Despite fear, terrorism can’t overtake our lives

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/18 23:48:39

The famous Las Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona was turned into a bloody killing field by terrorists on Thursday. A white van zigzagged down one of Barcelona's busiest tourist attractions and plowed into a crowd of tourists from all over the world, killing at least 14 and injuring more than 130. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack but it was not immediately clear if the jihadist group had falsely claimed responsibility. 

Separate attacks happened around Barcelona from Thursday to Friday, with several attackers killed by police.

Modern Spain appears to stand apart from the rest of the world. Being neither big nor small, it is a follower of NATO and the EU. It is one of the world's top tourist destinations where people can relax. But in 2004, a suspected Al Qaeda terror cell set off bombs on several trains at three Madrid train stations, killing 192 and injuring more than 2,000. More than 10 years later, vans have become the most common tool of terrorist attacks, and Spain is the unfortunate victim of the latest attack.

Terrorism seems to be an incurable disease, and the West is at loss as how to deal with it. Terror attacks are the most formidable challenge confronting Western society following World War II. The West is a technically advanced society with well-connected intelligence networks and abundant resources to support security. But it seems it is helpless to do anything about terrorism.

The West appears to be in a bit of a mess and terrorism to a large extent helps create such an impression. The number of casualties from terrorist attacks may not exceed those caused by natural disasters and diseases, but the shock and impact inflicted by these attacks is unprecedented, greatly shaking people's confidence.

Rampant terrorism has forced countries to increase their security investment, with security guards and police officers more frequently patrolling on the street, which almost spoils the modern urban landscape. Some countries have also started adjusting their immigration policy. Terrorism has made a deep impact toward damaging globalization.

However, it must be noted that the influence of terrorism has reached its peak. People have developed a kind of psychological resistance or immunity toward it. Terrorism aims to freak the whole world out. We are indeed scared of it. But life needs to carry on.

We are sure that Las Ramblas will return to its normal hustle and bustle soon with increased security measures, just as London, Nice and Berlin which have been hit by terrorist attacks but resumed normal life. In other words, human society has gone past the time when their main reaction to terrorism is panic.

Countries around the world will continue to increase investment in anti-terrorism but they will probably divert their attention to other important issues. It is unlikely that the anti-terrorism issue will override all other issues that the major powers are concerned with.

China is not significantly impacted by terrorism and China's efforts to combat terrorism are impressive. The West is in the most chaotic time, and internal rifts and challenges in many developed countries have surfaced. The superiority of China's institutions lies in their capability to maintain social order and contain destructive factors. Such advantages, which have been overlooked in the past, may be rediscovered and recaptured.    

Any society must command the necessary ability to control things and mobilize resources. A large country may have more troubles to manage but also more resources to be mobilized. The massive size of big countries can be turned into leverage rather than being a burden if resources can be adequately mobilized. China's institutions showcase their advantages of being realistic - seeking truth from facts.

News about frequent terrorist attacks in Europe is worthy of reflection. Terrorists are evil and we should fight them fiercely. But we cannot allow terrorism to override all other issues of major concern to us.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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