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Terrorism In The 21st Century Essay

3458 words - 14 pages

On September 11, 2001, the destruction of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon changed the mindset and the opinion of nearly every American on the one of the most vital issues in the 21st century: terrorism (Hoffman 2). Before one can begin to analyze how the United States should combat such a perverse method of political change, one must first begin to understand what terrorism is, where it is derived from, and why there is terrorism. These issues are essential in America’s analysis of this phenomenon that has revolutionized its foreign policy and changed America’s stance in the world.
The word terrorism was first used during the French Revolution from the reign of terror inflicted by the French from 1784-1804 ("International Affairs"). It was used to describe the violent acts perpetrated on the French that inflicted terror on the various peoples and instilled fear within them. However, at the time it had a more positive connotation than the term that instills fear today. During the French Revolution this was because it referred to state-sponsored terrorism in order to show the need of state instead of anarchy, sometimes promoted by other groups (Hoffman 2). Therefore, even though terrorism has taken a new nature, terrorism can refer to official governments or guerrilla groups operating outside national governments ("International Affairs"). In order to encompass terrorism’s various sectors and explain it to the public, in both positive and negative aspects, many analysts have tried to put it into a few words. Terrorism is a method used by tightly of loosely organized groups operation within states or international territories that are systematic in using deliberate acts of violence or threats in order to instill fear in a wide audience with the goal of achieving political or martial means ("International Affairs"). Even though, Islamic groups have mostly taken up the terrorism that is evident in today’s society, it has taken many forms throughout history.
After the French Revolution, many leftist groups trying to gain a political goal adopted terrorist agendas. These anarchist, communist, and socialist groups continue today with less violent means (Hoffman 3). The ethno-national group dominated terrorism during the period from the 60’s to the 80’s. These groups espoused the aim of political independence and establishing a new political and social order. They emerged from the irredentist ferment and unrest following the October Revolution and WWI. Observing that they could change society and input the forms of government, their desire empowered these groups that thrived during the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires. Organizations such as the Japanese Red Army, the Italian Red Brigade, and others such as the Irish Republican Army and the Red Army Faction conformed to this “traditional” terrorist group (Hoffman 3). However, these groups were not the suicide bombers that plague the world today, but political groups that often sought...

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