The years are rolling on. It’s been 16 years since al-Qaeda launched the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S., killing 3000 people. Since then terrorism has not only continued to haunt the U.S. but also quickly grew into a globalized threat.
The problem of terrorism won’t go away, unless we truly take it seriously both at the international and national level. To begin with, every individual nation needs to take its own responsibilities.
First of all, raising public awareness is the very first step. It has been proved that counter-terrorist strategy cannot take effect without public support. That’s why terrorists are always good at employing people’ weakness to make them believe extreme ideology and idea.
Second, we need to eradicate the roots and breeding grounds of terrorism by education. I once spoke with a religious leader in China’s Muslim region. He said that education is the best way to defeat terrorism, because uneducated youth is the most vulnerable and susceptible group to terrorism propaganda. They are very easily brainwashed by terrorism propaganda and misinterpret religion belief in a completely wrong way.
Third, governments must cut off the new transmission route of terrorism including social media and the dark web. As an old phenomenon, terrorism successfully fits into the new context by well employing the digitalized social media and technology. One of the biggest challenges law enforcement encounters is how to prevent terrorists from proliferating extreme ideas and exchanging encrypted information on the Internet. This also applies to China. With the widespread use of smartphone and social media, law enforcement find increasingly difficult to prevent terrorism idea catching on in the Muslim population and going viral through chat app on mobile device. Even worse, it is much harder to trace their plot than ever before.
Fourth, when we get the things done on a domestic level, we need to enhance international efforts by building a sustainable cooperation mechanism. For example, the reason why some countries fail to identify deadly terrorist attacks largely owes to the lack of sufficient information sharing both internally and externally. As we can see, effort to increase information sharing between countries is vital to protecting the world from the continued threat of terrorism. For instance, sharing information can help us improve the prevention of terrorist travel, which means it helps us stop the terrorists before they stage an attack or travel to the warzone.
Finally, we’ve learned painful lessons from the rapid rise of ISIS. Thus world leaders must devote more efforts on maintaining solid military presence in unrest areas for preventing them from becoming another heaven of terrorism.
In the end, as the saying goes, it is easier said than done. No matter how perfect the strategies look on paper, we have to make it into practice. The answers to the terrorist problem we face aren’t simple, so the first thing we need to do is stopping waste time on bureaucratic cliche.