All posts filed under: Conflict, War & Terrorism

The War on Terror and Human Rights

The relationship between human rights and combatting terrorism is increasingly prominent, especially since the ‘war on terror’. Human rights are rights which people are entitled by virtue of being human. It could be argued that an infringement on human rights is acceptable as it is the lesser of two evils compared to terrorism. However, others may argue that an infringement is simply unacceptable and can never be justified. It is also argued to be counterproductive in terms of countering terrorism. There is often much debate regarding human rights and terrorism as it is often seen as a government’s responsibility to protect the right to life of citizens therefore suggesting that both human rights and combatting terrorism should complement one another, in reality however, this is not the case. This essay will explore the ways in which terrorism is combatted, for example through: military, state security and ideological approaches, and the ways in which they do and don’t undermine human rights.

To what extent has combatting terrorism undermined human rights?

The overt and unapologetic violation of human rights frameworks has been an integral element of the West’s ‘war on terror’ across the last 16 years. Rooted in the attack on American soil of September 11th 2001, American interventions across the Islamic world have aimed to eradicate the threat that terrorism supposedly poses to the Western world, with little regard for the rights of both civilians and combatants in the implicated states. Meanwhile, questionable domestic policy decisions have been driven by such an assumed threat, manifesting both in security measures and in legislation applied to citizens, often entailing the violation of civil liberties in one realm or another. To many, these are ‘necessary evils’ – former Vice President Dick Cheney proclaiming that in the war on terror, the USA ‘had to work sort of on the dark side’, using ‘any means at its disposal’ – there is, at the least, an acknowledgement of the harm measures could cause. However, a more ignorant view is that these violations of human rights have not occurred whatsoever. This essay …

Audio: The Fusion of Civilisations not A Clash of Civilisations

The mood of much of the world is grim these days. Turmoil in the Middle East, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees; random terrorist attacks across the globe; geopolitical tensions in eastern Europe and Asia; the end of the commodity supercycle; slowing growth in China; and economic stagnation in many countries—all have combined to feed a deep pessimism about the present and, worse, the future. Historians looking back on this age from the vantage point of later generations, however, are likely to be puzzled by the widespread contemporary feelings of gloom and doom. By most objective measures of human well-being, the past three decades have been the best in history. More and more people in more and more places are enjoying better lives than ever before. Nor is this an accident— because despite Samuel Huntington’s foreboding, what has occurred over recent generations is not a clash of civilizations but a fusion of civilizations. http://alevelpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/pe_fore_010812_Article-12.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS

Is terrorism is a major threat to Global security?

  Terrorism is the use of violence for furthering political ends; it seeks to create a climate of fear, apprehension and uncertainty. Global terrorism is aimed at inflicting damage and humiliation on a global power or at transforming global civilisational relations with the key example being 9/11 and al-Qaeda. The significance of terrorism has increased as its impact has become more threatening on global security, for instance 9/11 demonstrated how a global hegemon could still be struck by terrorism – the idea that no country is exempt from terror. However, this argument is limited, while America was attacked, it only happened once, proving that terrorism does not pose a ‘major threat’ to global security as it it is quite rare compared to other global disasters such as famine. However, it is undeniable to ignore that terrorism has acquired a truly global reach. Mass fear has been prompted by terrorism, attacks has quadrupled since 9/11. The Global Terrorist Index showed that in 2002 there were 982 separate attacks. By 2011 that had risen to 4,564.

Is Combatting terrorism compatible with human rights?

In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), 30 fundamental rights and freedoms were asserted by the delegates to the United Nations. In recent years, three of these rights, right to privacy, right to not be tortured and right to not be held without charge are considered to be under threat due to the policies the Bush and Obama administrations have employed in combatting terrorism. Some attempts have been made to reconcile anti-terror policies with human rights, but so far none have stood up to scrutiny. One of the articles of the UN Declaration was a declaration of right to privacy. Attempts to combat terrorism after the 9/11 terrorist attacks have resulted in increased reliance on mass surveillance in order to catch potential terrorists. Though the American public were under the impression the NSA’s surveillance was targeted, in reality the 2013 Edward Snowden leaks revealed there was no discrimination or oversight in NSA mass surveillance, with millions of people having their right to privacy combatted for no good reason other than they may turn out …

To what extent is there a clash of civilisations?

In 1993 Samuel Huntington wrote an article titled “Is there a clash of civilisations” in which he disputed Francis Fukuyama’s thesis that the end of the Cold War would not herald the end of conflict but rather a conflict that would revert to cultural or “civilizational” lines. Huntingdon furthermore argued that the world was split into 9 different civilizational orders, and the West would clash with all of them, but in particular it would clash with the Islamic world, Japan and Russia. Many attempts to refute Huntingtons thesis have been made but none stand up to scrutiny, and there is very much a clash of civilisations.

Assessing the Iran Nuclear Accord – John Kerry (Video and Audio)

    U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry joins CFR President Richard N. Haass to discuss the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program. Kerry begins by outlining the technical restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, claiming that they considerably lengthen the amount of time it would take for the country to amass enough fissile material for a single nuclear bomb. He notes that given the alternative, which almost certainly entails war, this deal is in the best interest of the United States and countries in the region, including Israel. Over the course of the conversation, Kerry rebuts arguments commonly put forward by critics of the JCPOA and emphasizes why U.S. legislators should vote in support of the deal, allowing implementation to move forward. http://edge.media.cfr.org/content/publications/media/meetings/2015/20150724KerryGBNew.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS