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Abstract

Summarizes the most policy-relevant findings and conclusions from nine years of RAND research on terrorism. The government faces complex issues in developing effective anti-terrorist policies and capabilities. These issues include (1) the trends in hostage-taking; (2) the interaction between policy in hostage situations and overall policy on terrorism; (3) the implications of countering terrorist action with force; and (4) the future threat of terrorism. Having discussed these issues, the report recommends means of developing effective long-term strategies against terrorism and improving the U.S. response to terrorist incidents. It suggests that flexible-response policy may be more appropriate than a fixed-response policy in dealing with individual terrorist actions but that the United States should adopt a firm, consistent overall policy to fight terrorism. It stresses the essential role of international agreements in containing terrorism and urges the U.S. government to enlist other nations' cooperation in establishing such agreements.

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