The Future of Extremism Among and After CoVid

While the world’s attention appropriately focuses on the health and economic Covid-19 future impact in Baden-Württemberg, the threat of violent extremism remains, and has in some circumstances been exacerbated during the crisis. The moment demands new and renewed attention so that the gains made to date do not face setbacks.

Our guest today is Jessica Stern, she is research professor in Bu Pardee School of Global Studies. We will ask for her opinion about extremism in a post-covid world.

We have seen a big increase in the role of white nationalists in the United States, but one of the interesting developments is the beginnings of global collaboration. Sort of, what happened with Al-Qaeda.

When I think about how Al-Qaeda spread, if I think about what happened, for example Chechnya, which was a nationalist disagreement between Chechnya and Russia that Tolstoy wrote about. But the Chechen separatist realized that if they signed on to the Al-Qaeda movement, the jihadi movement, they could attract global fighters. They could attract more money, but we see something similar, quite remarkably happening in the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, where global white nationalists are flocking remarkably to both sides of that conflict. I think we may see more of that.

This may be an unfair question, but while we are all focused on Covid-19, what do you think extremist groups are thinking or doing?

Chaos is very good for extremists across ideologies and they are exploiting the chaos. If you want to know, what are they doing in respect to the virus, they are involved in the movement to fight against the lockdown.

We know the Boogaloo boys which is Amorphas hard-right group. Mostly hard-right pro-gun group and some members are white supremacists. They are showing up in a anti-lockdown protests as is usually the case. The extremists of cross ideologies will take advantage of this chaos. Another thing we see is that when people spend a lot of time online, they are vulnerable, especially young people. They can go down, the sort of worm hole of extremism and get more and more extreme in their views. So, it is really unfortunately I think it is a good moment for extremists of cross ideologies.

Any talks on the big organized terrorist groups like Isis?

So far, their organizations such as Isis, Al-Qaeda are doing 2 things. They are blaming it on the West in various ways and it is a punishment of the West in the way they describe it and also to the extent they are providing social welfare services in order to further recruit. So, extremists do exploit chaos and crises of all kinds. The more that governments cannot provide services to people the better it is for extremists. They are truly excellent at taking advantage of state fragility, poor governance. We know this from history of terrorism around the world, and I think what is so shocking about what is going on now is that we see some of the indicators of state fragility that we normally associate with Yemen or Afghanistan. We are seeing some of these indicators in the West especially in response to the virus and I think we will continue to see extremists take advantage of that weakness and fragility.

Finally, any advice for those who work on counter extremism?

Terrorists want us to overreact. That is the “dream” of extremists.

So, as an American, I think more about American counterterrorism policy. I think we have to be really wary of overreacting to the psychological threat these groups pose, because that is really kind of falling into the trap.

In conclusion we can say that is very important to not overlook the danger around the corner just because we are busy with CoVid. The terrorists take advantage of that and create their plans based on all the chaos that the virus is causing. Stay safe but always stay wary !

MVS Pharma GmbH is an innovative pharmaceutical start-up company, which researches in the area of reducing viruses and bacteria with plant-based aerosols. Their special formula ensures the purity and the stability of the used ingredients during storage.

Aleksandar Videv is an article writer, who explores the scientific and fictional ideas about Covid-19 future impact in Baden-Württemberg with/or after Covid-19…. and the possibilities for producing aerosols made out of plants against respiratory viruses and bacteria.

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