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Who Will Lead in the Age of Terrorism?

Updated on November 22, 2015
cam8510 profile image

Through his travels and reading, Chris gathers information and writes about historical events and concepts which are often overlooked.

Le Carillon à Paris

The Carillon rally outside Paris on Sunday after the terrorist attacks of November 13, 2015 in France.
The Carillon rally outside Paris on Sunday after the terrorist attacks of November 13, 2015 in France. | Source

Civilization on a Precipice

The world is teetering on the edge of a precipice. On one side is the way up to new heights of human achievement in international cooperation and stability. The results could well be unparalleled economic growth and peace. On the other side of the precipice is a chasm of social and economic chaos.

On the precipice, two sides wage battle. Over the millennia, this place has rarely been at peace. It is the borderland between two distinct world views, two mutually exclusive ways of life which cannot and will not peacefully coexist. Conflict is ever present and outright war a continual possibility.

The Threats to Free Societies in the Past

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Genghis KhanAdolph HitlerNikita Kruschev
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan | Source
Adolph Hitler
Adolph Hitler | Source
Nikita Kruschev
Nikita Kruschev | Source

The Aggressors in History

The aggressors have changed periodically throughout history. In ancient times they were Mongols. In recent history the invaders were known as Communists and Nazis. These powers sought to limit the freedom of those they conquered. Communism provided us with the descriptive term, the Iron Curtain. On one side were oppressed people, on the other side was the Free World.

Something is happening before our very eyes today. A new aggressor is on the march. It takes land, oppresses people and obliterates freedom. This new threat to world order and peace operates in a different way than its predecessors. In place of an Iron Curtain, there is an invisible net of oppression which is being cast wider and wider, entrapping nations and societies in clandestine ways.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi-Still Alive

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, ISYL or Daesh.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, ISYL or Daesh. | Source

Terrorists: A New Kind of Enemy

In the past, empire builders used the overwhelming force of massive armies. Today's threat to freedom is not a nation in the common use of the term, and its battles are not limited to the traditional battlefield. Terror is its modus operandi. Terror is its true name. As it extends its reach, enlists extremists and consolidates power, terrorism is maturing.

The predecessors of modern terrorism reach back into the 18th and 19th centuries and were known as anarchism and nationalism. Today terrorism is identified by several names, such as Boko Haram, Shabab, The Islamic Emirate and The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). They are present on the battlefields, taking and holding land, but their greatest impact is through secret infiltration of societies and sudden, overwhelming acts of violence and slaughter.

Through terrorism, these organizations can steal freedom from societies they do not directly govern. They intimidate governments, thereby stifling opposition. The threat of terror is possibly even more influential than the actual acts of terror.

The World Responds: World War I, World War II

Twice in the last century the world responded to the aggressors of its day. Twice the evil was vanquished by the united front of the Free World. The iron curtain fell as a result of the free people of the world maintaining a constant vigil against this power until it failed internally and collapsed.

Where is the united response of free people to the threat of terrorism? Where are the Churchills, the Roosevelts, the de Gaulles and the Reagans? Where are the leaders who will stand up and oppose the enemy? Who will cry out, “Tear down this wall?” Who will declare “A date which will live in infamy,” and our “Finest hour?”

Where We Now Stand: Hesitation

The world of the early 21st century sits on a precipice. On one side is a climb to heights of freedom and prosperity unknown by previous generations. On the other side is a chasm of despair, bondage, fear, economic depression, societal depression and personal depression.

The 20th century produced two world wars to overcome the enemy. The time is ripe for the next global response to the threat against freedom. How many more attacks must we endure? Paris is the latest that captured our attention. We won’t forget 9/11. But these are only two of the tens of thousands of attacks which have taken the lives of free people and bound the world with ropes of fear. To hesitate here, is to welcome our own demise.

In 2014, nearly 33,000 people died at that hands of terrorists in 13,500 attacks These numbers are nearly double those for 2013.

Poll About Terrorism

What should be the response of your country to terrorism?

See results

A Global Response: Overwhelming Force

Is this a call for World War III? At Pearl Harbor, 2,500 people died and the United States responded and eventually overcame the Imperial Japanese Army. On September 11, 2001, 2,977 died. In 2014, nearly 33,000 people died at that hands of terrorists in 13,500 attacks Those numbers are nearly double those for 2013, Yet President Obama proclaimed the terrorists to have been contained.

What is true, from the start our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq and in Syria. They'll come in. They'll leave. But you don't see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain. What we have not yet been able to do is to completely decapitate their command and control structures. We've made some progress in trying to reduce the flow of foreign fighters.

No single nation can or should do this. The world must rally and respond with overwhelming force that ties up the enemies’ resources so that they cannot continue their offensive acts of terror. Only when our enemies are on the defensive can we begin to make headway at eliminating them.

Who Will Lead Us?

