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Research Report

Terrorism Against Democracy: Based in Part on Stansfield Turner’s University of Maryland Course, “Terrorism & Democracy”

M. Merrick Yamamoto
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2017
Pages: 292
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Table of Contents


    • (pp. 1-22)

      Terrorism is a form of political violence; that is, violence used for a political purpose. “Political” can be described as “concerned with government, the State, or politics,” and political violence is used to try to obtain some kind of political change, or to prevent political change.

      Political violence is a large category that includes such actions as war, civil war, military strikes, insurrection, ethnic conflict, genocide, state terror, and terrorism (Fig. 1–1). All forms of political violence are methods of struggle that can be used alone or with other methods to pursue political goals.

      The borders between forms of...

    • (pp. 23-55)

      How does terrorism elicit responses from third-party targets? The control of terrorism requires comprehending key aspects of terrorism. These aspects of terrorism can be addressed as answers to the questions below:

      What “mechanisms” are involved in trying to elicit particular responses from governments, groups, organizations, populations, and the media? How do these mechanisms “operate”?

      Why do terrorist attacks have such a strong impact on third-parties and elicit such disproportional responses? What is the “leverage of terrorism”? What is the source of this leverage?

      Has terrorism been effective in achieving terrorists’ goals? Who controls whether or not terrorism advances the attackers’...

    • (pp. 56-70)

      What is the cause of terrorism? What kinds of causes of terrorism have been proposed, and are they accurate? Are terrorists rational?

      What is the threat that terrorism poses? How serious a threat is terrorism? How does the threat from terrorism compare to other threats? Does terrorism pose a threat beyond the destruction that the attacks cause? How is the threat determined? How do terrorists determine how much damage they intend to do in an attack? This chapter addresses these kinds of questions.

      The cause of terrorism is the decision to use terrorism as a method to pursue a goal....


    • (pp. 71-118)

      How should governments, populations, organizations, the media, and other third-party targets respond to terrorist attacks? As shown in Fig. 4–1, two important areas of third-party responses are actions aimed at the attackers, and actions pertaining to the demands the attackers make and the political goals they are seeking.

      The most immediate priority is for third-parties to maintain control of their responses. By controlling their responses, third-parties can respond more effectively to attacks and avoid acting on impulses that can harm themselves and help terrorists. Third-parties can identify the emotions, impulses, and actions that terrorists are trying to elicit, and...

    • (pp. 119-138)

      The prevention of terrorism lies primarily in the three steps of Phase I: measures pertaining to the attacker, the means of violence, and the targets of violence. To prevent terrorism, third-party actions can address each of the three areas. As can be seen in Phase I, third-parties can take actions to deter and dissuade potential attackers, control the means of violence, and protect potential targets of violence (Fig. 5–1).

      The prevention of terrorism involves both proactive and defensive measures. Protecting potential targets of violence, and controlling the means of violence, involve measures of a more defensive nature, whereas measures...

    • (pp. 139-146)

      The control and prevention of terrorism lies primarily in the actions of governments, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, the public, and the media. Governments and intergovernmental organizations in particular can develop and then execute a comprehensive, sustained counterterrorism strategy.

      Four steps can help governments and intergovernmental organizations develop a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy. These steps are to comprehend terrorism, conduct threat assessments, develop policy on how to counter the threat, and develop a counterterrorism strategy to execute the policy.

      The first step in developing a strategy to control terrorism is to comprehend the phenomenon—to understand what terrorism is, how it operates,...