Terrorism, the "War on Terror" and the Globalisation of Insecurity

Joseph A. Camilleri, 'Terrorism, the "War on Terror" and the Globalisation of Insecurity', Arena Journal, No. 19, 2002, pp. 7-20. 

Since September 11 terrorism and the ‘war on terror’ have dominated the world’s headlines. Yet, heinous crimes though they are, the attacks on New York, Washington and Bali can hardly be classed among the more violent conflagrations of the last ten years. In the Rwandan genocide some 800,000 people were butchered in the space of ten to twelve weeks, to which could be added the tens of thousands killed in Bosnia, Kosovo and Sierra Leone. Nor can it be argued that terrorism is a new phenomenon. The use of terror as a political instrument has a long history, and in its modern form can be traced back to the French Revolution. During le Règne de la Terreur (which introduced ‘terror’ into our political vocabulary) more than 300,000 suspects were arrested and more than 17,000 were executed. This article examines what it is about these recent crimes that has captured the world’s attention as greater crimes have failed to do? It explores the strategic significance of the latest wave of terrorism and the US Administration's response to it.