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JohnRobb reckons terrorism is on it's way out, to be replaced by GlobalGuerrillas

Quora Answer : What do most people misunderstand about the summer 2016 terrorist attacks?

Jul 27, 2016

Lots of things :

1) Terrorists are trying to get a reaction. They predict we are going to be upset and angry at them and want to strike back at them. This is exactly what they want ... Europe to crack down on immigrants, to become more prejudiced against Muslims, to send more troops to Syria and Iraq, to become more conflicted and at war with itself about how to handle refugees from the expanding ISIS war-zones. All of this ferments chaos, disorganization and weakness in Europe and encourages more people to become dissatisfied and, at least some, to turn themselves over to ISIS propaganda.

Terrorists WANT war. Which is why we shouldn't give it to them.

2) "Fealty" is something new. John Robb is doing good analysis over at Global Guerrillas He's been tracking how "terrorism" is evolving to become more decentralized and taking advantage of the internet and other new technologies for years. He points out that for many of the current crop of terrorists, swearing "fealty" to ISIS is the first explicit contact or connection that the perpetrators have with the Islamic State. This makes it impossible to prevent terrorism by discovering and disrupting the lines of control from known terrorist cells. These lines don't exist.

3) The flip-side of this is that the distinction between terrorist and disturbed person is blurring, and has almost disappeared. The US has had an epidemic of young people shooting up their schools and colleges over the last few years. There's "memetic" infection, as one shooter takes inspiration from an earlier incident. It turns out that the Munich shooter was closer to one of these youngsters "going postal" than to a traditional "terrorist plot". Michael Barkun's A Culture of Conspiracy does a good job of showing how previously unrelated conspiracy theories manage to merge and exchange-DNA to spawn larger, crazier offspring. The scary possibility we face now is that we might be seeing a similar hybridization of general teen disaffection, inspired by previous school-shooters, with infection by ISIS propaganda. I think it's only a matter of time before we finally get an "ISIS terrorist" who has no middle-eastern / Islamic background at all, and is simply an angsty white kid adding an ISIS fealty oath to spice up his or her ultimate Fuck You to the world.

4) Fealty is a product of there being an Islamic State. Muslims were not religiously called to defend non-state terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda. But ARE religiously called to fight for the Caliphate. (See What ISIS Really Wants ) The ability to call themselves a state is a source of great power to ISIS and if they lost that state, they'd have a lot less influence outside their region. Now the main reason they have a state is because the West can't stomach doing a deal with Putin that reasserts Assad's control over Syria. I know this is an ethically ... icky ... area. But the truth is that ISIS only exist because the West spent 15 years trying (and succeeding) in taking out local strong-men (Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad) in an attempt at socially re-engineering the Middle-East into something that liked it better. And ISIS is what arises in the new gaps.

We are STILL creating the conditions that allow ISIS to exist, and we will continue doing so as long as we continue the misguided effort of trying to impose our will in the area by fighting all authorities that resist us. The only way to avoid the spiralling conflict between extreme Islamic Conservatism and Western Liberalism, is to pull back from our ambitions to convert the area to our "religion" and (sadly) to let the conflicts burn themselves out. Making peace with all the vicious psychopathic bastards who end up in control. It's not pleasant. It's galling. It's not morally the right thing to do. But it's probably the only thing that can now work, to prevent Europe being sucked into the maelstrom.

We're basically facing a stark choice. Give up military adventurism abroad. Or give up freedom and security at home. I know which one I would give up.

See also :

Quora Answer : Who would UK voters rather have as PM at a time of national emergency like a serious terrorist attack?

Dec 10, 2019

Is a "serious terrorist attack" actually a "national emergency"?

All the terrorist attacks we've seen in the UK are extremely localized. And are over pretty much as soon as they've begun.

It doesn't matter much who is in charge once they've happened, because the main job of the PM is just to go on television a lot and say what a bad thing it was that just happened.

And, frankly, a sock-puppet could do that job.

What is far MORE important is who is in charge BEFORE a potential terrorist attack.

Who is running British diplomacy, and international relations, and policies for dealing with other countries whose own internal conflicts may be spiralling out and affecting us. Who is in charge of giving the police and emergency services sufficient resources so that they can be on the scene as quickly as possible and treating the victims and minimizing the casualties. Who is responsible for making laws that balance citizens' rights to privacy and freedom with the needs of the intelligence services to spot potential threats. Who is responsible for setting the policies to deal with "radicalizing" ideologies. Etc.

You don't fight terrorism after the event. You fight it before it hits you.

Real "national emergencies", OTOH, are things like wars that came to us without choice, and disease epidemics, and climate change. Longer term, with effects that cover the whole nation and that need long term management to fight.

The so-called "war on terror", if it were actually fought like a war, with real strategic goals and smart tactics, might be like that. But it's not. It just a vehicle for rhetoric.

And individual terrorist attacks don't count as national emergencies. And after they happen the PM is a relatively minor player.