International Relations

GOVT 85.27

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Course Description:

Terrorism has long posed a security challenge to governments around the world, though for much of the last century, policymakers viewed it as a problem of secondary importance. In the last two decades, however, it has become a first tier issue with profound implications for global security and political stability. This course examine key aspects of this changing phenomenon, paying particular attention to the various kinds of organizations, movements and states that have employed terrorism as an instrument for advancing their goals; the different approaches toward violence that they have embraced; the motivations for turning to terrorism; the relative success that these approaches have achieved; and the fate of those who have used terrorist means. The characteristics of terrorist organizations and terrorist violence in any given period depend greatly on the approaches to counterterrorism that states employ. The course will also survey some of the different instruments for conducting a policy of counterterrorism and some of the different approaches nations have adopted toward their terrorist opponents.It is hoped that students will not only master the historical material and analytic perspectives under discussion but also become acquainted with the constraints under which policymakers work as they grapple with the terrorist challenge.