writes that they share an understanding of the experience of history as trauma: “Both of them have encountered and embraced philosophy in the context of the traumas of twentieth-century European history: colonialism, totalitarianism, and the Holocaust. Their contributions to the subject of 9/11 and global terrorism follow in the same vein” (p. 8-9). In a newly globalized world both share an allegiance to the Enlightenment, even if they differ over the understanding of “tolerance” and its relevance to democratic society. Where Habermas attributes universal value to tolerance, along with republican institutions and democratic participation, Derrida suggest that its roots in the Christian concept of charity, defeats the possibility of its universalisation and its use in secular contexts. For Habermas religious intolerance—a fundamentalism of the modern age—constitutes a defensive reaction against modernism and its uprooting of traditional forms of life. The violence of terrorism that springs from fundamentalism Habermas understands as a form of communicative pathology that follows from the spiral of mistrust that leads to a breakdown of communication. Thus, only reason understood as transparent and nonmanipulative communication can possibly cure or overcome the problems of terrorism—a symptom of modernization. For Derrida, by contrast, terrorism is a symptom of an autoimmune disorder where defensive mechanisms designed to protect the system suicide turning the system against itself. The biological paradigm of autoimmunity and its breakdown takes many forms—the breakdown of communication is clearly only one form (albeit a highly significant one in a media-saturated society). Its cure is both painful and time-consuming.

My brief response to this dialogue is to see in it some hope. I would want to explore with Habermas the congruence of forms of political education with his notion of communicative reason, not necessarily construed simply as a democratic conversation among friends or even democracy as the method of inquiry. Derrida’s response provides us with a biohistorical analysis based on three moments comprising the “Cold War”, the “end of the Cold War”, and the “balance of terror”. His analysis of terrorism in terms of the breakdown of autoimmunity draws attention to the system as a whole and the structural oppression built into current processes of globalisation. Perhaps, we can conceive of political education as a cure to the breakdown of autoimmunity—a form of education that educates world citizens for a kind of cosmopolitanism without the presupposition of state sovereignty, that is, a form of democracy to come and global social justice?

We need to inquire into the history and structure of violence and terror as violence. Is it as it has always been or are there new conditions for the spawning of terror that come about with the advent of globalisation?

2. Postmodern Terror in a Globalized World

Just as the evolving postmodern European system of states that is based on transparency, mutual surveillance and economic interdependency (Cooper, 2001) moves toward its final constitutional form, so too new forms of terrorism have developed that are different from its predominantly modern form. 5 The postmodern European state system operates according to a new logic and it is unimaginable that member states would attack each other. By contrast, when confronted with premodern zones of anarchy--weak states intimated by mafia bosses, drug lords or terrorists—Cooper (2001) argues, the modern or postmodern state must intervene. The world now confronts postmodern forms of terrorism that have invented new rules to play an old game (Laqueur, 1996). 6

