De­spite fear, ter­ror­ism can’t over­take our lives

Global Times - Weekend - - OPINION -

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.

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 fac­ing Western so­ci­ety fol­low­ing World War II. The West is the most 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.

But 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. Hu­man so­ci­ety has gone past the time when their main re­ac­tion to ter­ror­ism is panic. 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. Ter­ror­ists are evil and we should fight them fiercely. But we can­not al­low ter­ror­ism to over­ride all other is­sues of ma­jor con­cern to us.

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