Paul R. Brass, a critic of Varshney, argues that inciting conflict is a deliberate political event on the part of the police, criminal elements, and members of Aligarhs business community. Brass studied only one town. His results can only be anecdotal until proven to hold other places. History says both writers may be right. A leader can incite his/her populace to violence on the flimsiest of excuses as happened in Rwanda. We will go with Varshney's results.
Jessica Stern has produced a marvelous and deep study of religious terrorism: "Terror in the Name of God. "When religious terror groups form, they are usually altruistic and ideological and pursue real or perceived grievances. Usually, also, the original bases become corrupted such that greed replaces grievance. And early passions give way to career as a way of life for the religious terrorists as they pursue a mixture of religious, political and economic goals. Although a great deal has been learned, no one yet has complete answers. More and still better information is needed. Meanwhile, we endorse the findings of Varshney and Stern as the most insightful and most likely to provide elements of a solution. Brass's criminal element is recognized in Stern's work; it should not be neglected as its presence governs how one responds to terror tactically. Afghanistan (supporting international terrorism) and Iraq (not supporting international terrorism) are cases in point. We further believe that genocide is a terror that must be addressed internationally. Genocide could hardly be the issue in Iraq, Africa practices genocide regularly, essentially with impunity."
See also: Monotheism and Violence for our take in parallel with Stern.
Stern relied on actual interviews; we employed research reported by others. Nevertheless our results are in basic agreement with hers on religious terrorism. Our studies are complimentary.
Karl Deutsch, in his analyses of modern Europe provides further guidance in three arenas:
- International law is one improvement. Deutsch makes the point that it must help, not reform the world to the extent that nation-states lose their sovereignty.
- Pluralistic-security communities work better than federations, because sovereignty is not such a critical issue.
- Limited functionalism, as with the European Common Market, adds to overall prosperity and integration, and these reduce humiliation.
A preliminary guideline to find guidance appears in the following box: If we are to progress against violence and terrorism, we must first learn what motivates the terrorist on an empathetic level.
We must discover why Honolulu and El Paso are so peaceful, and why Tokyo is more peaceful still, while Washington DC, Detroit and Baltimore lead the world cities in violence.
We must learn what lies beneath the violent monotheisms in contrast with the peaceful Buddhists and the Eastern Religions.
What is so enduring about Chinese culture that China has never been an expansionistic power in the European mold?
We must interpret our discoveries scientifically at the deepest levels of sociology, psychology, and genetics -- not play politics, rationalize, or look to the next election.
Above all, we must implement our findings as soon as they are proven.
Diplomatically, we must foster pluralistic security communities and expand limited functionalism such as the European Market and its Euro.
Individually and society-wise, we must provide environments for our children that instill them with an internal Locus of Control.
Jessica Stern emphasizes that we must not play into the hands of the terrorists by:
- Overreacting [on either the personal or national level],
- Using the wrong tools,
- Continuing to dehumanize those making up cultures more conservative and less modern than ours,
- Ignoring the historic antipathy toward democratic ideas by the nations of Islam, and
- Not realizing why and how terrorists are radicalized in the first place.
These "to-dos" and "should-not-dos" are not even on the radar screen for the Bush Administration. They may not provide a "final solution" but had we implemented them in 2001, they would have given us a great boost and the features that worked could have been implemented for far less than the $160 billion that has been sunk in Iraq, not to mention the lives saved.
Posted by RoadToPeace on Wednesday, September 07, 2005.