Postmodern terrorists are both less ideological than their 1960s and ‘70s counterparts and yet more committed on grounds of religious and ethnic grievances. 7 While Marxist-Leninist militant groups survive, the initiative has passed from the left to the extreme, fundamentalist, right. Terrorism, whether domestic or international—and increasingly in a borderless world the line is harder to draw—tends to be neither left or right but rather ethnic and separatist. Postmodern terrorism seemingly has no limits, no inside or outside: it is transnational, truly global, highly mobile, and cellular. It makes use of new global technologies in communication and information-exchange: cells are “intelligent networks” able to conduct surveillance, decode and hack into official systems and databases. Cyberterrorism is a reality as airport controllers have discovered to their dismay. 8 Postmodern terrorism is also telegenic: it is aware that wars and terrorism must use the media in all its forms to shape the subjectivities of the viewing public. Militarily, postmodern terrorism avails itself of the latest developments in light weaponry and at the same time poses a threat to state nuclear arsenals and supplies. It can also be small-scale yet “high-tech” especially in the new areas of biotechnology and its application in biological warfare. It bases itself on the principle of asymmetry, turning back upon itself the sophisticated technological systems of the postindustrial West—not only the weaponization of civilian aviation as in the case of September 9/11 but also the weaponization of all facilities including water supplies, gas stations, transport systems and the like. Postmodern terrorism is sensitive to its business and funding sources, often in cahoots with global crime especially the powerful drug lords and cartels. Of all the changes in the nature of terrorism perhaps the most important is that in recent decades many militant organisations have developed political as well as military arms, encouraging a division of labour that provides education and social services, and engages in the normal activities of business and politics while a dissociated military arm carries out terrorism (Laqueur, 1996). Above all, postmodern terrorism has many faces: school boy friends with a grudge against their class mates; the Christian fundamentalist who bombs abortion clinics; the computer hacker next door; and, transnational, state-sponsored terrorism. Terrorism is on the rise in both advanced societies and in the stateless “zones of anarchy”. In this environment we have no longer “peace education” that developed out of the Peace Corps and propaganda of the Cold War but “education for war” or “education for empire”—an accent on the preparedness and training for terrorist attacks, a perpetual civil vigil and emphasis on “homeland security,” a veritable rush of information, analysis, courses, reports, and Internet resources centring on “strategic education.” 9 . In the next sections of this paper I examine “the war on terrorism” focusing on “Operation Enduring Freedom” and analyse definitions of patterns of global terror by reference to the US Department of State’s (2003) Patterns of Global Terrorism, 2002 and the United Nations’s Report of the Policy Working Group on the United Nations and Terrorism which provide contrasting accounts of “terrorism” and responses to it.

3. The War on Terrorism: Operation Enduring Freedom

After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the United States military entered into a war against global terrorism. President Bush declared a War on Terrorism. This war was unlike any other that the US had engaged in: it was not declared against a specific state (cf., War on Drugs); it was fought on both domestic and foreign soil; it required massive coordination of resources—military, financial and political. The military response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States called Operation Enduring Freedom. President Bush addressed the joint session of Congress on September 20) to announce a “war on terror.” He demanded of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan that it turn over all the leaders of the al-Qaeda terrorist group based in that country, close every terrorist training camp there, hand over all terrorists to appropriate authorities, and give the United States full access to terrorist training camps. He added:

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics -- a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists’ directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinctions among military and civilians, including women and children. (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2001/09/mil-010920-usia01.htm)

George W. Bush was careful in the speech to distinguish between Muslims and the terrorists. The speech itself is structured around a series of questions “Americans are asking Who attacked our country? Why do they hate us? How will we fight and win this war? What is expected of us?” Bush’s analysis of the second question is interesting in that he suggests “They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” In this response Bush tends to simplify, to propagandise and to overlook the growing anti-Americanism that has intensified since 9-11, which is not limited to the terrorists he names. Indeed, Sardar and Davies (2002: 7) argue “a more careful and imaginative approach to US foreign policy is essential if worldwide anti-American feeling is not to spiral out of control.” They note that the events of 9-11 “have spawned innumerable courses and classroom initiatives at all levels of the US education system” and write:

It is one of our central arguments that at the heart of relation between America and the rest of the world stands a problem of knowledge. In precise terms, we call it the problem of ‘knowledgeable ignorance’: knowing people, ideas, civilisations, religions, histories as something they are not, and could not possibly be, and maintaining these ideas even when the means exist to know differently. Knowledgeable ignorance is a term applied to the Western view of Islam and Muslims in particular. It refers to more than general negative attitudes and ideas; it defines the way in which such attitudes are built into an approach to knowledge, a body of study and expertise called Orientalism (p. 12).

Bush also announces a different coordinated kind of war that is unprecedented in America’s history and which is ongoing and integrate military strategy with a range of other measures, including new provisions for home security. On October 7, 2001 Bush announced that the U.S. military had launched strikes against al-Qaeda terrorist camps and Taliban military installations in Afghanistan. In the 7 October speech he spelled out the objectives of Operation Enduring Freedom:

This military action is a part of our campaign against terrorism, another front in a war that has already been joined through diplomacy, intelligence, the freezing of financial assets and the arrests of known terrorists by law enforcement agents in 38 countries. Given the nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose. (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2001/10/mil-011007-usia01.htm).

