Perspectives of International Relations Theories on International Terrorism

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Introduction

International terrorism has drawn the attention of governments and international relations since it poses global threats that require complex global policies. Terrorists usually attack innocent people to get attention from target governments which causes loss of human lives. Apart from violent activities, terrorism groups are recruiting more civilians and increasing their numbers, increasing the risk of more wars. Most countries lack the capacity and resources to defend against terrorist attacks because they occur sporadically across the globe. However, preventive measures can arise from cooperation from government systems, appropriate organizations, international policies and mandates, and political will to offer assistance. Understanding the complexities and politics of international terrorism requires an international view that will offer global solutions. International Relations theories such as constructivism, realism, liberalism, and identity can offer a better approach to assessing the matter internationally since they deal with world governance, politics, decision making, and international policies. This essay examines international terrorism from three international theories, namely identity, realism, and liberalism, to understand the world perspective and the best global theory to approach the issue.

International Terrorism as a Global Concern

International terrorism is among the crucial challenges facing populations worldwide. The act refers to violent attacks against a nation motivated by state politics or international terrorist organizations.1 The world is becoming increasingly dangerous, with nations using state-funded terrorism as a ground for waging war that affects society globally. Terrorism elicits insecurity and fear among populations by attacking the innocent without their knowledge. Most citizens are unaware of political rifts and interests, yet they fall victim to violence, causing restlessness and fear, knowing they are defenseless. Governments cannot protect their citizens effectively because some attacks are politically motivated to discredit or overthrow existing authorities.2 Other terror attacks result from religious ideologies and ethnic groups worldwide, demanding global approaches for eradication.

International terrorism has negative impacts on domestic and global economies at a large scale. The most apparent economic effect is the destruction of multi-billion properties and loss of many lives that cause ripple effects economically. Consequently, governments use high-cost resources in counter-terrorism strategies that causes additional costs that cripple the economy.3 Another economic impact is the loss of revenue from the tourism industry, which has significant implications on domestic and global economies. Tourism accounts for almost 5 to 10% of most country’s Gross Domestic Product, and terrorism attacks cause severe declines, causing global market uncertainties. For instance, Egypt almost lost its tourism industry in 2019 due to terror attacks targeting foreign tourists.4 On the same note, terrorisms increase Xenophobia among cultures, affecting politics and business transactions internationally.5 People become skeptical about foreign cultures and influence, leading to clashes, unwarranted migrations, and increased refugees. The events hinder international diplomacy and peace-keeping efforts and require addressing on a global scale.

Currently, the most emerging issues challenging counter-terrorism strategies are technological innovations and social media. Terrorism is widespread globally through the internet, facilitating communication and connections worldwide. Most terrorist groups use the internet to recruit followers, increasing the threat of terror attacks.6 The internet also incites and funds the public and terrorism groups internationally, making it challenging to identify and contain the attacks.7 Social media also encourages terrorism attacks by airing the horror of the attacks on live Television.8 International relations must act to prevent the exploitation of media coverage, social sites, and technology from increasing the cases of international terrorism.

The Realism Theory

Realism is a significantly influential theory in International Relations and has guided most past foreign policies, such as the Cold War. Realist theorists believe in central powers that maximize interests to personal pursuits. The realism theory approaches the problem by insisting on the power of individual governments to foster counter-terrorism measures since terrorism poses different threats for different reasons. Nations have different perspectives of terrorism and must find the most effective approaches depending on the state’s capability and degree of threat.9 The theory suggests community policing and security systems that allow civilians to engage in anti-terrorism measures.10 According to the realist, the government has the ultimate responsibility of ensuring the survival of the nations and their civilians above everything else.11 Since politics judges leaders according to personal achievements, they must ensure the safety of their citizens and boundaries before cooperating on curbing terrorism internationally.

The Liberalism Theory

Unlike realism, liberalism believes in the cooperation of all nations as the only way of approaching the global problem. A liberal approach considers how terrorism attacks cause judges’ cross-border conflicts, poverty, trading, and decline in world economies.12 Weak nations have limited funds for obtaining resourceful infrastructure and policies to fight against terrorism. As a result, terrorist organizations hide and operate within the regions leading to more attacks. According to this view, liberals advocate international cooperation through international organizations for anti-terrorism, such as the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.13 International organizations provide services without self-interest and work with diverse communities, which help identify global approaches to counter-terrorism. In this approach, major world powers can provide significant funding to help developing nations fight and eradicate terrorism globally.

