In the United States of America, radicalization

Master's ・Political Science ・APA ・10 Sources

The introduction and abstract portions advance the idea of radicalization, paying attention to its significance and how it happens. The chapter continues to focus on the topic, and the phenomenon has become a global threat to people's security. In addition, it illustrates the significance of the subject as a subject of study in the current century and in the US in particular.

First section: B. The Distance

The report addresses the thesis in the gap section, providing the history of the analysis and the literature review. The context information describes the increasing incidents of domestic extremism as the key factor for the need to investigate radicalization in the United States. The literature review explains the available studies on the topic paying attention to arguments and recommendations of other scholars of the subject.

Section 2

The section offers the questions that the study seeks to answer in explaining radicalization and domestic terrorism in the US and how it can be solved.

Section 3

Section three provides the fundamental basis for the study. It explains the thesis of the study showing the explicit importance of the topic and what the study seeks to answer in the end.

Section 4

The last section presents the discussion on the available data and arguments presented by other subsequent studies. It also provides the opinion regarding psychology need for the study of people engaged or influenced to joining the radical groups. Consequently, it offers an incisive argument that shapes the focus of the study and the conclusion regarding the topic of the geopolitics of radicalization in North America particularly the United States of America. 


Radicalism is growing every day among nations and is considered the greatest threat facing the world. In the wake terrorism in every part of the world, states are matching up resources to fight the vice. The study is also geared by the fact that recent cases of terrorism have increased rapidly which are closely related to radicalism particularly among the youth from the Islamic States. This research aims to unmask the causes of radicalism in individuals in relation to geopolitical environments where these individuals come from. Accordingly, the study will attempt to study psychological reasons behind radicalism in the United States of America. Moreover, it will explore effects of radicalism on domestic politics as well as politics that include international cooperation. Comparison in ways of radicalization eradication has also been an issue that has been closely looked at in this research. The paper also looks at the effect of radicalism on domestic politics given that it has mass effects on the politics of a country.          

Key words: radicalization, terror, need for change.


Radicalization is a process that involves influencing a person or a group to conform to an increasingly extreme political, social, or religious percepts that challenge the status quo. It is a dangerous precept that misleads a lot of people particularly the youths. It involves the adherence of minds to beliefs which border even the preferment of vehemence to achieve political needs. Unfortunately, despite the dangers associated with radicalism, the world has not given it the attention it deserves. Such inadequate attention continues to pose a serious threat to the existence of the people especially those who do not ascribe to such radical beliefs. The government believes that such actions of radicalism are based on lawlessness. The government of the US believes that those who adapt to such extreme perspectives are influenced by people with strong conviction on certain beliefs. Moreover, the government asserts that most of the radicals in the society have been indoctrinated by more serious precepts such as religion leanings and societal unfairness. Reports and studies have attempted to look into various solutions for radicalism, but have failed to find out the true causes of radicalism, which would serve the basis for interpretation and further analysis of radicalization. The extremism is the leading cause of domestic terrorism thereby necessitating this study to uncover the causes of radicalization and the emergence of extremist groups in the United States and its environs.

Section 1: The Gap

Section 1. i. Background of the Study

American Douglas McCain was killed in Syria fighting for Islamic State of Iraq (ISIL) also known as ISIS (Schmidt, 2014). He was not the only case of an American fighting for the terrorist group; John W Lindh was captured fighting for Taliban group, while other Somali-American immigrants living in Minnesota were also recruited to fight for Al-Shabab. The list is endless as believers are determined to defend their faith against all “threats” either real or imagined. The concern on religious beliefs is mainly driven by the fact that the United States government has failed or has historically not shown its willingness to protect the religious freedom of American Muslims. The continuous discrimination has created a breeding ground for religious extremism because of victimhood.

Section 1. ii. Literature Review

A series of attacks have heightened in the recent past which shows that the rise of terrorism and other extreme ideologies is way ahead of the tactics and preparations of the military and defense task forces. Radicalization takes place gradually and therefore efforts to thwart recruitment would go a long way in curbing radicalization. To counter-radicalization, the US military and security forces need a multi-dimensional strategy deeply rooted in a profound understanding of the ideologies of radicalization and extremism. “A multidisciplinary method that includes the assorted perceptions of belief, criminal reasonableness, law, aptitude, information science, grid theory, and communication science is vital for analysis of these occurrences” (Lake, 2002 p. 27). The US should delve and dive into a battle of ideas with the extremists because they act irrationally despite having sound mind. They have a deficit of social networks, a deficit of social intelligence, a demonstrative deficit and psychosomatic difficulties to adapt themselves to the public (Griggs, Norval, & Wagenaar, 2014). A good study of the life cycle and process of radicalization and the motivators that entice individuals to join in and listen to radical ideas is paramount to countering this threat.

