A New-Far Right wave of Terrorism and Public Diplomacy

In the field of terrorism studies, Rapoport’s four waves of terrorism is the most influential theory to understand and discuss about terrorism. The four waves of terrorism are the Anarchist wave, the Anticolonial wave, the new left wave and Religious wave.


The anarchist wave started in the late 19th century. This wave started from the anarchist movement in Russia and then from Russia it spread in Europe and Balkans states. The thing which gave rise to this wave is slow political reforms done by leaders at that time and secondly there was a decline in the legitimacies of Monarchies. The main aim of this wave was creating rebellion by eliminating oppression from the governments. The terrorists at that time were targeting head of the states by assassinating them, they were also creating a situation of anarchy by robberies. This wave came to end because of serious, effective and aggressive state decisions and another reason is of WWI.


The anticolonial wave started after the WWI. The element of nationalism was main factor in this wave of terrorism. Treaty of Versailles and increased demand of self-determination is considered by Rapoport as main driving factors of this wave. The main purpose of this wave is to stand against colonial rules and to eliminate them so that new states which people wants should be formed. Terrorist in this wave were targeting police and military. Terrorist were following policy of hit and run. This wave ended because they gained their goals and there interests were served.


The new left wave started in cold war and in Vietnam War. During this wave terrorist groups were using the ideas of Marxist socialist revolution to bring down the capitalist system. Their main aim was to eliminate capitalism system from the world. They are targeting governments and peoples who were more inclined towards US. They are kidnapping, hijacking and assassinating public and leaders. This wave ended after the end of cold war.


The religious wave started from the Iranian or Islamic Revolution, the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan is also the main factor of this wave. The radical Islamic terrorist claims that their main aim is to create Islamic Caliphate. Their main targets are Israel, US, Europe. They are targeting on transportation system, public venues. They are targeting by using suicide bombings, they are using vehicles and aircrafts as a tool.


Moreover, in the recent times we are witnessing another wave of terrorism, the new far-right wave of terrorism which is on rise and can create serious chaos in the society of humans. The main argument of this wave is that it is targeting the minds and is done by playing psychological games. The recent Government formed is Israel belongs to far-right leaders. Their aims are objective and clear. They are manipulating the minds of their own citizens so that they support the terrorism done by them particularly terrorist attacks against innocent civilians of Gaza and of West Bank. The wining of elections by far-right conservative party in UK and the support of far-right leaders of Netherland and France which are pushing the fire of extreme violent in the minds of masses is another example.


This far-right terrorism is touching the heights in South Asia particularly in India. In 2014, Indian Democracy fell into populism. The formation of BJP’s government which is itself supporting the Ideology of Hindutva, inspired by RSS which is a movement of far rights Hindus. The BJP’s Government propagate the ideology in its first tenure and the second win by BJP in general elections of 2019 raised serious concerns. They are propagating nationalism and are changing the mindset of their public by using different tools, the change of mindset relates to the superiority of Hindus, making a “holy land” the Akhand Bharat in which the supremacy of Hindus lead. The Akhand Bharat encompasses the territories of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and coastal states of Indian Ocean. This concept itself speaks for violence and chaos. This new far-right wave of terrorism is devastating and it will bring and promote more terrorism in the Globe.


Winston Churchill said, Diplomacy is an art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions. Public Diplomacy, which is used by states, non-state actors, to understand culture, ideas, believes, norms and values of public, so that they build and maintain relationships and influence their thoughts and mobilize their actions according to their interests. These far-right entities are using public diplomacy in propagating their interests, firstly they promote the idea of nationalism in their own state then by arranging seminars inside their own state and in other states where there interests matters, in seminars they propagate their ideas. They portray the ideas in such a way that it is in the benefit of all whereas actually they are doing diplomacy.


They are influencing people by social media and internet, through social media apps they share, propagate their ideas, sometimes they influence people through bloggers and vlogers. They are actually targeting the minds of public.


The best way to deal with these Far-rights terrorists is by educating the more and more masses regarding their agendas. By propagating strong counter arguments. By countering them using public diplomacy, by making lobbies against them. The lobbies consist of members who are well known for their peace efforts and are considered sharing values based on peace and stability. It can thus be established that a strong public diplomacy may bring a strong counter-response in dealing with the issue of far-right terrorism.

Published in Global Affairs May 2022 Edition

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Hamza Ashfaq

Written by Hamza Ashfaq

Hamza Ashfaq is a student of International Relations at National Defence University Islamabad. His area of interest includes conflicts in the Eurasian region.

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