This is not a call for nation building or settling any one country’s civil war. Internal Revolution is the responsibility of the people who want to be free. Civil war is a nation’s internal affair. But halting the destabilization, disruption and overthrow of free nations by outside forces and foiling the establishment of a terrorist state are the responsibility of all who enjoy freedom and want to remain free.

President Obama, the terrorists have not been contained, and we can't wait for the 2016 election to do what needs to be done. President Putin, Prime Minister Cameron, President Hollande, Chancellor Merkel and others, will you rise to the challenge or have free democracies seen their day? Who will lead the way?

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    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 12 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      We could look at Terrorism as a mental health issue. If only 1% of the world population is severely mentally ill it calculates to 60 million people. There are various types and degrees of mental illness. I suggest the Terrorists are acting out and have a form of mental illness. We need to screen people starting in school. Dealing with mentally ill adolescents is easier and less expensive than dealing with adult Terrorists.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 19 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Kosmo, you've shared some important points here. In the article, I focused on a global response. But I believe strongly in what you said in the first part of your comment. The nations in the region need to be at the forefront of whatever is done. They need to have a passion for their own freedom. You also said that probably there would never be lasting peace in this part of the world. Based on history, I think you have stated a sad truth. But that doesn't excuse doing nothing concerning the activities of ISIS and other such groups. thanks for the response.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 19 months ago from California

      Countries in the Middle East need to lead the fight against ISIS; otherwise, when the "democracies" leave, ISIS or another terrorist group will lead the jihadists in that part of the world. Of course, lasting peace in the region will probably never be attained. Later!

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 19 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Lawrence, Your "rant" has some excellent insights and suggestions. I agree with you that on the homefront, wherever that is for each person, we need to practice loving others just the way we love ourselves and treating others the way we want to be treated. Cooperation among nations which rarely cooperate is a must. Putting the terrorists on the defensive is only one part, although a necessary part, of the equation that will solve this problem. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Cam

      I really enjoyed this hub, I didn't vote in the poll as I think that what's really needed is much more than is going on at the moment.

      Putin was actually asked by the Patriach of the Russian Orthodox church to step in to help protect the christians in Syria, he's right to say that to really bring peace there they'll have to talk to 'all parties' as pretty much none of the opposition are looking out for them! The only two groups seeking to protect them are the Kurds and the Syrian government!

      As for combating Isis, troops on the ground are a good start, but so much more is needed and it involves us all, it involves being real friends and neighbors and making sure no one feels 'marginalised so they get influenced by the fanatics.

      Those are just a few of my thoughts, sorry about the rant.

      Lawrence

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 20 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ann-What makes this present pill so hard to swallow is that it is a direct result of the indefensible Iraq war. But we still have to do it. Thanks for reading and for your insightful comments.

      whonunuwho-Thank you for taking time to read my article and for your comment.

      Andrew-Thank you for that very helpful insight. This needs to be a war that is waged intelligently, with foresight and wisdom. The cyber war element will be an important part, I'm sure. Taking and holding land is also essential.

      Deb-Yes, there is a great deal of fear. A response out of fear may cause us to make the same mistakes we made initially in Iraq. Thanks for reading and interacting on this subject.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 20 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      We will all lead the way as individuals. Propaganda has been around for a long time. Those that believe it succumb to what terrorism seeks, terror and helplessness. By rising to the occasion, we all win. The country is in turmoil, as there is so much fear.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 20 months ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      You've made a persuasive argument for leadership and action Chris. I agree with you to a point - we need a solid multi-lateral approach from a strong coalition of forces - but the key to fighting these monstrous terrorists isn't simply to wade in with a massive army and swamp the territory. History shows it doesn't work that way. If you pile in with ground troops these people will fight for a time but then they will disperse secretly into communities, into remote areas, across borders and so on.

      As time goes on and political and military will weakens the monster will rise again, a new version, and we'll be back at square one in a decade or less.

      Just look at Iraq and Afghanistan. And Libya to a degree. The US/UK/France response worked for a time but you could make the argument that ISIL only arose because of the vacuum of power left in Iraq, plus the start of the Syrian war further confused matters.

      Yes, these jihadists - Daesh - are particularly mean but they're also clever and well funded. We need to get to the roots of their money and stop the flow which allows them to buy heavy weaponry. We need to get the Iraqi army and police force up to scratch again and we need to make sure Putin is on our side, which I think he is following the Russian airplane bomb disaster.

      Daesh will only recruit more and more members if we suddenly decided to send troops in on the ground. This is what they want, kneejerk reaction, but I think we need to be patient and get a true consensus before we even think about our young men going in.

      We have to try and work out Syria too. Without some settlement over Assad there's little hope of sending in the troops. That would be too messy.

      So I understand the anger and need but if I were in a position to influence I'd try and sort out Assad and Syria first. Without a settled Syria (big job!!) the only thing we can do is use airstrikes and intelligence and special forces missions to thwart these evil people.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 20 months ago from United States

      Well written and to the point. We need to face the enemy in his world and eradicate the evil doers. Thanks for your synopsis and well received. whonu

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 20 months ago from SW England

      Thank you for writing this hub and setting out the situation so clearly. Not only do I agree with it, but it has helped me to get my thoughts into perspective.

