Deterrence and Influence in Counterterrorism

Deterrence and Influence in Counterterrorism: A Component in the War on al Qaeda

Paul K. Davis
Brian Michael Jenkins
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 109
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1619darpa
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  • Book Info
    Deterrence and Influence in Counterterrorism
    Book Description:

    It may not be possible to deter fanatical terrorists, but members of terrorist systems may be amenable to influence. The U.S. counterterrorism strategy should therefore include political warfare, placing at risk things the terrorists hold dear, a credible threat of force against states or groups that support acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, and maintaining cooperation with other nations engaged in the war on terror, while also preserving core American values.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3406-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. FIGURES AND TABLES
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. SUMMARY
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-2)

    Our initial goal in this study was to describe a framework for understanding how best to deter terrorists, particularly extremists targeting the United States and its interests.¹ More specifically, we were asked to identify those things that terrorists—in particular, members of al Qaeda—hold dear and, in turn, how the United States could place such things at risk. The work stemmed from a perceived need to supplement ongoing efforts to attack terrorists directly and to defend against their attacks. During the Cold War, the United States benefited greatly from having a well-developed and broadly understood theory of nuclear deterrence,...

  8. Chapter Two BACKGROUND: WHY DETERRING TERRORISTS IS SO DIFFICULT
    (pp. 3-8)

    This chapter and a companion report (Jenkins, 2002) examine why deterring terrorism is so difficult.¹ The discussion addresses motivations, the mismatch with de facto U.S. policy, the unique characteristics of people involved in terrorist activities, the long-standing traditions of violence within the Greater Middle East, and the fact that terrorists vary greatly in character, which means that no one approach will apply across the board.

    The difficulties of dealing with terrorism have not always been apparent to Americans because prior to September 11, 2001, the United States was perceived as virtually invulnerable. The difficulties have been more apparent to America’s...

  9. Chapter Three PRINCIPLES FOR INFLUENCING TERRORISTS
    (pp. 9-30)

    This chapter looks at principles for developing a framework for analyzing deterrence and influence. Most of the principles relate to increasing the range of ways to counter al Qaeda (and terrorism more generally). They deal with (1) broadening the concept of deterrence to encompass influence, (2) approaching terrorist organizations as complex systems, (3) finding situations where influencemaywork (rather than becoming easily discouraged), (4) conducting a broad-front attack, and (5) developing a persuasive, high-minded strategy that can be sustained for years.

    Our study of what terrorists hold dear and how the United States could deter terrorism by placing those...

  10. Chapter Four BROAD ISSUES OF STRATEGY
    (pp. 31-38)

    In this chapter, we discuss certain cross-cutting considerations that should play a major role in U.S. counterterrorism strategy, including its influence component. They are not so much controversial as they are unappreciated (controversial topics are the subject of Chapter Five). The items we mention here relate to counterterrorism strategy generally, not just to influence.

    As mentioned in the previous chapter, the war on al Qaeda should be a deliberate broad-front attack. It is already that in practice, but the rationale for sustaining this approach is less established and troubles are certain because such a strategy requires relating the efforts of...

  11. Chapter Five SOME CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
    (pp. 39-58)

    In this chapter we address a discrete set of controversial topics: (1) deterring acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction¹ (WMD); (2) political warfare; (3) threatening the things that the terrorists hold dear; (4) challenges in U.S.-Saudi relations; (5) the Pakistan problem; (6) balancing U.S. interests in enlisting regional allies, maintaining stability, and promoting democracy; and (7) the feasibility of maintaining American values during a war against al Qaeda.

    Deterring acquisition and use of WMD is profoundly important and difficult. Terrorists appear to have grandiose intentions, and some have intense interest in such weapons. Moreover, they may believe that...

  12. Chapter Six CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
    (pp. 59-62)

    It could be argued that September 11 was a colossal failure of deterrence. Although we have very little knowledge of al Qaeda’s decisionmaking, we know that its leaders characterized the United States as weak, ineffective, and vulnerable (Schachter, 2002); and it seriously contemplated “defeating” the United States—forcing it to withdraw from the land of Muhammad and causing it great trouble by damaging the U.S. economy. Since September 11, there has been no public evidence to suggest that al Qaeda has been deterred by subsequent events. Is this surprising? Not really. History tells us that terrorists of this ilk seem...

  13. Appendix A COLD WAR CONCEPTS OF DETERRENCE
    (pp. 63-66)
  14. Appendix B SELECTED DEFINITIONS
    (pp. 67-68)
  15. Appendix C METHODS FOR ANALYZING COUNTERTERRORISM IN A COMPLEX ADAPTIVE SYSTEM
    (pp. 69-72)
  16. Appendix D ADAPTING THE CONSTRUCTS OF EFFECTS-BASED PLANNING
    (pp. 73-76)
  17. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 77-84)
  18. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
    (pp. 85-86)