Perpetuating the Cycle of Violence 

The recent terror attacks in Paris have spurred much debate on terrorism, with many taking the view that action needs to be taken if we’re to prevent anything like this from happening again. French President Hollande himself declared war on Islamic State, announcing plans to intensify airstrikes in the region, and he’s not alone; British Prime Minister David Cameron also proposed British intervention in the area, and talk is now underway of an international coalition to fight ISIS militants. Yet how effective are these measures actually going to be?

It’s worth remembering that Islamic State, whilst taking responsibility for these atrocities, announced that they were carried out in retaliation for France’s recent actions in the Middle East. Thus, it seems bizarre that the country is choosing to respond to a disasterby committing more of the same actions that inspired this disaster in the first place, especially since, as we are surely beginning to realise by now, they don’t work.

The western powers have organised countless attacks in this part of the world, destroying many innocent lives and communities in the name of stamping out terrorism, and, through the continuation of western social imperialism, have achieved nothing, for Islamic fundamentalism is just as pressing an issue as ever. In fact, I think we can say that imperialism shares a large portion of the blame for the existence of these organisations in the first place; according to Pelp and Feldman’s research*, 95% of suicide attacks are the result of foreign occupation. Given this unsurprising trend, showing that aggressive military action in ones country will likely turn its citizens against yours, we can see that an increase in French airstrikes will only contribute to the already existing cycle of violence.

Yet whilst I’m surprised at their inability to see sense, I’m not surprised at the eagerness of France to resort to such violence, for this was the country that only recently helped to destroy the state of Libya, contributed to the violence in Mali, and, prior to the Paris attacks, backed US intervention in Syria and Lebanon. During these campaigns, alongside the many others carried out by the American-aligned nations, many atrocities occurred and many found themselves alienated from the western world, fuelling the bloodshed that took place last week in the French capital.

To wade deeper into the Syrian conflict, as Hollande has promised to do, shall only add fuel to the fire.


3 thoughts on “Perpetuating the Cycle of Violence 

  1. Well said Max. I agree that we never seem to learn from history and that violence inevitably leads to more violence. I also agree that if we in the West collectively just slightly adjusted our expectations in regards to wealth/lifestyle, then there would be room for more compassionate response to the migrant crisis. But getting society as a whole to agree to this, as opposed to just imposing more restriction on the already-constrained (through benefit cuts etc), is a huge challenge. I find it difficult to imagine how we could achieve such a seismic change peaceably.


  2. Agree. Hollande’s rhetoric after the atrocities was a carbon copy of post 9/11 Bush. I had hoped the lowest common denominator might be higher now.

    Seemingly not. IS has created a magical space in a drab, once hopeless wasteland. Radical Jihadi ideology offers excitement, drama and, sometimes, victory. The 7th century if offering more than the 21st. We need to ask ourselves why that might be.

    Post imperialist (sic) Middle East is now a complicated place. America once gave support to the “green belt” of nations neighbouring or near Russia in the hope that a strong ring of Islamic states on Soviet borders might help weaken communism. Now the PKK,PYD,YPG have the American support while being denounced by IS as “communist organisations.” The acme of US realpolitik I suppose.



  3. Bit late in commenting here but just thought you should know I found myself – after the Paris attacks – turning to your blog rather than the papers, because I knew you’d have something wise to say.
    I completely agree. An eye for an eye is not the way forward.


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