The threat of international terrorism has grown substantially the past year. No matter if the ideology is rested upon extreme religious belief or perverted political extremism, terrorism is a contemporary threat to the national security of the United States.
As we have seen in the recent devastating Brussels bombings, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (a.k.a. ISIS, IS) casted a plague of fear across the world. It is evident that no where is safe or protected, fully, from the threat of an extremist or a terrorist.
The Fear Component
The Brussels bombings yielded 31 deaths with hundreds more injured. Through a duplicity of coordinated suicide attacks, radical Islamic terrorists pledging allegiance to ISIS ignited hand-crafted nail bombs that wrecked havoc on the city’s metro system and the Brussels Airport. A series of three attack, two of which were nearly simultaneous, advanced a gargantuan level of collateral damage, lives lost, and most importantly, fear.
Through one of my case-study pieces, published in The Hill, on the prioritization of national security threats, terrorism is a rooted on the, “radicalization is politically, ideologically, culturally, and religiously based.”
What is needed to further understand is that radicalization is also imbedded in a person’s psychology. The Association Psychological Association indicates that in a current, “finding it is generally more useful to view terrorism in terms of political and group dynamics and processes than individual ones, and that universal psychological principles—such as our subconscious fear of death and our desire for meaning and personal significance—may help to explain some aspects of terrorist actions and our reactions to them.”
Brussels and Other Attacks and the Common Denomenator
As of Sunday, March 27th, an explosion in Lahore, Pakistan killed 65 Christian Pakistanis celebrating Easter in a park. The suicide explosion also injured hundreds others, according to Thomson Reuters. This attack follows nearly a week after Belgium and is the current round-off for a series of international and domestic terrorist attacks that have plagued the United States and its international partners.
The common denominator between the Lahore, Brussels, Paris, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino attacks is simple and evidently clear. Each of the small and large scale attacks that have occurred in the past 6 to 9 months have a common goal: to demonstrate the supremacy of a group or individuals extreme in their religious or political view.
Though the largest threat to the United States is Islamic extremism, we also need to understand the nature of the general theory of extremism. President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that , “extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.” Just as any extremes in religion. No one is clearly above safe and unsafe presence. The only thing that is a “comfort” with terrorism, sadly, is the uncertainty of deterring and determining future attacks and the complacency it accompanies.