The Strategy of Terrorism
How it Works, and Why it Fails
Published October 18th 2007 by Routledge – 144 pages
Series: Contemporary Terrorism Studies
This is the first book to set out a comprehensive framework by which to understand terrorism as strategy. It contends that even terrorism of the supposedly nihilist variety can be viewed as a bona fide method for distributing means to fulfil the ends of policy, that is, as a strategy.
The main purpose of the work is to describe the dynamics of terrorism and evaluate their effectiveness, as well as to theorize upon, and clarify the correlation between, political ends and terrorist means. The text explains the modus operandi of terrorism, and demonstrates how terrorism relies on manipulating the psychological impact of (usually) relatively small-scale attacks. Using a variety of case studies, The Strategy of Terrorism shows how many campaigns of terrorism end in failure when they lose their power to terrify. The authors spell out what a proper understanding of terrorism as a strategy implies for those who want to make terrorism ineffective, and offer a number of policy recommendations derived directly from their critique.
This is the first contribution of strategic studies to the study of terrorism, and will be of much interest to students of terrorism, strategy and security studies, as well as military professionals and policy makers.
1. Introduction 2. Terrorism and Strategic Theory 3. The Strategy of Terrorism 4. Flawed Assumptions 5. The Escalation Trap 6. Conclusion
Peter R. Neumann is Director of the Centre for Defence Studies, King's College London.
M. L. R. Smith is Reader in War Studies, Department of War Studies, King’s College London.