By Beatrice E. Rangel
As Paris reeled under the weight of tragedy and unusually taxing security measures, the world commanding heights met at the G20's tenth summit meeting. In the midst of an unclarified chain of events leading to the Friday the 13th attack, the world leadership attempted to deal with the situation by means of reshuffling some geopolitical tasks in favor of Russia's desires to see its status of world power codified. With a renewed role for Russia, perhaps the shaky Middle East situation could be brought back to stability.
But as soon as geopolitical connoisseurs had expressed hope in the new arrangement, terrorists struck another blow to world stability by staging a takeover of a hotel in Mali. The Mali attack revealed a sophisticated web of communication networks that resorting to domestic devices could follow closely the moves of local authorities as well as that of incoming and outgoing visitors to better target their attack time so that it would meet least resistance and have the most destructive power. And they succeeded!!!
Meanwhile all over Europe authorities scrambled to concentrate resources in capital cities and especially likely terrorist targets like the Coliseum, the Berlin Opera House, Covent Garden and Cibeles Square. Such mobilization aims at convincing citizens that their authorities know how to provide security and at planting in terrorist minds the idea that the cost of perpetrating an attack would be higher than the benefits accruing to such operation.
This thinking is bound to meet failure in seeking to vanquish a suicidal enemy. To begin with, it is quite obvious now that only Israel has been able to dissect the logics of terrorism and translate this exercise into viable national security plans. Second, US and Europe are founded upon the principle of rule of law. This entails respect for human life and some basic principles of civility.
The terrorist mind sees human life as an input to the terror creating process and has no regard whatsoever for rules of engagement. This propels them to define success as their capacity to create chaos. And chaos has no rules. Under such circumstances a thoroughly thought out hierarchical contention plan is obsolete before it is implemented.
Accordingly, terrorists know that they only need to "lie low" for a while and retake the offensive at a later day. They also know that these "security operations" are only temporary, as the cost of maintaining them permanently would bankrupt any authority. Meanwhile, terrorists have access to a very rich spring of invisible sources of revenue such as the product of counterfeit goods, drug and human trafficking, weapons trade, etc.
This asymmetric war does not bode well for prospects for world stability over the next two or three decades which will be the time frame to resolve the underlying structural problem that nurtures terrorism, which is, of course, is inequality.
Prior to the internet people had little means to compare their lifestyles to other groups within a nation or among countries. Now everything is painfully visible and resentment builds especially when circumstances are dire.
In this stage of world economic development, dire circumstances are the new normal for the many. Because the internet has changed the logics of value creation but has failed to change educational systems to match the new logics with the skillset needed to earn good salaries, most people are consequently tied to unproductive low paying jobs. This allows dogmatism and extreme religious thinking to flower. And once they settle into unemployed, idle young minds, tragedy is bound to occur.
Eventually the world will come round to the need to restructure the whole productive edifice just like the US did after the 1928 financial crisis. But, in the meantime we are going to face bumpy weather, loss of life and the destruction of historical sites. We will also witness the growth in numbers of "sleeper cells" in emerging markets where they will await their opportunity to earn eternal life through martyrdom. This seems to be surfacing in Honduras, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Guatemala today.Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
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