Thursday, December 23, 2010

Terrorism in Italy

Two bombs have exploded at embassies in Rome, wounding two people. The authorities suspect Italian poltically radical terrorists and not Islamic terrorists. This has happened in the context of vehement protests by students and the discovery of a defective bomb on the Metro in Rome.
Why is there political violence like this in Italy? One explanation is that there could be political violence anywhere and that in Italy is only worse than other countries as a coincidence. In the United States, for example, domestic terrorism has recently occured in the attack on the IRS office in Texas, the shooting at the Holocaust Museum in DC, and occasional crimes motivated by hatred, often against immigrants. Another approach to explaining Italian terrorism is that that there really is more of it in Italy than elsewhere. One explanation for why this would be so is the established practice of political radicalism in Italy. The fascists first came to power in Italy, largely through intimidation. For many decades after World War II, the communists were one of the largest parties in Italy. In the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, there was violent terrorism in Italy. Strikes by labor unions are not infrequent and are sometimes confrontational.
So what can Italy do to deal with this terrorism? One approach is what it is doing now and what is done in all rich countries, to rely on investigation and enforcement of terrorism. This is probably the best approach, but another approach is to examine and attempt to address those roots of terrorism. I will not discuss this approach now because, even if I knew much about Italy, it would take more time and words than I am willing to use on that subject right now.

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