March 10, 2005
Stopping the Proliferation of WMD
Creative Policy Debate Question 8
Most people agree that the fight against terrorism and the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are top global priorities. Rogue states and other groups seek to obtain unconventional weapons. With the United States foreign policy preoccupied by Iraq, activities by North Korea or Al-Qaeda to obtains WMD constitute a significantly larger threat to the stability of the international system.
Denying proliferators WMD technology and expertise has been a central element to past non proliferation policy. Are there ways democracies can improve cooperation in fighting the spread of WMD and improve existing non-proliferation policies to prevent a terrorist organization from acquiring WMD?
Participants in the Stopping the Proliferation of WMDs Creative Debate
- Rico Carisch
- Michael Chandler
- Rut Diamint
- Dru Gladney
- Paulo Ingles
- Christopher Morris
- Randolph Post Eddy
- Dr. Stevan Weine
- Robin Wilson
- Jeff Victorof
Professor of Philosophy U. of Maryland
Director thinktank in Belfast, Democratic Dialogue
[Dr. Stevan Weine]
Univ. of Ill. Chicago
Former UN Monitoring Group Sanction against Al Qaeda
Former Journalist, financial ramifications of WMD
Researcher about ethnic identity in Africa, Autonoma University
[Randolph Post Eddy]
Counter terrrorism thinktank serving U.S. cities, formerly with NSC
Professor of international security
U. of Hawaii, Researcher on separatism in SE Asia, Islam, W. China
Posted by: AtochaWorkshop8 at March 11, 2005 06:24 PM
[Dru Gladney] Let's begin by trying to link nationalism, religious extremism and WMD. What forces fuel search
for WMD by groups?
[Christopher Morris] Nationalist sentiments are associated with founding a nation state.
[Dru Gladney] Yes, most nationalist movements seek nation state.
[Randolph Post Eddy]
Proliferation of nukes largely pursued for need to protect sovereignty, eg. Pakistan. Loss of national identity, eg S. Africa, they gave up the bomb.
In Angola... ethnic identity, 20 ethnic groups in Angola, difficult to talk about national identity. Ethnic group is a form of social organization. Nationalists movements push to get an independent state, they want better power.
Correlation between national and WMD is difficult to make. The point about WMD is the pursuit of WMD to be an international player.
The India/Pakistan case shows a relationship between WMD and nationalism, doesn't it?
The reason to pull together these groups, WMD and nationalism, is because of the Iraq situation. Links between states possessing WMDs and non-state actors getting their hands on them. The result in Iraq was that there were no WMD.
[Michael Chandler] We need to be careful with the phrase "Weapons of Mass Destruction. "WMD" includes different types of threats, different types of weapons. The question not if, but when?, but why haven't terrorists done it yet? Terrorists can get what they want with conventional weapons. Terrorists have tried and tested conventional weapons, but WMDs are a different story.
[Dru Gladney] Where is the threat? with WMDs or with ethnic, nationalist ideologies that compells people to commit such acts.
[Rico Carisch] There are huge issues surrounding who (states) can and cannot have WMDs.
[Randolph Post Eddy]
What is a WMD? Something so much more powerful than anything else. Two things in this category: Nuclear weapon and missile delivered biological weapons. Becoming easier to produce WMDs, and the mixture of that with a sick mind, aside from terrorists.
[Dru Gladney] Are we dealing with sick people, Steven?
[Steven Weine] It is a distraction and a mistake to equate mental illness and terrorism. Organized, purposeful, ideologically motivated persons. There is a threat from mentally ill people, but it is a different issue.
[Randolph Post Eddy] I just mean that anyone who would kill innocent civilians are sick people. We do not need to focus on their motivation.
[Steven Weine] I think you mean criminal, not sick.
[Christopher Morris] There is the project versus thrill. Perhaps not mentally ill in clinical sense.
[Dru Gladney] From mind of terrorism, it is entirely LOGICAL to commit what we call terrorism. Terrorist methodology is reasonable to terrorism. I am taking about people who feel victimized.
[Christopher Morris] Who are you talking about, Dru? Aren't we talking about random acts of violence against innocent civilians.
[Dru Gladney] There are those who feel victimized and therefore lash out.
[Christopher Morris] Is denial of tenure of terrorism an act of terrorism? No. Forms of violence that are barbaric but do not involve terrorizing people to bring about change.
[Paulo Ingles] Rwanda?
[Randolph Post Eddy] We are talking about state oppression, for example, but this is not terrorism by definition.
[Robin Wilson] Culture created that makes it almost obligatory to create terrorist acts. Need to avoid allowing weapons to get into hands of "sick" people.
[Randolph Post Eddy] "Sick person" may misrepresent the issue, but there are people out there who may commit acts of terror but have nothing do with these groups we call terrorists.
[Dru Gladney] This gets us to the root causes of terrorism, and brings us back to the linkages. Islam often targeted with tradition that supports jihadism and violence. Do you agree with that?
Seems to be a toleration of resorting to violence that you do not see in other cultures. Al Qaeda not socially compact groups like, say, Palestinian society. In different societies, you feel you have right to resist, and ask what are the weapons, but most cultures do not have this disposition.
[Steven Weine] Need to reject association of Islamism with terrorism. Not a helpful way to go. Not productive.
Norwegian PM said all world religions believe in peace, so therefore people who kill in the name of religion are defying religion. But seems too easy. All religions make truth claims, but democracy rests on the uncertainty of truth. Cannot run 21st societies on books written in 7th century AD.
[Christopher Morris] Do you want to make a sweeping principle about religion?
[Robin Wilson] There is a fundamentally incompatibilitiy between separation of church and state that democracy supports and religions advocating fundamentalist precepts.