Campaign objectives were laid out by the British Government also in terms of a set of immediate objectives focused on capture of Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders, the prevention of further attacks by al-Qaeda, and the removal of Mullah Omar and the Taliban Regime. Wider goals included the end of terrorism, the deterrence of state sponsorship of terrorism, and the reintegration of Afghanistan into the international community. In the public discussion paper The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter (http://www.mod.uk/issues/sdr/new_chapter/pubdisppr.htm) the Ministry of Defence commented upon “Tackling the Basis of Terrorism” indicating that politics, religion and ideology might generate terrorism but equally may produce the sets of values that lead to the rejection of terrorism. The discussion paper then considers the contribution that conflict, failures of good governance and social justice, and economic factors, might make in causing terrorism, while making clear that such understanding never amounts to a justification for resorting to terrorism. The document continues:

Whilst the causes of terrorism can be found in a mixture of social, political and economic factors, the key seems to lie in gaining specific understanding of the particular political conditions within which particular groups emerge and operate. In taking short-term action against the symptoms of terrorism, we need to minimise the risk of contributing, in the long-term, to its causes.

The events that transpired following the attack against al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, leading up to the war against Iraq, for some commentators have indicated a risky unilateralism by the US-UK which has in some instances resulted in the curtailing of liberties at home and the suspension of the international rule of law and human rights. Some scholars have argued that the risks of blowback and reprisal are greater now than before and that the US-UK war against Iraq signally failed to develop a global coalition against terrorism. Moreover, given that most of the new “international terrorist” group named by the US are Islamic, the fraternisation with Israel and the dominance of pro-Israel elements advising the White has imperilled and prevented the necessary dialogue with Arab nations (Kellner, 2002).

4. Definitions and Patterns of Terrorism: US vs UN

Definitions of terrorism are notoriously difficult to draft and the lack of agreement on a definition of terrorism has been a major obstacle to meaningful international countermeasures. Current definitions of terrorism fail to capture the magnitude of the problem worldwide and tend to falter around differences of political ideology: one state’s “terrorist” is another state’s “freedom fighter.” Witness the status of Nelson Mandela and the ANC before, during and after apartheid. The UN Member States still have not agreed upon a definition. The League of Nations Convention in 1937 came up the following definition: “All criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons or a group of persons or the general public”. A.P. Schmid, a terrorist expert, in 1992 suggested in a report for the then UN Crime Branch that terrorism might be best defined in terms of a peacetime equivalent of “war crime,” incorporating deliberate attacks on civilians, hostage taking and the killing of prisoners. The US State Department uses the definition contained in Title 22 of the United States Code (Section 2656f(d)):

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. The term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country. The term “terrorist group means any group practicing, or that has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.” 10

By comparison, the UN has refrained from adopting any single comprehensive definition. It defines terrorism in terms less equivocal than the US:

Terrorism is, in most cases, essentially a political act. It is meant to inflict dramatic and deadly injury on civilians and to create an atmosphere of fear, generally for a political or ideological (whether secular or religious) purpose. Terrorism is a criminal act, but it is more than mere criminality. To overcome the problem of terrorism it is necessary to understand its political nature as well as its basic criminality and psychology (p. 5).

The US definition does not seem to allow for the possibility that terror may be a state activity—not simply “state-sponsored”-- whereas the UN definition is more open, acknowledging the difficulties of self-serving and semantic-ideological dimensions of legal classification, especially in international law.

