Problem Solution Essay on Terrorism

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Terrorism is a difficult threat to tackle as it comes in different forms and for various reasons. For the most part, it is politically motivated and its purpose is to disturb the peace by installing fear into populations so that they can achieve what they want more easily. Using military power as a deterrent for terrorism can be seen to be effective in some aspects as it has the ability to take out their support and supplies which would slow them down however, with this use of hard power we have seen how it is not entirely effective in all cases of Terrorism. In fact, it has proved at times to be quite counter-productive due to ethical reasons as it seems to have collateral damage to civilians' lives and the abuse of human rights. Other tactics might prove to be better suited to tackling terrorism such as soft power as some believe that it is easier to achieve the ideal outcome through negotiations rather than coercion. Ultimately, the combination of the two seems to be the most efficient way to deal with terrorism as a whole if you are looking at ways to eventually eradicate it however, realistically it looks like the best thing any nation can do is look to minimize the damage from terrorism as much as possible by implementing the right strategies in specific situations.

Military responses towards terrorist activities aim for the regime's sponsorships as a way to weaken them. For instance, in 2001 the overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Military repression also includes the targeting of specific training camps and leaders. By directly attacking these they are able to weaken and slow down terrorist activity. We have seen successes of these through examples such as the Sri Lankan army carrying out an offensive push against the Tamil Tigers in 2008-09, destroying the movement's ability as a fighting force and bringing an end to a 26-year conflict (Heywood, 2014). However, the issue with these attacks is that there are far too many civilian casualties. In this example of the Sri Lankan army, there was an estimated between 7000 and 20,000 civilian lives lost creating a negative image at times on military interventions. Moreover, military action is seen to be even more counterproductive when its reputation is defined by the abuse of human rights as we saw in the Abu Ghraib scandal whereby photos were leaked of how US soldiers had taken over one of their detention centers and had used it to torture and abuse captives. This had damaged the US's 'defender of the free world' (Heywood, 2014) image heavily leading to a surge of anti-Americanism throughout the middle east enabling terrorist propaganda further. Military operations have their limitations as terrorist threats are so complex it creates great difficulty in finding a single strategy that could possibly provide a solution. That is why it is complicated to fully grasp a terrorist organization and to establish how we might effectively deter its acts (Jackson, 2011).

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The Irish Republican Army (IRA) employed terrorism as a strategy in their political battle as the conflict began with authorities attempting to crush protests, which resulted in violence and the creation of armed paramilitary units (O'Neill, 2019). However, this was a scenario where soft power would come in handier than just using brute force. Attempting to use hard power here would just lead to unnecessary conflict and death as there was a clear political aim that the IRA wanted to achieve therefore a balance between the two was needed to strike a deal and create safety. The UK's willingness to negotiate here saw the end to the terrorism in Northern Ireland as the Belfast agreement had been made. On the other hand, we must use this example to see how crucial it is to have a balance between soft and hard power as there are other cases that exemplify how the use of soft power alone is not an effective method to prevent terrorism. For example, as a gesture of goodwill and to prevent hostilities, President Andres Pastrana offered the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) a vast region on November 7, 1998, but he prompted the FARC to continue building significant pressure by seizing FARC camps (Rubin, 2014). As a result, the president followed through by increasing military measures which had led to a decrease in FARC activity demonstrating the importance of having a clear balance between the two types of powers. Other criticisms of the use of soft power alone are that it is seen as appeasement, or a form of moral retreat from intimidation and a lack of will to stand up for people's beliefs (Heywood, 2014). In addition, it may only be an effective solution to use this in cases of nationalist terrorism such as the example of the IRA whereby the motivation lies within sovereignty redistribution and political autonomy.

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Problem Solution Essay on Terrorism. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
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