Remembering the Christchurch attack, the Ukraine crisis asks the West to rethink its definitions of terrorism

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New Zealand’s royal commission of inquiry into the Christchurch attacks of March 15 2019 trapped itself – and has since trapped policymakers – into thinking terrorism’s sole cause is irrational extremism.

This position presumes terrorism largely emerges from ideological or religious extremism, and that it is a social problem – so pursing policies to encourage “social cohesion” will help avoid future terrorism.

As similar and cohesive as the people of Russia and Ukraine were, it has taken no time at all to turn them into bitter enemies as the result of Putin’s decision to invade. Peaceful, law-abiding Russian people living cohesively in New Zealand have suddenly found themselves the targets of abuse and threats.

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