International Terrorism And Democratic Stability

January 19, 2010
2 mins read

From the 1990s, the architecture of the international system has been undergoing tremendous changes. The collapse of the old East-West rivalry, led to the emergence of new threat scenarios around the world. These include  trans-border crimes like human trafficking, drugs trafficking, nuclear proliferation, environmental problems and the mass movement of illegal immigrants and the related racketeering by criminal gangs across the globe. Our world became less endangered by nuclear weapons but it now confronts newer menaces.


The 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States of America brought to the center of international attention the issue of terrorism and the danger which it presents to the world. In the wake of the end of the old cold war rivalries, the hope had been that the world will become more open, more democratic and tied together by market forces. This idealistic assumption was presented as a dividend of a new world order. But just as state policy makers worked to achieve these aims, so have terrorist groups and other criminal gangs have endeavored to take advantage of the new situation opening up around the world.


The proliferation of the internet as well as the global presence of the media have become important parts of the world system which even terrorist organizations have learnt to exploit adroitly to further their aims. Those who valorize open democratic societies are increasingly facing the threats from state institutions which need to rise to the challenges of sundry crimes, and therefore curtailing open societies and the terrorist and criminal groups exploiting their access to open societies. The situation is therefore difficult for citizens in every democratic and democratizing society.

Nations must find the path of developments that provide access for all citizens and groups in society to be able to participate in the process of transformation of their country. But it is also true, that modern development can often lead to the exclusion of diverse groups of people, especially those without the required levels of skills to be competitive within the settings of modern economic life. Such marginal groups are available for recruitment for non-state actions that might include various crimes that can reach the heights of terrorism. The state must therefore devise means to nip the resort to terrorism in the bud.


If Nigerians had thought that they were outside of the loop of a number of these problems, the unfortunate attempted terrorist incident on Christmas Day has changed that mindset forever. The administration of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua realizes that we are part of the world order and Nigerians must rise to the challenge which the new international crimes pose to the integrity of nations. We are therefore expected to find the balance between the deepening of the democratic process and the openness which is its corollary as well as the defence of the nation against terrorism. In every country, this balance is often very difficult to maintain.


Tomorrow, Thursday, January 21, 2010, the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies [NIPSS], in Kuru, is hosting a conference on international terrorism and democratic stability. The conference is being organized against the background of the threats we have mentioned earlier in order to achieve a national consensus that will help facilitate Nigeria’s response to the growing problem of terrorism. The National Institute is convinced that the defeat of terrorism while attempting to achieve democratic stability requires the concentration of minds. We have to operate against the background of the opportunities and problems associated with the information age, while building international alliances across board to facilitate the struggle against terrorism. This strategy of coalition building must be properly interrogated to get the best lee way for Nigeria’s strategy against terrorism. The International Conference on Terrorism and Democratic Stability, organized by NIPSS will provide the veritable platform to achieve this national agenda for Nigeria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss