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Why Does Globalization Contribute to the Rise of International Terrorism


Globalization is often defined as advancement in technology. It can also be defined as an amalgamation of economic, cultural and social relations across international borders. On the other hand, terrorism is considered to be an act that is usually exercised by the weak entities even if at the same time they contribute to a radical train of thought with this act. In most cases, terrorists use acts of violence to express their beliefs. Globalization has greatly contributed to the rise of terrorism. In many ways, it has assisted to make it easier for terrorists to attack, in addition to giving them the reasons to attack. It is also worth noting that globalization has augmented mobility as well as coordination for terrorist groups.

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New Threats

From the security perspective, globalization has made the issue of security to be complex and multi-dimensional. This is explained by the fact that in most cases, the conventional national border-setting types of security perceptions are not in a position of recognizing new threats that go beyond national borders (Gordon, 2005). As a result, international terrorism has become a major concern in this generation. In many ways, a globalized world has been forced to grapple with international terror.

Globalization Alters International Relations

After the Cold War era, there has been a decline in the role of state machinery as well as a change in the international relations. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of the non-governmental organizations, leading to a change in the economic and fiscal spheres of the world financial structure (Quan, 2004). This has a big influence on the nature of states as well as the political configurations. Consequently, the decline in distinction between international and domestic affairs leads to the emergence of transnational solidarities (Quan, 2004).

Additionally, it is worth noting that globalization poses as a big challenge on the international relations and strategy. This is mainly because it leads to a disconnection between domestic and international politics. As a result, domestic issues transform into foreign issues and vice versa. On the other hand, local issues become global issues. For instance, research indicates that a number of armed conflicts that have taken place over the past couple of years were intra-state, and so had both regional and international consequences. This turns out to be a major security issue since in affects the global security agenda (Gordon, 2005).

Globalization Leads to a Decline in State Capacity

Globalization negatively affects the capacity of the state to defend itself against terrorism. As a result, a state’s traditional security is affected. This is very instrumental in the weakening of the security apparatus of the state. In some cases, such situations have led to civil conflicts in some parts of the world, especially in Africa. In some of these regions, civil wars have threatened the security of the states, especially when the world is slow to respond. A good case in point is Somalia, where Al Shabaab, a branch of Al Qaeda, took advantage of the civil conflict to entrench itself and take over the nation. 

Additionally, the process of globalization indicates that the state is no longer in a position to take control of non-physical state aspects like protecting its ICT assets. A state that cannot protect its ICT apparatus is vulnerable to the attacks of terrorists. Being in possession of a giant military power without a secure ICT system is a waste of time. Additionally, globalization has led to a weak control of the movement of ICT, particularly in the private sector. This, in turn, results in the transnationalization of a country’s defense system as well as a reduction of the state control over the inventions.

In many ways, globalization has also been instrumental in the emergence of information based fiscal system, which lessens the impact of national industries (Cronin, 2003). For instance, following the increase in foreign direct investment in domestic economies, a local economy is made vulnerable to global crisis, thus threatening a nation’s fiscal security. Therefore, it is imperative for states to be more sensitive to security as well as military developments in other nations. Primarily, this comes  as a result of the rise in fiscal, trade as well as monetary relations (Gordon, 2005).

Diversity in Dynamics

Following the advancement in communication technology, there are several dynamics that come into play. For instance, as a result of broadcast that was made concerning mass deportations and casualties in Kosovo, it became difficult to ignore the idea of creating an international pressure for intervention. Latter is explained by the fact that the mass casualties were all over international television broadcasts (Gordon, 2005).

In addition, there has been a change in the nature and strategy of war. Recently, measuring, monitoring and tackling security threats have become very challenging (Cronin, 2003). After all, there could be state and non-state agents of threat, which could also be groups or individuals in the form of cults, ethnic militias, organized crime, or terrorist groups. It is also worth noting that globalization of ICT enhances extremists, criminals, terrorist as well as fundamental groups (Quan, 2004).

