Many economists see Asian countries to drive economic activity in about twenty years’ time. Consistent with its growing stature in the world, its leaders are bent on improving the region’s image within the international community. Human rights and freedom of expression are two areas that must be high on the agenda and the signs so far have been positive. The very fact that the rest of the world chose Beijing to host the next Olympic Games should be seen as a statement of faith on China in particular and Asia more broadly. Its young leaders should make the most of the goodwill generated and continue on the path of progress and prosperity. They should also keep in mind all the essential elements that comprise a civil society and work toward attaining them. But, one major barrier to the progress of civil societies in Asia has been the growth of terrorism in the region. The first few years of the new millennium has come to be defined by the rise of terrorism in Asian nations that have a significant Islamic presence. This escalation is attributable to two primary causes. The first is the hegemonic foreign policy initiatives of the United States of America, tacitly supported by its strong allies that include Britain and Australia. The second is the radicalization of Islamist ideology, which has given shape to the concept of ‘holy jihad’ and ‘noble martyrdom’, making it easy to find willing participants in terror operations (Schmidt, 2004).
In conclusion, none of the Asian countries can truly claim to have progressed, until a comprehensive mechanism of dealing with terrorism is put in place. It is in this context that the issue of terrorism has been discussed in the General Assembly sessions for more than two decades, with a particular focus on terrorist hotbeds in Asia. As part of drawing up the new framework of addressing terrorism, the United Nations had organized a series of international conventions to tackle specific challenges posed by terrorist activities. Constituent nations of the UN from Asia have utilized this global forum to coordinate and cooperate in their efforts to mitigate terrorist activities. And one of the ways in which this end is achieved is through the formation of a common legal code. The United Nations’ Security Council has provided a suitable platform for devising strategies to counter terror. A significant development of the Security Council sessions has been the passing of numerous counter-terror resolutions and the establishment of potent subsidiary bodies (Schmidt, 2004). Yet, in spite of such unanimous consensus among Asian leaders to control terrorism, the region today remains as dangerous as ever. There were no attacks of the magnitude of the September 11 strikes in the last few years, but western interests anywhere in the world are not safe. This is made clear by the Bali bombings as well as the most recent massacre in Mumbai, India, where many citizens belonging to the United States of America and its allies in the War on Terror lost their lives (Schmidt, 2004).
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