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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines international terrorism, defined as the use or threatened use of violence by a nonstate actor to arouse fear in a population with the goal of achieving a political or social outcome. The chapter begins by providing an overview of the changing role of international terrorism in U.S. national security policy, and then presents various scholarly approaches applied to understanding the causes of terrorism. The next section discusses counterterrorism strategies, focusing on the relative effectiveness of repressive versus conciliatory instruments and targeted versus indiscriminate approaches to countering terror. The chapter ends with a summary of lessons learned and recommendations for those involved in shaping U.S. counterterrorism policy.

Keywords: terrorism, counterterrorism, political violence, national security, international security, intra-state conflict

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