Counterterrorism and the State: Western Responses to 9/11

Counterterrorism and the State: Western Responses to 9/11

Counterterrorism and the State: Western Responses to 9/11

Counterterrorism and the State: Western Responses to 9/11

Synopsis

Dorle Hellmuth argues that the nature of state responses to terrorism is shaped by the particular governmental framework and process within which counterterrorism measures are decided. Using four Western democracies as case studies, Hellmuth measures effects of government structures on counterterrorism decision-making processes and outcomes. In doing so, she examines how similar or different the responses have been in four parliamentary and presidential systems, and clears up common misperceptions about domestic counterterrorism efforts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Each of Hellmuth's four case studies reviews the official constitutional powers and informal relationships between executive and legislative branches, outlines decision-making processes leading to counterterrorism policies and reforms since 9/11, and summarizes how structural factors influenced those processes. By measuring and comparing structural effects, and by going beyond the common U.S. and British focus to include counterterrorism decision-making in Germany and France, Hellmuth shows that there are important similarities between those governments designed to constrain executive power (Germany and the United States) and those that facilitate executive power (France and Great Britain). Her analysis further demonstrates that in presidential systems executive and legislative branches have incentives to produce a steady stream of reforms, that presidents have more opportunities than leaders of parliamentary systems to expand their unilateral powers during times of crisis, and that choices designed to strengthen presidential positions influence the direction, nature, and scope of institutional reform.

Understanding the nature, scope, and trends of national decision-making processes in Western democracies, Hellmuth contends, is imperative to identifying new mechanisms for containing transnational terrorist networks beyond national borders.

Excerpt

The post-9/11 era continues to raise questions about how to manage transnational security threats directed against Western liberal democracies like the United States, Germany, Great Britain, and France. As Jihadi terrorism has been catapulted to the forefront of states’ security agendas, national governments have had to find new political and legal instruments to detect and counter these threats. This book posits that the nature of countries’ responses is shaped by the particular governmental framework and process within which counterterrorism measures are decided. Understanding the nature, scope, and trends of national decision-making processes in Western democracies is imperative to identifying new mechanisms for containing transnational terrorist networks beyond national borders.

The purpose of this book is to examine how political structures, both horizontal and vertical, affect processes and policy outcomes in liberal democracies. In particular, it tries to understand counterterrorism responses in each of four countries by examining variations among presidential and parliamentary systems and various degrees of federalization and centralization in the United States (presidential and federal), France (semipresidential and unitary), Great Britain (parliamentary and unitary), and Germany (parliamentary and federal). The two central research questions this book focuses on are how government structures influence counterterrorism policies in these Western democracies and how similar or different the responses have been on both sides of the Atlantic.

The examination of government structures places this book at the center of an ongoing debate about the domestic sources of foreign policy/ national security. Specifically, scholars of world politics disagree about the level of analysis in foreign policy/national security decision-making processes. One school of thought has focused on how different domestic governmental structures produce variations in decision-making processes and the . . .

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