Social Identity Theory

The theory of social identity focuses on personal identities in society. The concept comprises self-concept and belonging to a particular social group with the same beliefs. This approach addresses terrorism through organizational reinforcements supporting global and national anti-terrorism measures policies.14 The organizations could be political, cultural, economic, or self-created interest groups. Individual groups support policymakers through funding and volunteering to find solutions such as research and campaigns against terrorism.15 Identity also addresses international terrorism through a cultural perspective concerning how different societies perceive the threat and their eradication measures.

An Analysis of the Theories Utility Approaches

Liberalism acknowledges the existence of an international organization that works towards curbing terror attacks, such as the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A liberalist understands developing countries’ efforts to fight terrorism despite limited funds and resources.16 Terrorist groups may take advantage of the developing country’s inadequacy to their benefit and establish terrorist bases in the community. Thus, the theory insists on a collective response aided by international institutions to provide balance among the major and soft powers.

Unlike liberalism, realism insists that the governments’ powers find strategies against terrorism nationally. According to realists, the efforts of international institutions are short-term and rely on the decision of the government authority.17 Thus, international organizations do not possess the sovereign power of making policy and security changes. However, the realist view does not consider corrupt governments and political self-interest such as re-elections. Some terrorist groups are funded by the government or influential political figures deeply rooted in states.18 On the same note, terrorism has gone viral on the internet and social media, making it an international threat. Leaving the matter to the national level can be partially effective considering the growth and worldwide interconnections of terrorist groups.

Social theorists’ approach towards anti-terrorism may be effective if the most practical organizations influence groups. More recognized identity groups can have significant influence that can promote or impede effective solutions. Political parties also influence the population regarding violence and terror attacks which creates different attitudes depending on the political inclination.19 Liberalism explains more effective approaches towards permanent solutions. Using a multi-lateral approach prioritizes the threats according to regions to identify the trends and possible solutions. Providing anti-terrorism infrastructure, funding, and international cooperation equips developing countries with better ways of fighting terrorism, such as cyber security.20 Terrorists take advantage of the nation’s political influence to cause destruction. Thus, liberalism offers a power balance that destabilizes active terror groups.

Conclusion

International terrorism is a global problem that threatens humanity’s survival presently and in future generations. Theories of International Relations provide different perspectives and approaches towards global measures of eradicating terrorism. From the discussion, realism attempts to approach the issue by giving the national government the power of creating solutions according to their interests, provided it contributes to countering terror attacks. However, liberal theorists argue on cooperation among nations where powerful nations help fund developing nations to promote global policies and strategies of anti-terrorism. According to social theorists, the solution to terror attacks involves societal groups and influential organizations dealing with anti-terrorism. From analyzing the different utility approaches among the three theories, liberalism offers the most effective approach to solutions. The approach understands emerging nations’ concerns and advocates for cooperation with major nations contributing more to help in relative policy-making and counter-terrorism strategies worldwide.

Bibliography

Crenshaw, Martha, and LaFree, Gary. Countering Terrorism: No Simple Solutions. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2017. 1-32.

Gakhokidze, Ekaterine. “International Terrorism: Causes and Challenges a Georgian Case Study.” Journal of Defense Resources Management 11, no. 1 (2020): 67-76. Web.

Herrmann, Richard K. “How Attachments to the Nation Shape Beliefs about the World: A Theory of Motivated Reasoning.” International Organization 71, (04, 2017): S61-S84. Web.

Huseynov, Vasif. Geopolitical Rivalries in the “Common Neighborhood”: Russia’s Conflict with the West, Soft Power, and Neoclassical Realism. Berlin: Ibidem Verlag, vol 224. (2019). 33-45.

Iulian, Raluca Iulia. International Terrorism in the 21st Century – 16 Years After 9/11 2001. Vol. 5. Prague: Central Bohemia University, 2017. Web.

