International Terrorism can be curbed, not by War but by enforceable World Law, effective global governance and peace education

Terrorism greatest menace

Terrorist attacks since the beginning of this Millennium, have brought to the fore dimensions of modern terrorism and has shown to the world the deep wounds it can inflict on humanity. The dimension of the ghastly attack perpetrated in Mumbai, financial capital of India, on 26-28 November, 2008 by terrorists is unparalleled in which about 200 people, including women and children, were killed and about 400 were injured. This is said to be the handiwork of international terrorists from across the border, who came through sea route. There have been terrorist attacks in Mumbai earlier also and on other cities of India, namely, Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and others killing hundreds. Several years ago there was such attack on Indian Parliament building designed to kill prominent leaders of India.

Terrorism is the greatest menace as the terrorists strike at will, in most cases killing innocent citizens. Recently, religious fundamentalism has emerged as a greater menace because of the brain-washed suicide squards. After the end of the so-called ‘Cold War’, the United States tried to act as an international policeman and maintain law and order, but its actions lacked legitimacy and have often been criticised sometimes even by the traditional American allies. However, since 11 September, 2001 international terrorism has emerged as the biggest threat to civilized living and to the modern nation-states.

International Terrorism is the result of international lawlessness, a grim scenario where people opt for violent destructive acts to draw attention to their grievances, real or imaginary, for which they feel the system does not offer any remedy. Even if it be true in any, or some cases, it does not justify wanton killings, violence and terrorism. At the same time state sponsored terrorism by way of attack on another country on false pretext and encouraging, assisting and sending terrorists across the borders and killing of innocent civilians can by no means be justified.

Some people mistakenly believe that there are some international laws but in reality there is no enforceable world law that is universally applicable to all the countries and peoples of the world. A law that has no legal sanctity, is not legally enforceable and law which does not carry a penalty for its violation, cannot be called a law at all. In that sense, there is indeed no international law in the world today, in the absence of which there is total lawlessness as reflected in the increasing instances of international terrorism. Today, international terrorism demands enforceable world laws because international terrorism can be curbed only through enforceable world laws and not by war, whether it is between two or more countries or even a World War.

During the last six decades more people have died in numerous wars all over the world than had died in both the World Wars combined. The nuclear countries have build up massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, reported to be over 20,000 warheads now. Moreover, 80 countries have also stockpiled chemical and biological weapons. Three - fourths of the earth’s tropical forest cover has disappeared. Even though the UN has many achievements to its credit, in the ultimate analysis, one has to admit that it has fallen far short of the expectations of its founding fathers. One is reminded of what Jan Tinbergen, the 1969 Nobel laureate in Economics, said, “Mankind’s problems can no longer be solved by national governments. What is needed is a World Government. This can best be achieved by strengthening the United Nations system.”

Need of the hour

With the rapid developments in science, technology and communications, the world today has become a global village where people from all the countries have to perforce live in close cooperation for mutual progress, development and survival. In this changed scenario, the old mindset has become redundant and a new mindset is needed for this millennium. The crying need of the new age is unity of humankind and peace in the world. There is thus an urgent need for a legally constituted law making body for enacting enforceable International or World Law that is applicable to all the countries and peoples of the world at the same time. Only such world law can ensure unity of humankind and preserve world peace. This can be done either by strengthening the United Nations system, as suggested by Jan Tinbergen, or by creating a new body and a new world executive under a new world order.

Education for world peace

In order to successfully meet the deadly threat of international terrorism, unprecedented levels of international cooperation and global efforts are needed. This is one international problem that can in no way be solved by any national government alone, even if it be the world’s only super power. Also, it has to be realized that the vehicle of war cannot take humanity very far. If ever there is to be effective international cooperation, such as was hoped for by the League of Nations and the United Nations, then there has to be a very widespread effort at inculcating globalism in children all over the world and shaping their mindset towards globalism. Only then will a true generation of world citizens arise. But for this to happen, schools will have to cultivate tolerance and co-existence in children who must be taught to love the Creator and develop love for His creation. Like wars, terrorism too begins in the minds of men and it is in the minds of men where the defences of peace have to be constructed. This can best be done in schools when children are young and impressionable.

True education releases capacities, develops analytical abilities, confidence in oneself, will-power and goal setting competencies, and instils the vision that enables one to become a self-motivated agent of social change, serving the best interests of the community. At a certain moment in history, education must also act as a powerful instrument for profound social transformation. Such a moment has now arrived.

Enforceable World Law

New revolutionary changes in the technology of transport and communications have reduced the world to a global village. People living on the opposite sides of the globe have become virtual neighbours, thanks to the internet and supersonic jets. In such a close-knit world, the emergence or formation of a new world order is only a matter of time. The mute question is whether the unification of humankind will happen after unimaginable horrors precipitated by humanity’s stubborn clinging to old patterns of behaviour, or is to be embraced now by an act of consultative will. However, there can be little doubt that only enforceable international or world law enacted by a properly represented and duly constituted World body can ensure world peace, implement global steps to conserve the environment, outlaw and check acts of terrorism, and eliminate all weapons of mass destruction, thus safeguarding the future of world’s children, born and yet-to-be-born. However, a powerful executive authority will be imperative to ensure and enforce compliance.

And in order to ensure obedience to such laws, the executive authority must have sanction and support of all the nation states so as to enable such authority to compel any state to surrender to international or world law and provide effective global governance. Such a world order will be able to address important problems of lawlessness, terrorism, environmental degradation, drug trafficking and other global problems.