It seems to me that the intention of terrorism is to destabilise. It sets out to cause disruption and chaos out of all proportion to the level of actual harm. By committing high-profile atrocities of horrific nature it creates fear and a feeling of threat far in excess of reality.
That is what ISIS, Boko Haram, A Qaeda, the Taliban and other related groups deliberately set out to do.
The twin towers, beheadings, crucifixion, burning people alive, barbaric torture, kidnapping, bombing young kids at concerts, knifings, suicide bombings and grotesque medieval style callous murders were all aimed to draw maximum attention and create fear and panic.
That was their intent. The actual numbers of Westerners killed in these horrific acts were really quite small. But the impact was enormous.
The Western response was out of all proportion. Invasion, war and conflict. Just what the terrorists wanted. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and others. All fertile ground for recruitment. It fitted their rhetoric. Islam was under attack. There was a Jihad. It had to be protected against crusader attack. It worked.
Western Muslims were recruited, became militant and a new era of extreme Islam was spawned.
The wars generated huge instability and hatred in Arab countries. It created mass migration. Again playing into the hands of the radicalised extremists.
Faced with this wave of mass migration and radical Islam coupled with the terrorist threats the West became even more defensive. Islamophobia came to the fore. Muslims were a threat to the West. They were swamping us. They were intent on bringing in Sharia law. They were harbouring terrorists.
Tolerance and compassion went out the window. There were the rise of fascist groups and extreme right-wingers in Europe and the States. The anti-immigrant, Islamophobic propaganda exaggerated the problems and created a narrative around terrorism, rapists, sharia law, burqas, niqabs, mosques and birth rates. Instead of dealing with the genuine problems created by mass immigration and radicalisation we moved towards anger and rejection. Muslims became isolated and perceived as the enemy. Once again playing into the hands of the radicalised extremists. Recruitment was easy. Ostracised youth felt rejected, angry and filled with hate. They were easy prey for propaganda. It was easy to portray the West as crusaders wanting to eradicate Islam.
The end result was the election of Trump and the Brexit vote, the rise of right-wing groups across Europe and in the USA and the resultant division, chaos and hatred.
What did the terrorists set out to achieve? They set out to weaken the West, cause chaos, destabilise democracy, break alliances and sow the seeds of our destruction.
Well it looks to me as if they have succeeded hands down!
The US is divided with hatred and tribalism. The post-truth era is creating instability and doubt in democracy.
The UK is enfeebled by Brexit.
The EU is enfeebled by Brexit.
There is rampant Islamophobia.
Mass migration had created turmoil with no coherent plan.
Fascism is once more a potent force.
Alliances such as NATO are weakened.
Liberalisation, tolerance and compassion are in retreat.
We are wallowing in nationalism, extremism and racism.
The terrorists have succeeded in fermenting chaos, destabilising democracy and weakening the West.
What a mess we have made of it all so far. But Hey – I reckon we can weather the stupidities of Trump and Brexit, deal with mass migration, rebuild our alliances, re-establish truth, become stable again, re-establish our trading arrangements to create prosperity, see off nationalism and regain our liberal policies, tolerance and compassion. This is just a nasty blip.