A Strategy for Combatting Terrorism

by Brian Michael Jenkins

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A discussion of measures required to do something effective about terrorism. For the United States, the problem lies mainly outside its borders and there it is a very serious problem. The United States often has only marginal influence over the policies of other governments and therefore over the outcome of such terrorist incidents abroad in which Americans may be involved. The current U.S. approach emphasizes the need for better intelligence; heavier security; a no-concessions policy; effective management of terrorist incidents; and the creation and use of special antiterrorist military capabilities as a measure of last resort. Because the primary concern is international terrorism, strategy must be aimed at seeking international cooperation. This means identifying, isolating, and ultimately modifying the behavior of those states that support terrorists with training, money, weapons, or asylum, or passively tolerate them. Any effective defense against terrorists must be of an international sort, binding together in common policies and actions nations and governments that often have vastly divergent views on almost anything, including some aspects of terrorism.

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