The Aftermath of the Achille Lauro

by Brian Michael Jenkins

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This paper, an abbreviated version of which appeared in the Los Angeles Times on October 27, 1985, discusses mistakes in diplomacy made by the U.S. government following the capture of the four hijackers of the Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, and the subsequent demands for their extradition. The author suggests that these actions may have done more to damage relationships with Italy and Egypt, both important allies on whom the United States will continue to depend for intelligence, for negotiations, for bases, and for support in rescue efforts or operations against terrorists. He cautions that the capture of the hijackers of the Achille Lauro is one victory in the probably unending war against terrorism, and suggests that the United States assure its allies that in future antiterrorist efforts, it will act in concert with them, that it will be precise in its military actions, and considerate in its diplomacy.

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