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Terrorism and the Nation-State

September 13, 2004

These are my alternate interpretations of terrorism and the Nation-State.

With regards to terrorism, the war on Afghanistan and Iraq did nothing to reduce it, and everything to increase it. It is likely that the US military's infiltration of terrorist organizations may allow us to better combat terrorism; however, I'd argue that that certainly isn't as efficient as free-market operations would be. However, it is certainly much better (both in terms of less murder of non-aggressors and less taxation) than modern war. As for the military strategy fr Iraq, it was strategically flawed in the larger picture of preventing terrorism. It is only going to result in more terrorism than there would otherwise have been.

The terrorists are just as stupid as those planning our militant foreign interventionism and imperialism. Terrorism does not aid the stated cause of the terrorist (usually to rid his land of infidels, etc), but only harms it. It makes Nation-States likely to retaliate, and do more of whatever it was the terrorists were complaining about.

Of course, an alternate conclusion is that the terrorists really don't want the US out of the Middle East, but want us to stay there so that they can retain a position of enormous power and influence. In parallel, it is also possible that "the US government" doesn't really want to stop terrorism, but wants it to continue, so that it can continually expand and tax more and more. However, since the terrorists tend to be religious fanatics, I think it is less likely that they are disingenuous in their stated causes; that still doesn't mean that the US government doesn't want terrorism to continue.

It is conceivable that there is collusion between the terrorists and our Nation-State. We continue occupying various parts of the Middle East and intervening, which means that the terrorist leaders will continue to occupy their positions of power. In exchange, the terrorists do the US government the favor of continuing to engage in terrorism, which of course gives the US government an excuse for stealing ever more money from the productive private sector, and an excuse for growing ever-larger. The terrorists and the US government would gain (ex ante) from this unfree anti-market "trade". US citizens lose, as does anyone in the geographical area of the terrorists, or anyone of their religion and nationality. As stated before, I'm more inclined to believe that the State is disingenuous in its stated causes than the terrorists (as they are religious fanatics); however, again, that still doesn't mean that the US government can't do anything to promote terrorism.

The first analysis is Misean, in my opinion. The second and third seem to be in a more Rothbardian vein. Of course, since the US government is composed of many people, I've been anthropomorphizing, and it is entirely possible that there are elements of both in different parts of the State.


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