Atrocity by white supremacist extremists is emerging as arguably the premier domestic-terrorist threat in an increasing number of Western countries. It's no exaggeration to say white nationalist violence has become a global terror threat.
The Guardian reported Sunday, in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that more than 175 people around the world have been killed in the past eight years in at least 16 high-profile attacks motivated by white supremacists. The targets of these attacks include Muslim worshippers, people of colour, and left-wing politicians and activists in the US, the UK and other Western countries. Many of the white perpetrators or suspects have a strong hatred for immigrants and refugees.
Why is white nationalism surging? What has driven the rising hostility and violence toward those deemed "outsiders" - whether because of their religion, skin color or national origin?
Indeed, white nationalism has a long history in Western countries. However, recent years have seen more blame placed on immigrants, people of colour and refugees for conundrums of modern life, including growing economic instability, rising inequality and industrial decay. This has added more hostility and intolerance to increasingly multicultural societies like the US.
In the era of globalisation, the international economic landscape has been profoundly changed with new emerging economies beginning to dominate the global economy. The living standards of low-class whites have been declining in recent years, which is the fault of improper domestic policies in dealing with new economic situations. However, some Westerners simply blame globalization and waves of immigrants. The fundamental reason for the resurgence in white nationalism is that they have failed to adapt to the changing global situation and face up to the domestic problems caused by those changes.
The internet and social media have played an important role in allowing white nationalists to spread hate and xenophobic views. Social media is criticized for serving as a conduit for hate speech and as a recruitment tool for white supremacist groups, but there is no effective way to curb it.
The swelling scourge of white nationalism and terrorism to further it have become obvious. Worryingly, there is still no sign that it will slow down. It's difficult for different races, religions and cultures to achieve harmonious coexistence. The spectre of white nationalism has made it even more difficult for Western countries to achieve racial unity and peaceful coexistence among religions and cultures. Western countries often point their fingers at non-Western countries over racial and religious issues. But they haven't paid enough attention to their own problems.
Can Western countries work out a solution to prevent the spectre of white nationalism further dividing their societies? That's whether the West can stop its decline. Social division will accelerate Western decline. So far, it seems that Western countries can't find a way to solve its problems. They are not able to make themselves great again in an expansionist and aggressive way as they have done before, nor can they stop the flow of immigrants caused by globalisation. Western societies will unfortunately become more divided in the future.