Koos, Agnes Katalin and Kenneth Keulman. “Methodological Nationalism in Global Studies and Beyond.” Social Sciences 8, no. 12 (2019): 327. Web.

Lessa Pablo, Henrique Cordeiro and Sandra Regina Martini. “International Terrorism as an Instrument of Political Struggle and of Injury to Integrational Law.” Asian Journal of German and European Studies 2, no. 1 (12, 2017). Web.

Matiuta, Cristina. “The Basics of Global Politics.” Journal of Identity and Migration Studies 15, no. 2 (2021): 160-163,165.

Footnotes

  1. Raluca Iulia Iulian, International Terrorism in the 21st Century – 16 Years after 9/11 2001. Vol. 5.
  2. Pablo Lessa, Cordeiro Henrique and Regina Martini Sandra, “International Terrorism as an Instrument of Political Struggle and of Injury to Integrational Law.” Asian Journal of German and European Studies 2, no.1 Vol 12, (2017).
  3. Ekaterine Gakhokidze, “International Terrorism: Causes and Challenges a Georgian Case Study, Journal of Defense Resources Management 11, no. 1 (2020). 67.
  4. Ekaterine Gakhokidze. “International Terrorism: Causes and Challenges a Georgian Case Study, Journal of Defense Resources Management 11, no. 1 (2020). 69.
  5. Martha Crenshaw and Gary LaFree, Countering Terrorism: No Simple Solutions. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2017. 12.
  6. Raluca Iulia Iulian, International Terrorism in the 21st Century – 16 Years after 9/11 2001. Vol. 5.
  7. Raluca Iulia Iulian, International Terrorism in the 21st Century – 16 Years after 9/11 2001. Vol. 5.
  8. Ekaterine Gakhokidze, “International Terrorism: Causes and Challenges a Georgian Case Study.” Journal of Defense Resources Management 11, no. 1 (2020). 67.
  9. Vasif Huseynov, Geopolitical Rivalries in the “Common Neighborhood”: Russia’s Conflict with the West, Soft Power, and Neoclassical Realism. Berlin: Ibidem Verlag, vol 224. (2019). 33.
  10. Raluca Iulia Iulian, International Terrorism in the 21st Century – 16 Years after 9/11 2001. Vol. 5.
  11. Pablo Lessa, Cordeiro Henrique and Regina Martini Sandra, “International Terrorism as an Instrument of Political Struggle and of Injury to Integrational Law.” Asian Journal of German and European Studies 2, no.1 Vol 12, (2017).
  12. Cristina Matiuta, “The Basics of Global Politics.” Journal of Identity and Migration Studies 15, no. 2 (2021): 162.
  13. Agnes Katalin Koos and Keulman Kenneth, “Methodological Nationalism in Global Studies and Beyond.” Social Sciences 8, no. 12 (2019): 327.
  14. Richard K. Herrmann, “How Attachments to the Nation Shape Beliefs about the World: A Theory of Motivated Reasoning.” International Organization 71, (04, 2017): S61-S84.
  15. Cristina Matiut,, “The Basics of Global Politics.” Journal of Identity and Migration Studies 15, no. 2 (2021): 164.
  16. Martha Crenshaw and Gary LaFree, Countering Terrorism: No Simple Solutions. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2017. 14.
  17. Vasif Huseynov, Geopolitical Rivalries in the “Common Neighborhood”: Russia’s Conflict with the West, Soft Power, and Neoclassical Realism. Berlin: Ibidem Verlag, vol 224. (2019). 35.
  18. Cristina Matiuta, “The Basics of Global Politics.” Journal of Identity and Migration Studies 15, no. 2 (2021): 165.
  19. Cristina Matiuta, “The Basics of Global Politics.” Journal of Identity and Migration Studies 15, no. 2 (2021): 166.
  20. Raluca Iulia Iulian, International Terrorism in the 21st Century – 16 Years after 9/11 2001. Vol. 5.

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DemoEssays. "Perspectives of International Relations Theories on International Terrorism." December 25, 2022. https://demoessays.com/perspectives-of-international-relations-theories-on-international-terrorism/.