Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What is terrorism?

Enver Masud, founder The Wisdom Fund, posted following at U.S. News & World Report:

In 2005, then UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, recognized this need, and called for a "universally accepted definition of terrorism, he endorsed the wording contained in the recent report from the UN High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, . . . The panel defined terrorism as any action intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organisation to do, or abstain from, any act."

Five years later, there's still no generally accepted definition of terrorism — presumably because it would include acts that major powers now commit with impunity.

The simple definition in Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, defines terrorism as the "use of force or threats to demoralize, intimidate, and subjugate, esp. such use as a political weapon or policy".

Given this definition of terrorism, together with the definition of "power politics" and "realpolitik", leads to the conclusion that frequently realpolitik equals, power politics, equals terrorism.

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