ethnic strife and historic imperialism in the past to understand recent terrorist activities in the Balkans.
Many believe that the eruption of war in the Balkan region during the 1990’s actually set the stage for later ethnic cleansing attempts as well as terrorist activities (Farrar, 2003).
The foundation that such events created, launched a widespread societal desire to have political and religious freedom, which in turn sparked the willingness to perform terrorist activities for that purpose.
Conventional wisdom holds that the first and second Balkan Wars were caused by mass, aggressive nationalism which is perceived as the engine driving events and the arrow of causality. Accordingly, the Balkans has been conceived as proverbially fractious because of ancient hatreds. This view is contested by recent criticism which attributes 20th century Balkan history more to specific circumstances and manipulative leaders (Farrar, 2003).”
The wars were based in the need for historic imperialism and through that mindset of conquer and rule the idea of ethnic cleansing was born and supported for many years.
The need for imperialism has historically been a mainstay in the Balkan territories
The extent and forms of Balkan nationalism were conditioned by the social structure. In an overwhelmingly village society with a small modern state confronting peasant masses, it was unavoidable that “the simultaneous pursuit of state building and nation building entailed considerable tensions between the urban and rural sectors (Farrar, 2003).”
The wars, the political issues and the ethnic strife caused by the wars and subsequent quest for nationalism all led to the current terrorist issues being faced by Balkans today.
Those who are tired of being victims when it comes to ethnic strife and those who are afraid of future imperialistic movements are willing to become terrorists to stop it.
The role of the terrorists as they see it is to right the wrongs that many generations of imperialists have perpetuated through the years as they have ruled by conquest and ruled by the use of ethnic division and strife.
The case that links human rights abuses in the Persian Gulf nations and the Islamic fundamentalist inspired terrorist attacks against United States interests is not a hard one to connect.
Recent terrorist events against United States interests throughout the world have caused Americans to take note and wonder what they ever did to deserve such hatred and anger.
For the answer one only has to look at Islamic fundamentalist beliefs and groups to understand why the members of those groups believe it is appropriate and at times even God ordered to attack United States interests (Hoagland, 2001).
The U.S. is world famous for insisting that every nation treat its residents in a humane manner. Whether it is the protest of a stoning or the outcry against the Holocaust Americans have always had a voice with regard to human rights issues.
If one looks at the human rights violations that have taken place on a regular basis throughout the Persian Gulf nations one can easily understand the ease with which the terrorist groups from the Islamic fundamentalists are able to attack, kill and maim those they believe are against their faith (Hoagland, 2001).
Human rights and democracy have spread extensively if not uniformly through the world since the end of the Cold War — -except in the Arab World (Hoagland, 2001).”
The human rights violations being thrust upon those who live in the Persian Gulf have caused America to insist on changes. Islamic fundamentalists do not understand the ways of Western culture, and the Western culture does not understand the ways of the Islamic fundamentalists. The faith allows for stoning of people, torture of women and the suicide bombings that the world has grown accustomed to suffering (Hoagland, 2001).
Islamic fundamentalist believe that their faith instructs them to seek out and destroy Americans. They also believe that if they are suicide bombers they will be rewarded in heaven ten fold. As America continues to fight against the human rights violations that Persian Gulf nations continue to support, the fundamentalists believe it is their calling and duty to act against American interests. They want American interests out of their area and they will do what it takes to get it done including acts of terrorism.
As the world watched in wonder the Soviet Union collapsed. It dismantled its government, it started over and it began to rebuild as a democracy after many years of being in a cold war with the United States.
For some the dismantling of the Soviet Union represented freedom but for many it meant uncertainty and fear about what was to come. Fear, uncertainty and confusion are all elements that can contribute to terrorism. When the Soviet Union, thought to be one of the three strongest bodies on earth collapsed it created a groundwork for terrorist groups to not only eye the Soviet Union as a place to attack but also to realize that with the strife and stress the Soviet Union was experiencing it would not be difficult to extract nuclear materials for the purpose of terrorism elsewhere in the world (nuclear terrorism (http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/nuclear_terrorism/).
If one wants to measure the threat that this poses one only has to realize that if “a terrorist group exploded just one nuclear weapon, hundreds of thousands of people could die. Because there is no effective protection against a nuclear blast, the only real solution is to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear bomb materials or weapons in the first place (nuclear terrorism (http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/nuclear_terrorism/).”
While the potential for nuclear weapons attainment is small in most nations, the Soviet Union spent many years in a nuclear arms race with America, therefore when it decided to dismantle itself it had a large quantity of supplies and nuclear components stockpiled.
Russia and the United States possess enormous stockpiles of military HEU. In addition, thousands of so-called tactical nuclear weapons — many of which are quite small and do not have electronic locks to prevent their unauthorized use — are stored in Russia, some in poorly secured locations. In addition, the United States maintains some 150 tactical nuclear weapons in Europe as part of NATO forces, and stores roughly 1,000 such weapons within its own borders (nuclear terrorism (http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/nuclear_terrorism/).”
The global threat with regard to terrorist activities since the collapse of the Soviet Union cannot be understated as the world moves forward to disarm terrorists.
Terrorist groups can steal the supplies or they can approach desperate Soviet Union politicians or people who have access to the supplies and make purchases that will later be used to commit acts of terrorism. The collapse of the Soviet Union has created a hot bed of possibilities for terrorists around the world.
Farrar, L.L., Jr.(2003) Aggression vs. apathy: the limits of nationalism during the Balkan wars, 1912-1913. East European Quarterly
Hoagland, Jim (2001) Mysteries in the Persian Gulf. The Washington Post
Novotny, Patrick (1999) the Post-Cold War Era, the Persian Gulf War, and the Peace and Justice Movement in the 1990s. Social Justice nuclear terrorism (Accessed 5-17-07)
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