The Psychology of Terrorism: Programs and Practices in Response and Prevention - Vol. 4

By Chris E. Stout | Go to book overview

3

Countering International Terrorism: Perspectives from International Psychology

John M. Davis

I believe in the power of love in interpersonal relations, but love directed toward the missile or the distant anonymous human being pushing the button would be useless. The alternative, therefore, once diplomacy and other steps short of violence fail to destroy or end the evil, is either submission to it or a reluctant use of force and violence to destroy it.

Max M. Kampelman (1991, p. 377)

The focus of this chapter is on understanding and predicting the development of international terrorist activities through the perspective of international psychology. This chapter is written with full awareness that much information that would be helpful and relevant in countering terrorism is not accessible to the scholar. Both the terrorist organizations and the intelligence organizations responsible for countering terrorism depend heavily on secrecy for their effectiveness. So the scholar has to work without access to much important information. A further difficulty is that the scholarly work of developed societies, because it is public, is accessible to both the intelligence organizations and the terrorist organizations. In addition, in an open society, as opposed to a police state, the terrorist has access to targets and many resources that can be turned to destructive use. Because of these obstacles, the task of the researcher seems like a balancing act. This is the challenge that faces us today. It is not a new problem, even though the world in general has become aware of terrorism only within the last year and terrorism is now a byword in the

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