Thomas Homer-Dixon

10 results found for: Terrorism

January 25th, 2016 —

What is really at stake in extremist attacks

So far, extremists haven’t been smart: They haven’t yet effectively exploited available technologies or our open societies’ vulnerabilities. They’ve used assault rifles in theatres, not dirty bombs in skyscrapers. But eventually one or more of them will be really smart. When that happens, we mustn’t let our fear destroy the freedoms that extremists hate most.

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August 28th, 2015 —

Complexity Science

Homer-Dixon, Thomas, “Complexity Science,” Oxford Leadership Journal, January 2011, 2(1). An article based on the Canada School of Public Service’s 2010 John L. Manion Lecture, entitled “Complexity, Crisis and Change: Implications for the Federal Public Service.” “Complexity science isn’t a fad. I will offer a brief survey of some core concepts and ideas, and I [...]

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April 17th, 2012 —

Video: “Catastrophic Dehumanization”

Talk at the James Martin School at Oxford University on “Catastrophic Dehumanization.” Dehumanization is arguably a defining feature of the most brutal acts of human violence, such as saturation bombardment of civilian populations, terrorist attacks on urban centers, intense battlefield combat, and genocide. I propose a psychological explanation of this phenomenon that uses a catastrophe manifold [...]

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April 27th, 2007 —

Terror in the Weather Forecast

Does climate change threaten international peace and security? The British government thinks it does. As this month’s head of the United Nations Security Council, Britain convened a debate on the matter last Tuesday. One in four United Nations member countries joined the discussion — a record for this kind of thematic debate.

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September 11th, 2006 —

Pull Up Terrorism by the Roots

Since 9/11, millions of words have poured from our popular media into our brains about the nature of al-Qaeda, about divisions and discord within the Islamic world, and even about the ingredients for liquid explosives. This torrent of information has enlightened us about terrorism in some ways, but in others it has left us as befuddled as ever. And nothing has confused us more than the question of whether it’s worthwhile, or even morally justified, to talk about terrorism’s “root” causes.

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July 23rd, 2005 —

Brittle Cities Are Easily Broken

“If there’s another major attack, people will leave the city in droves.”

Andrew, a colleague of mine in New York City, was sitting in his office in a building not far from Grand Central. It was October 2001, and I’d phoned him from Canada to discuss some business. But our conversation quickly turned to the city’s fevered mood. After the attack on the World Trade Center and a string of anthrax letters, New York’s normally thickskinned inhabitants were near their tipping point.

Of course, another attack never occurred, so we’ll never know just how close New Yorkers came to the leaving the city en masse. But Andrew clearly thought that the psychological pressure on the city’s people had reached a critical threshold.

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December 4th, 2002 —

Synchronous Failure: the Real Danger of the 21st Century

Humankind, I argue, is on the cusp of a planetary emergency. We face an ever-greater risk of a synchronous failure of our social, economic and biophysical systems, arising from simultaneious, interacting stresses acting powerfully at multiple levels of these global systems.

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January 1st, 2002 —

The Rise of Complex Terrorism

Modern societies face a cruel paradox: Fast-paced technological and economic innovations may deliver unrivalled prosperity, but they also render rich nations vulnerable to crippling, unanticipated attacks. By relying on intricate networks and concentrating vital assets in small geographic clusters, advanced Western nations only amplify the destructive power of terrorists and the psychological and financial damage they can inflict.

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September 26th, 2001 —

Why Root Causes Are Important

The receptivity of young men to terror’s radical message is enormously increased by this legacy of conflict, dislocation, and — yes — poverty in the region. From the refugee camps in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province to the squalid streets of Gaza, we have ignored — for far too long — festering wounds of discontent.

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September 12th, 2001 —

Now Comes the Real Danger

Some events shatter the order of things — the routines and regularities of our lives that we rely upon for our sense of safety and our sense, most importantly, of who we are and where we are going. Some events change our perceptions forever. The world never looks the same again afterward. Suddenly, the reliable landmarks of life seem strange and distorted — recognizable, yet simultaneously weirdly unrecognizable.

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