International Terrorism in the Contemporary World

By Marius H. Livingston; Lee Bruce Kress et al. | Go to book overview
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There is a spectrum of attitudes toward terrorism ranging from paranoia to complacent optimism. Those who are moderate take guidance from the past and reluctantly confess expectation of some continuing terroristic activity.

I reject any pessimistic notion that terroristic forces may shape their own destiny without opposition from the civilized world.

I believe the future for terrorism is, to a meaningful extent, the future ordained for it by the civilized world.

The concept of terrorism seems to escape consensus in definition. Implicit in this difficulty is the realization of its complexity. It does appear, however, that some characteristics of the term have broad recognition.

Many scholars agree that a terroristic act is performed for political objectives, using dramatic techniques of fear and coercion. Others, such as Robert Friedlander, define terrorism as “abominable means used by political fanatics for contemptible ends.”

Our choice of words may differ. Our substantive thought may be at odds. But we can still discuss the concept meaningfully.

In the context of terroristic conduct, our planning for the future must include a range of considerations. Among them, certainly, will be:

1. The creation of environments which minimize the spawning of terroristic behavior.

2. The creation of environments which discourage the occurrence of terrorism.

3. The creation of law-enforcement tactical skills which can effectively manage a terroristic occurrence.

4. The creation of proper criminal codes which not only will intimidate the terroristic impulse, but will also provide the juridical framework within which transgressions can be measured.

5. The creation of a penal system—comprised of both programs and policy—which will administer postjuridical disposition.

This list is far from complete. It suggests subconsideration of philosophy, economics, and political science. Given the difficult nature of terrorism, it is an achievement to form even a tentative analysis. From the outset, the analyst, the international lawyer, the world planner, and the scholar are


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