Between Freedom and Security: How Can We Deal With Terrorism?

Surveillance camera in cosmopolitan city

Apparently, this is the new normal: two terrorist attacks on one day (London and Brussels), the day before another attack in London and  a week earlier —  London again. In between and not long before the world witnessed attacks in France and Germany, with more terrorist attacks happening in Russia, let alone Afghanistan and other MENA countries.

Western societies were exposed to domestic terrorism in the 1970s. But since that time, terror attacks seemed to be something that happened in faraway places — until 9/11 sent home a clear message: it can (and will) happen any place, any time. And after the carnage in Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris, in January of 2015, it looks as if terrorist attacks, mostly committed by Muslim-related perpetrators, have become routine. Citizens have developed new ways of screening their environments, knowing that this can produce little more than a symbolic action.

While governments started to increase funding for police and intelligence operations, and CCTV cameras have proliferated, citizens seem to have become more fatalistic, continuing with their usual liberal lifestyles under the pressure ofincreased nervousness.

Is there anything liberal societies can do about this except adapt to new threat levels?

– Klaus Segbers

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  1. Justas Paleckis 43 mins ago

    The number of people killed by the hands of terrorists is ridiculously small compared to the number of road crash deaths. Today we accept the risk of death on roads as inevitable. Tomorrow, probably, we will similarly assess the risk of being killed due to explosion on the ground, in the air or in the water, due to gunshots or due to a car which is driven into crowd. These are the wages for our civilization’s generosity to the “golden billion”, while forgetting other seven billions, for the inability of mankind to eliminate wars and bloody conflicts. So, we will live in the routine atmosphere of increased nervousness. So, increased funding for police and intelligence will delay the time when the victims killed by terrorist attacks will outnumber the road crash deaths.

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  2. Alexei Voskressenski 38 mins ago

    Do we really believe that the state, even with a liberal society, cannot do anything against international terrorism? If the answer is yes, than societies need only to adapt to a new reality with new threat levels. However, if the state’s special mechanism is dead to the extent of not being able to rebuff terrorism than what to do in case of war? Did states dismantle their war machines? No. And we are explained that the state’s war machines are ready to rebuff any threat. However, if states are ready to rebuff external threats, than why another militarized part of the state is not ready to answer the threat of terrorism? Police and special forces have no money for that? They are not prepared? If they are asked, they disagree to that. Terrorism strikes because societies are liberal? I do not believe that. States are unable to rebuff international terrorism because there is no coordination and no trust between special services, and because there is not enough political will to coordinate their efforts. The world is in a disbalance and discoordination and states are unable to coordinate their efforts because of that. Before the attack in Boston, Russian FSB notified American FBI of such a possibility, but no one believed and listened. And there are other examples. It is worth thinking about it.

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