Organized political violence increasingly is aimed at civilians and civil spaces, yet it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish combatants from victims. 11 One question concerns international terrorism and how the existing international political order should respond to violence instigated by non-state actors. Some scholars argue that the international system of nation-states now pervasively modelled on Western democracies should be strengthened. Warfare then should be regulated by international convention. Others argue that Western nation-states, which foster decentralized warfare by perpetrating inequalities among nations, are the real problem. For some terrorism threatens an ideal political order in which war is only fought according to rules agreed among states (“just war” theory). As non-state actors, terrorists operate outside the rule of law and, unlike state armies, deliberately attack civilian populations and facilities (Hoffman, 1998). Yet this analysis seems to exempt Western powers, as the originators of the international rules of war, from self-examination and precludes the possibility that they could sponsor or perpetrate political violence themselves. It also ignores the critique of Western militarism, the growth of the arms industry as part of the military-research-industrial complex, the indirect forms of warfare waged on the underdeveloped world, and the way in which militarism is and always has been a daily part of the social and institutional fabric of Western way of life. 12

The representation of political violence as terrorism--its narrativisation and its embodiment as a discourse—reifies it, cutting it off from other forms of violent behaviour and often disguising or preventing examination of claims to political legitimacy. 13 In particular, the representation of terrorism by globalized media can reduce the complexities and ignore the ethnic and gender differences of organized violence.

Patterns of Global Terrorism, 2002--US Department of State (2003)

Ambassador Cofer Black, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, indicates that the war on terrorism has five fronts: diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, financial and military. He reports on the four principles of US counter-terrorism strategy: make no concessions to terrorists and strike no deals; bring terrorists to justice for their claims; isolate and apply pressure on states that sponsor terrorism to force them to change their behavior 14 ; bolster the counterterrorist capabilities of those countries that work with the United States and require assistance.

The US State Department report provides an overview of all major regions of the world and state-sponsored terrorism. In some ways the appendices are more informative although statistical analysis on an annual basis is easily distorted through the cataclysmic event. Appendix A provides a chronology of significant terrorist incidents for 2002. Of 134 incidents including some 33 different countries India scores highest with 67 incidents followed by West Bank and Israel (15), and Pakistan 9. Appendix B, which provides background on designated foreign terrorist organizations, list a total of 36 organizations of which 22 are Islamic and 14 non-Islamic. Many of the non-Islamic organizations are classified as Marxist-Leninist or Maoist and were established during the 1960s and 1970s. The vast majority of the named Islamic organizations were established in 1980s and 90s, although there are some Islamic groups (Marxist/religious) that date from the 1970s or earlier. What the data reveals is the new waves of Islamic terrorist organizations set up in the last couple of decades. 15 These named terrorists groups make up a much larger group of some 250 terrorist groups and entities designated by the US.

Report of the Policy Working Group on the UN and Terrorism

The UN places a great deal of importance on understanding terrorism and on an educative response to it. The Report of the Policy Working Group places great emphasis on a tripartite strategy of dissuasion of disaffected groups, denial of the means to carry out terrorism, and sustaining broad-based international cooperation in the struggle against terrorism. Dissuasion is based upon norm-setting, human rights and communication—clearly an educative set of functions. The Working Group recognizes that terrorism often thrives where human rights are violated and where there is lack of hope for social justice, therefore, the promotion of human rights (and the ideology of the UN) becomes the basic response. 16 Denial of opportunity for the commissions of acts of terrorism, together with more systematic international counter-terrorism cooperation, defines the approach of UN that is based on the UN’s comparative advantage. The Working Group also set up eight subgroups to address specific issues, including international legal instruments, human rights, WMD, counter-terrorism, media and communications and the use of ideology to justify terrorism. The UN report does recognize that transnational networks are a relatively new phenomenon and that the spill-over effects of terrorism including cross-border violence makes it difficult to draw sharp distinctions between domestic and international terrorism. The UN is also more forthright than the US State Department in acknowledging “terror has been adopted by rules at various times as an instrument of control”. This means “the rubric of counter-terrorism can be used to justify acts in support of political agendas, such as the consolidation of political power, elimination of dissent and/or suppression of resistance to military occupation.” Perhaps, most importantly in these times the UN recognises “Labelling opponents or adversaries as terrorists offers a time-tested technique to de-legitimize and demonize them” (p. 5).

