International cooperation has been central to international peace. NATO provides frameworks for security and trade agreements all over the world. Today, nationalism has also contributed to hazing our ability to accurately attribute contributors to domestic terrorism within transatlantic nations. This paper provides recommendations on two levels: changing the narrative to one that stresses to the public the utility and importance of ethnic minorities for domestic security (agenda Setting). Concluding this paper will offer policy recommendations to increase transatlantic security.
At its peak, transatlantic relations have led to the formation of international institutions such as NATO, the EU and the UN. Recently, we have nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment rise globally. The election of President Donald Trump, the Brexit referendum and Marie Le Pen’s ability to advance to the final run-off of the French Presidential election are indicative of a re-emerging nationalist ideological shift.
This shift, while not prominent in all nations, has contributed to breakdowns in security and intelligence sharing amongst the transatlantic, effectively undermining public safety and infrastructural integrity of all nations. Leaders have been incentivized to acquiesce to the demands of some of their more populist constituents for electoral gains. While the rhetoric of nationalism may be appealing, it does not hold truth within the context of crafting security policy. It is urged that policy makers in the transatlantic reframe the discussion of immigration and terrorism into a message that is more fact based and inclusive.
Changing the Narrative
Between the years 2002-2015 more than 4,900 terrorist attacks were carried out by groups or organizations affiliated with the Islamic State. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism found these attacks have resulted in 33,000 deaths. Of those attacks included in the study over half were non-lethal and only two percent involved twenty or more fatalities. Mathematically, that amounts to a very frequent amount of terrorist attacks per year (376). Evidence indicates that despite the coordination of these attacks they typically have a low number of fatalities compared to militarized combat or even annual drug overdoses. Leaders should treat terrorist attacks and their coverage of terrorist attacks the same as they do gun violence or domestic crime. Efforts rhetorically should be made to discredit the coordination of terrorist attacks and its connection to the Islamic state. Present day attribution and analysis of attacks that majority of the time are non-lethal help radicalization efforts. This attribution has contributed to galvanizing support for policies that demonize and oppress some of our greatest aids in the fight against terrorism.
The first step in changing the narrative is for all leaders of the transatlantic nations to disavow the term Islamic terror publically. This could be done at a joint press conference or UN meeting. The alternative phrased utilized ought to be Islamist- meaning individuals that attempt to disavow or misrepresent the religion of Islam for political/ economic gains. Doing so, diplomatically puts pressure on terrorist organizations and simultaneously alienates them from the privilege of claiming to represent the world’s second biggest organized religion with the highest conversion rate. Additionally, this act will help undermine the stigma associated with being Muslim. This can incentivize Muslim citizens to report suspicious activity made on behalf of the name of Islam. Minorities are extremely important in this regard because they have social bonds and communities that non-people of color are less likely to attend. In concert with this change in rhetoric, leaders need to inform citizens of radicalization efforts and change the narrative of who citizens suspect to be a terrorist. For example, the seven countries listed in President Trump’s terrorist ban have killed 0 Americans between the years 1975-2015. In America, domestic terrorist attacks from far rightest individuals and organizations have grown from 70 a year to 300 a year annually since 9/11. Additionally, the Anti-Semitic league has found an 87% increase in U.S. Anti-Semitic incidents, this evidence indicates that there is a greater harm in domestic citizens committing terrorist attacks than foreign nationals. Consequently, Leaders need to inform their citizens that a terrorist can be white as well as brown and speak the same tongue they do and therefore we must act accordingly.
The United States and other transatlantic nations ought to remove “Visa Waiver” policies. Visa Waiver policies provide loopholes that allow individuals from particular nations to stay within the United States for up to 90 days. An overwhelming majority of these 38 nations are European. Terrorist steal EU passports which help facilitate entry into the U.S. with the Visa Waiver program. In response to this, America passed the VWP Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 which prevents individuals whom have traveled to nations with terrorist affiliations from using the VWP. However, this paper contends that act to be discriminatory in nature because it cuts against innocent citizens whom have family members in those respective nations.
Incentivizing cooperation and having equal standards for foreign entry. Currently despite the EU’s decision to approve a foreign travel ban Germany permits the entry of Syrian and other foreign refugees. This provides terrorists whom wish to do harm an easier path into Europe and therefore by extension other nations. European nations suffer from an unwillingness to share intelligence. This is exacerbated by the “free loader” problem in which states like the UK have stated they will not share intelligence until other EU nations financially contribute to security. To combat this, nations whom share intelligence should release a small amount of visa-waivers to nations whom share an abundance of intelligence for security purposes. This provides economic incentives for intelligence sharing.
These ideas are just the beginning of an exhaustive discourse, educating citizens to believe that minorities can serve as tools in the fight against terrorism will make realistic improvements to defense.