Chapter 2: Using Deterrence Against Terrorism
PREDOMINANCE OF COERCIVE ANTI-TERROR POLICY Governments may react to terrorism in two basic ways: 1. Using the ‘stick’: This coercive approach works with using negative sanctions, mostly by employing military and police enforcement. Persons undertaking terrorist acts are severely punished either by killing them or by putting them in prison, possibly after torturing them. This response is based on immediate and strong retribution and addresses the most urgent problems created by a terrorist attack. The response is ‘re-active’ in so far as it is incident-related, dealing with terrorist attacks that have already taken place. Using the ‘carrot’: Actual and potential terrorists are given positive incentives to desist from their violent activities by providing them with superior alternatives, but also by reducing the beneﬁts they derive from terrorist acts. This approach seeks to address the root causes of terrorism. It considers reforms addressing the grievances of the terrorists and is directed at prevention or long-term reform. It is ‘pro-active’, in so far as it identiﬁes newly emerging political conﬂicts possibly leading to terrorism. 2. The two basic types of approach suggest diﬀerent policies open to governments and imply diﬀerent beneﬁts and costs, both to the terrorists and to the governments undertaking the policies. A deterrent response, involving the use of military force, is likely to be accompanied by higher budgetary costs. A policy based on oﬀering terrorists alternatives may seem to be cheap in comparison, but may create political costs to the government, as...
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