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Journal Article


Kivimaki T. Pac. Rev. 2007; 20(1): 49-73.


(Copyright © 2007, Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)






Terrorism has become a challenge to which Southeast Asian studies need to respond. This article scrutinizes political and economic developments in regard to democracy and poverty in Southeast Asia, in particular the degree of change, and studies their influence on terrorism. The main question being asked here is whether external support for political and economic development could contribute to the Southeast Asian battle against terrorism. At the same time, this article seeks ways in which the international community, especially Europe, could support and participate in Southeast Asian efforts to address the root causes of terrorism. Finally, a global quantitative analysis of relevant factors is undertaken, and global conclusions are related to the developments and processes observed in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia. On the basis of the analysis, it can be established that some of the root causes of terrorism are indeed related to poverty and the lack of democracy. While it is clear that terrorist strategies to address these grievances by targeting innocent civilians are unacceptable, grievances related to poverty and the lack of democracy are perfectly legitimate. It seems that in order to inhibit individual terrorist motivations, democratization of political systems would do some good. However, the main economic and political grievances that are associated with the growth of terrorism are related to transnational communities. Thus, while Southeast Asian countries should continue to develop and democratize, they should also work together with the international community to democratize the international structures of governance.


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