The UN report provides a set of 31 recommendations under dissuasion (international legal instruments and non-legal norm-setting), denial (counter-terrorism Committee, disarmament and preventive measures), and cooperation (non-UN multinational initiatives and coordination of UN system). Importantly, the UN emphasises the premise that counter-terrorism must be firmly grounded in international law and that terrorists ought to be tried before the International Criminal Court. The UN stresses a universalism based on human rights ideology framed within the international rule of law which places it in some tension with US solutions that tend to be less constrained by the international rule of law and more Ameri-centric. The UN also places information-enhancement and strong role for education as revealed through its emphasis on human rights and non-legal norm setting. Recommendations 8 and 9 refer to information-enhancement while recommendation 10 focuses on dissemination of the work of the UN agencies that relate to terror, including UNESCO role in relation to “educational initiatives, such as curricula reform, that aim to increase understanding, encourage tolerance and respect for human dignity, while reducing mutual distrust between communities in conflict”. 17

5. Postscript

The world has changed since 9/11. There is a greater awareness of the vulnerability of global civil society, increasingly articulated in cybernetic terms. If there is one thing that commentators seem to agree upon is that we are dealing with or experiencing a new phenomenon. Paul Gilbert (2003) entitles his book New Terror, New Wars and he contrasts conditions, conduct, roles and identities of the Falklands conflict of 1982 with the so-called “War on Terror”. Walter Laquer (1997) also acknowledged well before the terrorist event we refer to as 9/11 that terrorism itself had changed:

Society has also become vulnerable to a new kind of terrorism, in which the destructive power of both the individual terrorist and terrorism as a tactic are infinitely greater. Earlier terrorists could kill kings or high officials, but others only too eager to inherit their mantle quickly stepped in. The advanced societies of today are more dependent every day on the electronic storage, retrieval, analysis, and transmission of information. Defense, the police, banking, trade, transportation, scientific work, and a large percentage of the government’s and the private sector’s transactions are on-line. That exposes enormous vital areas of national life to mischief or sabotage by any computer hacker, and concerted sabotage could render a country unable to function. Hence the growing speculation about infoterrorism and cyberwarfare.

There are also different reponses to what I have called “postmodern terror”. We can in terms of the above discussion, for instance, identify two contrasting responses: the one typified by the US State Department which I call “defensive modernism”. By this I mean that the newly created massive-funded Department of Home Security is designed to turn the US in “fortress America”, supplemented by a national defence and security strategy aimed at “regime change”. The second response is what I call the “educative response” based on “dissuasion, denial, and cooperation”. It is less willing to declare a “war on terrorism” and seeks to provide an alternative rights-based program.

Again if there is agreement among commentators it is that new terrorism and new wars are, as Gilbert (2003: 10) puts it “essentially, manifestations of the politics of identity” which presupposes that “one enters life as a person with a particular collective identity”. Reinhard Schulze (2002: xiii) makes a similar point in relation to his study of Islamic world when he argues that “At the end of the 1980s, the great ideological narratives had ostensible spun their tales, fizzled out” and “social utopias went out of fashion”. He suggests that “globalization re-created ‘culture’ as an effective and powerful concept of its own in order to newly determine hierarchies on a global level” and as a response classical Islamism turned increasingly into a kind of ethical conservatism, based on the assumption that ethical values should be safeguarded in the face of globalization”. If this is so, or something very like it is the case--and in view of the evidence it seems a plausible hypothesis—then the question of understanding terrorism must begin with an appreciation of globalization and the politics of identity. The philosophy of terrorism and war must also recognised the changed context in order to answer questions concerning both whether terrorism is ever morally justified and whether war is a morally justified response to it. Both philosophical questions, considered within the context of international justice, must now come to terms with the cultural nature of religions and moral traditions and the possibilities for radical cross-cultural dialogue, reflection and discussion.


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