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Yuval Noah Harari: the theatre of terror

Like terrorists, those combating terrorism should also think more like theatre producers and less like army generals. Above all, if we want to fight terrorism effectively we must realise that nothing the terrorists do can defeat us. We are the only ones who can defeat ourselves, if we overreact in a misguided way to terrorist provocations…Why are they so sensitive to terrorist provocations? Because the legitimacy of the modern state is based on its promise to keep the public sphere free of political violence. A regime can withstand terrible catastrophes, and even ignore them, provided its legitimacy is not based on preventing them.

On the other hand, a regime may collapse due to a minor problem if it is seen as undermining its legitimacy. In the 14th century the Black Death killed between a quarter and a half of European populations, yet no king lost his throne as a result, even though no king made much of an effort to overcome the plague.

Nobody back then thought that preventing plagues was part of a king’s job. On the other hand, rulers that allowed religious heresy to spread in their dominions risked losing their crown, and even their head.

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Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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