Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The era of hyperglobalised terrorism

If there is one serious point I would make about Manchester, it is that all the pet theories from the usual suspects about multiculturalism have to go in the bin. They are long establish narratives, largely derivative of those mooted by Kenan Malik/Melanie Phillips. Like Brexiteers they settle on a narrative and rinse it dry and never really update their thinking. Their observations are based on a particular era spanning into the Blair administration on a narrow set of second and third generation immigrants from Pakistan/Bangladesh.

These narratives need cannot be applied anymore. What we are seeing, as much as we are seeing hyperglobalisation of trade and migration, with the mass adoption of smartphones and the explosion of their use in lesser developed states, we are also witnessing the emergence of hyper-globalised terrorism, and what we are seeing in Europe right now might well be the new norm and we might have to get used to the idea that there isn't much we can do about it beyond that which we are already doing. If we want to go further then we really do need to have a broader debate about internet regulation and cross border transmission of data.

In this, as much as May has her own illiberal suggestions, we actually need to look to the International Telecoms Union, and perhaps move toward a new global body for internet trend surveillance. This is going to have to be joined up with NATO because we need the Rivet Joint air assets over known terror hotspots. In that respect we need to seriously reconsider severing cooperation with Europol. While we are at it, we really need to take a second look at the Geneva Convention and make the case that the loopholes need to be closed. It is obsolete law.

We can piss around til the cows come home with internal community level policy - which is only partially successful, but that is not the whole of the solution by any means (assuming there is one). Around the time of original theories on multiculturalism, the sort bandied about by Kippers, we had a rough idea of where the threat was coming from. That no longer applies. There is no longer the same predictability and technology means these ideas take on a life of their own without Saudi/Iranian sponsorship.

Further to this, we are also going to have to rethink our national media strategy and press regulation. A lot of the mass focus histrionics lasting for days at a time, ie beheading videos featured in the tabloids, means ordinary people are unwitting tools in spreading the propaganda. It's going to be a thorny issue since it is going to raise questions about civil liberties and the same people stamping their feet today are the same people who will complain. Especially when it comes to press and social media regulation. We might very well have to look again at internet anonymity.

One thing is for certain, anyone peddling the usual theories, pretending there are straightforward measures simply hasn't understood the atomisation of the problem. It is a global problem requiring massive international cooperation and stricter border controls are no real defence. They may add to the illusion of safety, but that's the fullest extent of their value.

It's no good saying "it's time to get angry" and demanding half baked measures. Just look at Brexit. Our politicians haven't a clue. The very last thing we need is a government going off half cocked. The last time we did that in response to a terrorist atrocity we ended up fighting two pointless wars. What we need is a much more thorough public debate and to tune out the noise-makers who've been grinding the same axes for twenty years.

No comments:

Post a Comment