[Dru Gladney] Have to look beyond religion, don't we?
[Christopher Morris] Isn't it indisputable that there are religions that have pre-Reformation mentally.
[Steven Weine] We should not fall into the trap of equating Islam and totalitarian.
[Randolph Post Eddy] But there is clear association between Islamicism and terrorism, but is not with the rest of Islam. Islamicism is not the same as Islamism.
[Jeff Victoroff] Why is there a support for terrorism?
[Dru Gladney] Feelings of humiliation that lead to acts of violence.
[Christopher Morris] What exactly is the humiliation by the West?
[Dru Gladney] Links to globalization and the feeling that globalization is secularization and Westernization and
[Randolph Post Eddy]
Palestinians have a very long memory. There was a feeling of dignity and supremacy in knowledge until the Crusades. Since that time, 1000 years ago, there has been a perception of being despised and inferior. Now with the expansion of comm tech, TV and internet, now can combine feeling being despised and seeing the other side.
I was in Tibet when tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square. People cheered Chinese killing other Chinese instead of Tibetens. Made me think later how Muslims could be cheering in the streets at 9/11. We had a very muted response to condemning 9/11.
[Randolph Post Eddy]
First, there were small instances that were magnified in the media. Second, let's be careful about this deep feeling of humiliation. Imagine you are youth in arab culture and see and attracted by Western culture, but then someone comes along and sells them a different story. Gives them a chance to be something.
Comment on the financial end. To purchase or deploy WMD, need access to significant financial resources. We do not have evidence of groups with lots of money or very sophisticated ways of raising and distributing huge sums of money. We have some spectulation but no evidence that there is massive amounts of money being pumped into terrorist streams to make WMD possible.
Step back from a rhetorical or discourse analysis point of view. What has happened at this meeting is an attempt to rewrite a political narrative about what we should be doing as states or NGOs.
We have narratives on WMDs and what we should be doing to curtail this risk; other narratives of cultural humiliation and people who think that is important. There are attempts to link all these things together to translate this into policy. Is this a watershed moment or will these discourses just keep motoring on?
Since we don't know what will happen, social science has never determined in an empirical way what will happen. There could be studies that get data on these "humiliated" peoples, to understand these feelings. I offer as a policy proposal that an investment be made to test hypotheses on migrants who could be susceptible to recruitment and why?
Not sure about this idea of "humiliation". There are many parts of the world where Islam has been spreading because governments cannot provide what people need. What makes them angry is the treatment of the Palestinians, the Iraq War, but this is not humiliation.
I would not want to put too much stock in the idea of humiliation, but disintegration, lack of feeling invested in society they feel enmeshed. What do you think of that? Undersexualized.
I think that Jeff Victoroff was getting at in European cities that there is a situation of huge ghettoization in the West of muslim communities.
Two policy recommendations, not much to do with WMDs but with young mens willingness to resort to terrorism.
- 1. lowering unemployment rate in Europe. The Youth need prospects. If do not have them, in some societies they turn to crime, to drugs, in other societies join political groups;
- 2. Education of Muslim women would be a major help to help control the situation.
Why, then, have the most horrendous terrorist attacks committed by well-educated Muslims living in the West. Get back to Victoroff's comment about undersexualization or what we might call emasculation of Muslim men. The Bush agenda has not only furthered US hegemony and spread of Christianization. But, also women's emancipation.
Young men are humiliated by almost anything. We want to describe their beliefs. But with young men who are angry and feel humiliated, their feelings may not bear much relation to the world. We now have information from leftish groups that many people got first job or had their first child and dropped out of groups, and others would stay on. We know something about them.
Twenty years ago these men were just as poor and loved the West, but in last 10 years we see terrorist attacks and the rise of conservative Islam. In last five years we see shift to anti-Americanism. What is changing? Awareness of the relative situations among Western Chinese for example.
Many of these people came of age during a more liberal time than today. Violence has increased tremendously, for example, in Africa. There seems to be a worldview more willing to resort to violence to resolve problems.
Violent crime has plummeted in UK and US, for instance. Uncontroversial in almost all major US cities.
A lot of violent crime, for instance in S. Africa, was never recorded.
[Randolph Post Eddy]
Where terrorism takes place, we are thinking transnational elements coming in. Still based on idea of "others" coming in and attacking us. Don't want to take anything away from those efforts. We're still fighting 9/11 war, and the threat moved on. The Spanish attack came from those living in Spain.
[Dru Gladney] They were from Morocco.
[Randolph Post Eddy]
They were living in Spain for a long time. We need an increased training of police and to redouble our efforts to reduce proliferation of WMD, local reduction.
Let's try to pull it together. Shifted from tactics of terrorists to causes of terrorism. Two policy recommendation should include one global and one local. Suggest, first, one global: One of the major issues is intolerance. Our religious group came up with an international agency that monitors intolerance. We would need to be an international commission.
Let's propose a short-cut that we never have 10 people at a table again to talk about these issue without a single Muslim as a declaratory statement.
Greater representation and full participation of Muslims in these gatherings.
We have to be careful not implying that minority-ness is a cause of terrorism. We need a way of saying that- minority inclusion.
[Christopher Morris] I like RP's idea about local WMD prevention.
[Dru Gladney] Focus on preventing terrorism locally, including community actors.
[Michael Chandler] Transnational terrorism is composed of like-minded groups that have their own respective way of doing things.
[Dru Gladney] Our group was concerned with preventing terrorism both at the tactical and root levels.
[Christopher Morris] Here's a connection: In order to blow up lots of people you have to see them as legitimate targets, people who have similar extreme nationalist, religious, ethnic viewpoint to join the group.
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