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A profound effect of globalization is an increasing interdependency in various spheres of living. This interdependency makes terrorism a more transnational issue that produces global ramifications. Terrorism has received a lot of global attention and has dominated discussions in the political, economic, environmental arenas. This paper therefore is geared to address the impacts that terrorism has had on the global front in areas of political, economic, environmental aspects of life.
Impacts of terrorism
Economical- Terrorism can produce direct and indirect effects on the economy. Several terrorist gangs have a priority of damaging the economy of their target victims. They may impact on the economy through direct attacks on the physical assets or by making a country to redirect its economy away from productive activities (Chen & Siemens, 2004).
According to Tavares (2003), the “economic cost of a terrorist attack is all else equal, less severe in countries with better developed institutions.”After finding out the determinants of terrorism costs such as the growth of the GDP, he concluded that terrorism has a considerably negative impact on the GDP per capita. If other growth determinants such as government size and exports are taken into consideration, however, the impact of terrorism may not be significant as such.
Terrorism also contributes to political instability in a country. This produces a subtle negative impact on the economy of a country since it kills the confidence of the investors and lowers savings. Nitsch and Schumacher (2004) in Enders and Sandler (2006, p. 219),estimate the effects of terrorism on trade openness. They speculate that the higher risks and enhanced security measures raise transaction costs and reduce the volume of international transactions. Increases in port security act like a tariff by raising the cost of trading. Additionally, enhanced terrorist activities may keep goods from arriving on time or intact.
In addition, the cost of terrorism on the economy is an added burden to the insecurity cost. A case study by World Bank (2002) on the Israeli-Palestinian war estimated that the costs incurred by the Israeli constituted approximately 4 percent of the Israeli GDP. Further, the attacks due to terrorism have sparked stringent border controls that have been detrimental to the economy of many countries. These meticulous measures to prevent any potential threats to security result into time wastage that cripples the operations of manufacturing companies. In order to address this issue, a proper balance needs to be established between security and efficiency in consultation with the trading parties without any biases.
Granted, insurance industries bear the most of the brunt when extremists wreck havoc by their terror activities. As a result of the attacks, insurers and reinsurers raise their premiums and stop risks related to terrorism. These hikes are spread to most sectors such as transportation, energy, tourism and construction. Thus, price increases in various industries become necessary and can be felt on a global scale as they are spread among various countries. Finally, according to Johnstone and Nedelescu (2005),
Financial instruments involve commitment over time and therefore…provide a hedge against uncertainty. While the initial effect of [terrorism] may involve a financial market overreaction because of higher levels of uncertainty…the new information is being assessed and absorbed; once the long term impact of [terrorism] is assessed, markets return to their pre crisis condition. Thereafter, financial markets shift up or down according to investor perceptions of how the crisis will be resolved.
Social- Anti-terrorism laws have promoted fear of the Muslim community thus leading to isolation and victimization. These laws have instilled fear and uncertainty into the Muslim community to the extent of avoiding association with specific people in the teaching arena and at the mosques. Another social impact inflicted by terrorism is psychological trauma. According to Reich (1990, p. 259),
…terrorism has long term and traumatic effects on many victims…recognizing that terrorism produces extreme suffering, Congress passed legislation providing medical benefits to U.S. government employees who have been held hostage as well as to their families.
This psychological torture prevents the victims from enjoying a normal relationship with others due to fear and suspicion.
Environmental- When they attack, most terrorist do so using bombs which demolish structures leading to suspension of debris in the air. Poisonous material in the bombs and those used in construction like asbestos may pollute the air and water and thus put the life of the victims and rescuers in jeopardy.
Moreover, in countries that harness nuclear power, such attacks can trigger catastrophic release of radiation which may extend across borders through media like water and air. Other potential targets of the terrorists are normally the gas and oil pipelines. This may result into oil spillages on land and in major water bodies thus causing public health risk. Such attacks normally lead to release of gases (Chlorofluorocarbons) that deplete the ozone layer leading to long-term effects of harmful radiation globally. Other chemicals that may cause environmental health hazards and pollution due to terrorist attacks include ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride, chlorine, hydrochloric acid.
Furthermore, terrorism leaves direct impacts on landscapes as it develops craters and demolishes buildings. Moreover, other aspects of land impacts are the displacement of persons and creation of the refugee status. The Internally Displaced Persons and refugees attract entrepreneurs who exploit environmental resources for financial gain. The displaced persons impair the soil and dispose waste matter which becomes an eyesore and pollute the environment. The staff and personnel charged with the duty of looking after the welfare of the displaced persons trample upon the soil and vegetation posing a threat to the already fragile environment.
Political- Many reasons have been given as to the interests that propel the activities of terrorists. One of the reasons that can be isolated is politics. The political aim of these terror gangs is to overthrow the incumbent political regime and to restore it with a system that sells their ideology. There are others though who do not look for a geographical change of state but to revamp the political framework or a pillar of the existing political régime. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, the jihadists support the ousting of the present Al-Saud dynasty and a withdrawal of the U.S. support to this regime. Terrorists with a separatist agenda will go to great length to bring down a regime that fosters linguistic and racial biasness and that does not promote their course.
Moreover, nationalism has been on the rise as nations make chest thumping remarks on actions to take with regards to foreign policy. Ross (2006, p. 107) notes,
[Nationalism] is fuelled by the media through articles with provocative headlines like “We bomb Libya”…nationalism that terrorism engenders has also become a way of rallying popular support for aggressive foreign policy.”
In addition, the legitimacy of the state is lost as the general public becomes distrustful of the government’s defense system. Ross (2006, p. 109) continues to say,
A protracted and successful terrorist campaign… [discredits] the central authority and its legitimacy. The general public’s loss of confidence will increase instability in the country. Distrust of state information and actions grow [locally and internationally],as in the case of the U.S. government’s widely mocked and ignored color-coded warning system rating the imminence of the threat of terrorism.