Thursday’s class discussion ended on many notes, one of which proposed that terrorist organizations, which are not sovereign states, are causing nations to become increasingly afraid. I left class thinking about this, and am still trying to grapple with what this means. Because these international organizations are becoming so powerful, nations like America, France and many others are beginning to keep a closer eye on them and fear for their own safety. The fact that this is actually happens should force us to reconsider our ideas about IR theories. We argue and try to compromise with groups like Al-Qaida as if they were a part of the UN. It is arguable that these groups are in fact stronger and more sly then a given nation’s army, for have we seen the powerhouses of the world taking down Al-Qaida?
With this in mind, another question comes to light, if there really is a current international transition of power. Back in the 1900’s, a terrorist group was not much of a threat, and barely made an impact in comparison to the armies of Germany, France, England and the United States. It was all about the physical weapons and the physical tanks that could battle each other. A measure of power was calculated in how many soldiers were in the army and how powerful a nation’s machine guns were. Now, it is more than that. Power, war and threats are slowly becoming less physical and more cyber and psychological. Because Al-Qaida is able to instill this deep rooted fear in the government of France without possessing a physical army should raise a flag. Yes, terrorist groups do have weapons and their form of soldiers but much less so than a nation. The fact that these groups fight on a sly basis and come in unexpected ways really does make us think about where the power has gone to today. If we are beginning to be more afraid of a non-sovereign state than a sovereign state, things have definitely changed since the 1900’s. It is time to take into account these changes and adjust accordingly.