Globalization Has Led to the Evolution of Terrorism

As a result of globalization, states like Iran provide terrorists with minute complex, but lethal weaponry. These rogue states also support and fund terrorism. Consequently, their support enhances the striking power as well as the potential of these radical terrorist groups. Eventually, these groups are transformed into bodies similar to influential commando units (Lia, 2006).

Today, terrorism has become accessible to anybody who has scores to settle, an agenda, or even a purpose. In this regard, methods of terror are easily accessible online, at bookstores, or on CD-ROMs. This gives the implication that terrorists today can rely on bomb making manuals as well as operational guidebooks which are easily accessible commercially.

No wonder James Holmes, the Colorado Batman shooter, though having no political motives, could easily access his weapons, which he purchased online. This implies that even an amateur terrorist is able to carry out a destructive terrorist attack without depending on some sophisticated organized grouping.

Apart from attracting amateurs, there has also been an increase in professional terrorism. This is depicted as a result of their increase in proficiency in their tradecraft of death as well as devastation. They have also become more horrifying in their competence for strategic adjustments as well as advancements in their techniques of assault (Cronin, 2003). Additionally, terrorists today are able to operate for long periods of time without being discovered, seized, or incarcerated.

The use of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) weapons by terrorists is another aspect that has come as a result of globalization. In the recent past, terrorist organizations have intensified their acquisition of chemical as well as biological agents (Lia, 2006). By and large, the use of nuclear weapons by terrorists cannot be ruled out in totality. Following the advent of state sponsored terrorism, this has become a possibility (Cronin, 2003).

The intimacy that these groups have with rogue states can promote, financially support and aid nuclear terrorism (Quan, 2004). Therefore, this makes nuclear terrorism a modern possibility. This means that the rogue states are able to provide nuclear radioactive material, especially due to the emergence of nuclear materials in the black market. Consequently, this increases the risk of nuclear terrorism. It was demonstrated by the seizure of plutonium as well as highly enriched uranium (HEU), which took place in Germany in 1993.

The new breed of terrorists employs the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially biological agents. Some of the weapons used are fundamentally indiscriminate, in order to mete out large numbers of arbitrary fatalities (Zimmermann, 2011). The use of these weapons is apparently meant to increase lethality of their actions. Additionally, they are meant to intimidate governments, since such attacks could be spontaneous, and can be carried out without any warnings whatsoever (Zimmermann, 2011).

The components of such weapons are regrettably available in the black market, with the tools and materials required for their manufacture being easily accessible and cheap (Lia, 2006). In the former Soviet Union, hundreds of tons of nuclear material are stored in several vulnerable sites all over the region. Though such risks are overlooked, terrorists could as well use them to draw attention to their causes (Quan, 2004).

The use of advanced sophisticated technologies cannot be ruled out. In the recent past, terrorists have used advanced technology to carry out bomb blasts which are well planned, managed, and organized to bewilder key cities in India. Such operations are usually followed or preceded by emails to media houses using hacked email accounts (Zimmermann, 2011). The Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) contain the most recent inventions of explosives that are very hard to detect.

Terrorists have also become very familiar with the use of electronic communication technologies. In this regard, they hack into servers, clone IP addresses, and expunge the track of source by executing cyber attacks on the information systems (Zimmermann, 2011). Today, these terrorists freely use mobile phones to communicate among themselves without being detected. The fact that there has been an unregulated growth as well as diffusion of new biotechnologies further complicates the situation (Lia, 2006).


Globalization has been instrumental in the transformation and rise in terrorism over the past couple of years. This implies that it is imperative for security agencies all over the world to be dynamic in preventing, deterring, and disrupting terrorist groups. Law enhancement partners in different administrations must also undergo fundamental transformations in order to execute pro-active intelligence driven security systems that are able to deal with and alleviate terrorist activities.

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