Taming Terrorism, It’s Been Done Before

Mar 10, 2005

Edited by Anna Reid, Foreword by Charles Guthrie

The second in a series of Policy Exchange publications that draw from past experience in analysing how best to tackle foreign policy challenges today. The first, Regime Change, looked at state-building efforts abroad; Taming Terrorism does the same with terrorist movements, from the Boxer rebels to Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo cult.

Case studies by five distinguished academics come to some expected and unexpected conclusions: that security agencies must learn to look forwards rather than back; that the countries most likely to under-fund their security agencies are those with a history of militarism; that tough anti-terrorism legislation is hard to sustain; and that economic growth often does more than political reform to tackle terrorism’s root causes. Military occupation of terrorist-producing territories only succeeds if armies are held accountable for their actions, and political wrangling and bureaucratic bungles can allow even a tiny, unpopular group to survive for decades.

Taming Terrorism reminds us that despite al-Qaeda’s global reach and use of modern technology, today’s global struggle is not unprecedented. We have beaten similar groups before and can do so again.

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