Although the US in the past has considered terrorism and extremism as a thing of Islamic, the situation is changing. Domestic extremism is shaping the look of terrorism in the US through influencing the internal peace that has been experienced for long. Extremists can easily influence the socially and psychologically vulnerable citizens to join the movement (Kaplan, 2007 p. 376). The US, therefore, is exposed to homegrown terrorists who are hard to detect and identify until they commit acts of violence. The US also faces lethal threats from the Yemen Based al-Qaeda terrorist group. With other countries such as the UK are experiencing a full-blown threat of radicalization and extremism, the US remains well situated for a huge increase in threat as we live in more or less borderless world (Brothers, 2000, p. 97).

Section 2: Research Questions

Research Questions

  1. Why do the individuals fall to attempts of radicalization by the extremist groups especially attempts by such groups that are in countries bordering the United States?
  2. How do extremist ideas from radicalized groups change the perception of national politics of individuals? What is the effect of radicalism on domestic politics?
  3. What are some of the answer to these questions ascertain the prominent and primary concerns that can be used to relate radicalism in its core?

Section 3: Thesis

The extremism is one of the leading causes of domestic terrorism in Northern America particularly in the US. Homeland security needs to do more to de-escalate the situation through exploring the domestic politics and the way their influence the people to take radical actions that endangers the lives of others. 

Section 4: Theme/Evidence/Discussion

Ways of radicalism adaptation

The extremists are often adapting and transforming radicalization in the face of advancing technology- a shift in leadership of the extremist groups and political reforms in the states (Carpenter, Levitt, & Jacobson, 2009). Each time the US security raises the bar to combat the threat, the extremists take their creativity a notch higher. Often they craft inventions that exploit loopholes in the latest security measures. The individuals have well cultivated high-level determination and flexibility. The adversaries are long-term thinkers with their focus stretched far beyond weeks and months.

The ground and context of domestic radicalization in the US have to be understood properly for effective measures to be drawn and established against this vice. These two avenues of radicalization include the prison system and the internet. Prisons provide a platform for some extremists to influence persons and promote their ideologies. Prisons, being a hostile environment for individuals in most cases, are susceptible to breeding grounds for radicalization. Including jails and prisons, the US is home to millions of inmates. Prisoners are a good target for extremists because they exhibit such traits as alienation, violence, and social isolation. Such characteristics often make locked-up people vulnerable to the ideologies of extremism. Additionally, inmates form gangs for protection purposes while in prison which makes it easier for extremists to sell their radical ideas. Furthermore, some of the radicals spend their time behind bars to develop radical ideologies recruitment; therefore, the gangs use the prisons to plan massive attacks after a time of hatred and bitterness in prison. Radicalization in prisons may, therefore, flourish without being detected. After release and parole, most prisoners continue to propagate radicalization by recruiting other individuals in the society who are vulnerable (Walter, 2005 p. 452). The context of radicalization has not been fully explored because there are few studies that expound on the issue of radicalization in prison settings. Limited information on this aspect is available leading to a poor understanding of this context. As a result, development of effective intervention measures is obstructed mostly.

The Internet is the other major ground for the spread of radicalization in the US. Cyberspace creates and offers many opportunities to be radicalized. The internet is uncensored, unregulated and pervasive; as such, it is destructive if not used appropriately. With the free access to Internet the unlimited access to information comes that might ease the spread of radical ideas. Individuals who are vulnerable can be easily radicalized as the internet provides a group of people from whom one can draw moral support. Through the internet, extremists can easily reach their target audiences. “The Internet gives the extremists access to individuals who they would have otherwise not met” (Conway, 2006 p. 283). Apart from recruiting, extremists engage in through the internet other various activities. The cyberspace provides a platform for training, fundraising, planning and attacking any perceived enemies. Most extremist groups have websites that are well designed, colorful, and visually attractive to the target audience. A wealth of information about the extremist group activities, achievements and plans are provided on these websites (Robinson, 2014 p. 25). Most of these sites offer chat rooms, music, videos and interaction platforms for the interested parties. The chat rooms provide echoing chambers where extremists have their ideas strongly supported by individuals who hold equally strong opinions. The videos are used to spread propaganda and messages extensively as most extremists believe that the camera has more power than a weapon when it comes to recruitment. The radicals who run the websites are keen to identify individuals who are interested and receptive to the messages and also weed out those who seem less interested (Halevy, 2013, p. 481). The internet accelerates the process of radicalization and provides an avenue for spreading extreme ideas without physical contact. It promotes self-radicalization. The intelligence forces to combat radicalization via the web have not yet established comprehensive strategies. The internet is vast and far-reaching and, therefore, effective measures that a well-crafted need to be put in place. Furthermore, the internet is borderless and not restricted to any geographical region. Any efforts to thwart internet radicalization would call for a joint exertion of both foreign and domestic forces against extremism (United Nation Security Council, 2017).                         

