Cause and Effect

August 2nd, 2007|Tags: |

Thomas Homer-Dixon writes here on causality in complex systems, in response to Alex de Waal’s earlier post Is Climate Change the Culprit for Darfur? and to Declan Butler’s June 28th Nature article Darfur’s climate roots challenged.

Terror in the Weather Forecast

April 24th, 2007|Tags: |

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.

Pull Up Terrorism by the Roots

September 11th, 2006|Tags: |

Are there deep economic, social, political, or psychological causes of terrorism — things such as economic inequality, militant religious fundamentalism, or feelings of alienation and humiliation — and, if so, should we discuss them, analyze them, and then try to address them through our domestic and foreign policies?

War: Which Way to Turn

February 8th, 2003|Tags: |

Should we go to war with Iraq? If you’re perplexed and confused by the issue, you’re not alone. In recent months, I’ve found my own opinion shifting from one side to the other, a picture of indecisiveness. Only recently have I made up my mind.

The Rise of Complex Terrorism

January 1st, 2002|Tags: |

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.

Why Root Causes Are Important

September 26th, 2001|Tags: |

The debate surrounding the events of September 11 is being clouded by sloppy logic and analysis in the haste to say something — anything — that makes sense of the situation. One issue that has become clouded is whether it’s reasonable to talk about terrorism’s “root causes.”

Now Comes the Real Danger

September 12th, 2001|Tags: |

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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