Terrorism as a factor in international relations

This document defines ‘international relations’ to mean ‘relations between states’ and attempts to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable terrorism, with the ‘balance of terror’ of the Cold War described as the ultimate form of the latter. Concerning the nation state, lesser degrees of unacceptable terror can be distinguished, varying in different countries depending on whether individual life is considered sacred or expendable. Internal resistance to oppressive government is likely to escalate where a country consists of a number of geographically distinct areas, differing religions and traditions, or where the government is inexperienced or weakened by war. Where a resistance movement has developed, and conditions have become so disturbed or there exists such dissatisfaction within it, another state may see advantage in stimulating the disintegration. Rhodesia and South Africa currently find themselves at this stage of guerrilla action, which if it escalates can lead to guerrilla war and eventually to civil war. Terror is presently as much a factor in international relations as ever, and it has been developed as an instrument for the overthrow of legal governments by minorities. There exists a regular escalation from resistance, through subversion, to guerrilla action and finally civil war, and the end result is disastrous for the country concerned. This can be achieved by failing to recognise the danger and not taking action to end it.