      I was greatly affected by the Paris attacks last week (and others which took place recently), mostly because I could have been there, I knew people who could have been there (thankfully they weren't). My heart was heavier than usual at such news because the sheer brutality and waste of it all was more palpable for me. How can people rain down bullets on a carpet of prone bodies? Apparently, very easily, if you are of a mind poisoned and bereft of compassion and tolerance.

      Mr Cameron is in the process of trying to persuade his cabinet to agree with him on military action from the air but it is not forthcoming at the moment. They need to read your article!

      The problem comes from Britain and the US wading into Iraq with no just cause and getting criticised (quite rightly in my opinion) for it. That was a different situation. This, as you say, is an insidious war waged by those who are placing that invisible blanket over the parts of the world who do not agree with them. They do not understand tolerance, reason or negotiation. They are not afraid to die. They have no regard for others' lives. Normally, I would advocate diplomacy and reason - in this case, it cannot work. We have to get rid of them and the only way is to crush them.

      You're right; we need politicians who have foresight, wisdom and the courage to do what is needed - and to do it now, before we're all enslaved by this terrible so-called Islamic State. They have to forget about previous mistakes and just go for it. Russia is on-side, it seems, even some of the Arab states (which is important) so why can't they put aside any other disagreements and unite in ridding our world of this danger which will eventually oppress all our lives. It does need the UN and all other nations to act with us.

      Well done for writing this, Chris. It has to be shared as widely as possible.

      Ann

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 20 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      MsDora, thanks for reading. It will be a different kind of war. It already has been. Intelligence will be more important than ever in this war. The more we can find out about this hidden enemy the better we will be able to defeat them.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 20 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      cat, it is complicated. But somehow, we and Russia have to forget our differences on just this single issue, ISIS. The rest either has to be resolved or ignored for now. Prioritize and go one step at a time until the job is done.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 20 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Eric, you make some very good points. If the destroyers, frigates etc aren't in port, where are they? Out there protecting us I assume. But we can't afford to just float around an flex our muscles. I'm proud of those who are serving in the armed forces, grateful and proud. Thanks for reading.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      "The threat of terror is possibly even more influential than the actual acts of terror." I think it is; fear can kill and in several locations simultaneously. I wondered also about World War III, but the terrorists are also in several locations, some uncertain. You give us real issues to think about.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 20 months ago from Los Angeles

      This situation goes far beyond the past threats of "modern" history. It is not just about territorial conflicts or economic ideology. It is a deep-seated hatred between Islam and Judeo-Christianity that has been going on for nearly a century and a half. Although we've had long periods of "peace," continuing Western advancement into the Middle East over the last few decades has awakened the beast. It finally hit home on 9/11 even though there had been lesser attacks before that. Yes, we need decisiveness for the Syrian situation and the containment of ISIS, yet there is much at stake in the region. The West wants to oust the Assad regime, but Iran, Russia, and even China don't agree because of their own interests. Meanwhile, Isis continues its evil and pervasive terrorist tactics. How do we proceed?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      One of interesting problems we have is that it is a silent war against terrorism. Stealth and surprise hold the best advantage on both sides. It is hard for us to see leaders talk softly and carry a big stick. Anyone who is thinking we are not at war in a concrete way need only visit our county. Our fighting men and women are deployed someplace. From the Somali coast to Afghanistan to Syria and Iraq. Our Naval shipyards are skeletons of what we see in a time of peace. We are doing something.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 20 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Bill, no doubt this kind of warfare is the most difficult. But we are supposed to have experts out there somewhere and I for one am counting on them to do this right. They can have the resources they need and the time they need, but let's get this show on the road.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 20 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ruby, I couldn't agree more. But it has to be more than talk this time. And some of our leaders will have to take back their promises about no more Americans on the ground. I hate the thought of that as much as anyone, but it is reality. Everybody has to get involved. Thanks for reading.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It will be, at the very least, interesting to see how nations move forward on this new and very real war. How do you fight such a nebulous enemy that has no borders? We must learn how to and we must learn very quickly.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 20 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I listened to President Obama speak this morning and I agree with his assessment for world peace. We all must do our part to rid the universe of hatred, ISIS-ISIL. Too many times America has had to do more than our share, it's time every nation step up and do their part, financially and militarily. War is hell but it looks like the world must unite and take these people out. Great piece of writing.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 20 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      John, I will check out your poem, most definitely. Thanks for reading and commenting. It's good to see you again today.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 20 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This hub is spot on Cam. You clearly state the facts regarding the present and past crises the world has faced. Something has to be done soon in a united world effort to defeat this evil virus of terrorism that is spreading quickly across the globe. I also wrote a poem based on the Paris attack. Thanks for writing this.

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