Dealing with Transnational Terrorism in the Age of Rising Geopolitics

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The task of dealing with the emergent transnational terrorism, as exemplified in the barbarous attacks of ISIL-inspired terrorist cells in and around Europe, would be much easier and cost-effective if we were all on the cusp of a global community of humankind united around intersubjectively shared norms, values and principles governing interstate relations as well as shaping interpersonal interactions. The more norms and values different nations across the globe share in common, the more likely efforts to stem the tide of religious transnational terrorism will yield positive results. The questions of what constitutes a legitimate statehood, what defines sovereignty, what passes for threats to territorial integrity of states and the well-being of their people are all relevant to attempts at adopting common positions on the menace of transnational terrorism. At stake is the task of tackling with transnational terrorism while geopolitical thinking has been experiencing a revival all around the world in recent years. As geopolitical considerations increasingly shape states’ international policies and behaviors, states will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to share common threat perceptions and reach unifying definitions of what counts terrorism.        
The argument here is that rather than facilitating the efforts of dealing with transnational terrorism, the emergence of a particular international political environment, in which national geopolitical considerations take center stage and rivalry among great powers intensify, would make this task extremely difficult. There are a number of reasons accounting for this dire situation.

First, the relatively peaceful environment in interstate relations seems to have come to an end with the revival of geopolitical power competitions among great powers. The so-called unipolar moment during the 1990s did not usher in a common global consciousness. ‘The end of history’ thesis, as vociferously supported by the ardent believers of liberal democracy, has long ago foundered on the shores of rising ideological challenges posed mostly by non-western societies. The rise of BRICS, the strengthening of the so-called ‘Beijing Consensus’, the revival of Russian style sovereign democracy and the empowerment of non-state global actors through the diffusion of technological developments all around the world have both shaken up the primacy of liberal western powers in global political-economy and helped weaken the credibility of the norms and values constitutive of the liberal world order.


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