Psychological reasoning behind radicalism

An important question to ask when approaching the reasoning behind individuals accepting to be recruited in radicalized groups is the psychological control change that such an individual has over certain issues. The comprehension of such an answer is largely dependent on the psychosocial analysis of the people in relation to their geographical positions. It makes the category of radicalization for each individual difficult to comprehend given the nature and state of mind that a person whose mind is being radicalized varies. The real analysis of the reason as to why people are nowadays more endangered to radicalization could also depend on modernity issues that relate directly to people demographics and geopolitics. It is evident that most of the people who are radicalized are first convinced through a series of media images, contextual predispositions and religious explanations that certain individuals unfairly treat them (Gamson, 1992). Sometimes it can go a notch higher to persons who are learned. To clearly understand the analysis of psychological conviction that those who radicalize other use the issue of information disclosure to such individuals with modern politics and geopolitics that is today in the world must be analyzed. The modern geopolitics and territoriality is quite a mass of information to understand and relates to the modern political scenarios such as radicalism. Some of the reasons as to why American individuals also get convinced that they should be radicalized are geopolitical factors such as influence from the conditions of the neighboring politically hostile countries and even relationship with such nationals (Kaplan, 2007, p. 90). These individual therefore find it easy to create a sense of unfairness in their minds and so are easily radicalized. However, it is evident that exposure to media contents that show the nature of political activities in other hostile countries have also created a  major turnover in the mindset of most youth since the youths are today exposed to all the internet contents. Therefore, it allows sharing of information on sensitive political issues which grants the youths to engage their minds negatively about how national political matters. The nature of political and geopolitical relations such as demographics and population are also major contributors to serious factors that expose these individuals. This factor is majorly associated with demographics and population nature of a place (Mc Donald, 2001 p. 240).

Effect of radicalism on domestic politics

The effect of radicalism on domestic politics is immense and cover grave issues in the coordination of a nation’s politics since radicalization causes violence in its extreme ends. Historically radicalization has caused terrorism, which continues to affect the world over. Terrorism leads to major economic subverts all over the world in the last decade (Derluigian, 2005, p. 733). The continuity of such actions also creates havoc on the diplomatic issues between countries, which certainly affects the nature of a country’s national politics. The engagement of countries on peaceful terms to relate to trade and other important national issues is easily sabotaged by the fact that when radicalized groups share an origin, there is a creation of no trust between countries that initially were together.

Radical ideas also find their place in dismantling political focus of a state and creates the situation where the thematic issues in national politics are forgotten in respect to the entry of radicalism in politics. It then creates a situation where the political class cannot be able to control the political institutions because of the lack of peace and stability that is created in the country (Walter, 2005 p. 97). Radicalization has led to situations where democratic processes are abused and not respected by the political leaders at all times. It is important to note that the gap between radicalism and other political violence is wide since radicalism is fed into the mind and within a period may turn out as a political or religious relief to some individuals. In most instances, the radicalized minds tend to incorporate issues into beliefs, which they do not give up even for long.


Escalation of radicalism by homeland security is, therefore, more dependent on how the United States of America decided to prevent the escalation of radicalism. It is more important for the country to participate in the education of individuals to shun radicalism. It can be done through the enhancement of patriotism and nationalism. The country’s geopolitical case also exposes it to much of radical ideas especially because of the hostile neighboring countries and the also the Muslim world which harbors most radicals. Besides, the country needs to help solve certain geopolitical issues that can help in the reduction of cases of radicalism. Immigration policies should also be re-evaluated to feature security details that can protect the country from foreigner with unacceptable beliefs.

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Carpenter, J. S., Levitt, M., & Jacobson, M. (2009). Confronting the ideology of radical extremism. J. Nat'l Sec. L. & Pol'y, 3, 301.

Conway, M., 2006. Terrorism and the Internet: New media—New threat?. Parliamentary Affairs, 59(2), pp.283-298. Retrieved from

Gamson, W. A. (1992). Talking politics. Cambridge u.a: Cambridge University Press.

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Halevy, E. (2013). Growth of philosophic radicalism. [Place of publication not identified]: Martino Fine Books.

Kaplan, E.K., 2007. Spiritual radical: Abraham Joshua Heschel in America, 1940-1972. Yale University Press. Retrieved from,+E.K.,+2007.+Spiritual+Radical:+Abraham+Joshua+Heschel+in+America,+1940-1972.+Yale+University+Press.&ots=UOLieLkQaM&sig=Mwq7fBq9kk6YqBEg4o55O-vKpIw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Lake, D.A., 2002. Rational extremism: Understanding terrorism in the twenty-first century. Dialogue IO, 1(1), pp.15-28.

Robinson, W.I., 2014. Latin America's radical Left: challenges and complexities of political power in the twenty-first century. Rowman & Littlefield.

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