Is Terrorism Inevitable?: The Immortality of Terrorism
IS TERRORISM INEVITABLE?: THE IMMORTALITY OF TERRORISMJeff Mesadieu, B.A.Dr. R. Nicholas Palarino, Ph.D.ABSTRACTThis thesis is about the "immortality" of terrorism - a looming, transnational threat geared towards the reconfiguration of governments and societies to produce an outcome desirable to those inflicting it. It is merely a "tool," reflecting the norms and laws of the time, which reengineered and redefined the term from generation to generation. One of the primary issues with terrorism is defining it universally, but the more challenging aspect is how to combat a phenomenon that has yet to be defined. Definition comes by the ability to identify a phenomenon - thus, giving the individual, group or nation, the power to engage said phenomenon in the best manner possible. Nevertheless, the journey to defining a phenomenon is a trek in itself. This "trek" - addressed in this thesis - focuses on the arduous task of creating a universal definition that will strengthen counterterrorism efforts of countries and nation-states. More specifically, will a working, universalized definition of terrorism help to curtail terrorist attacks or will it make little to no difference?I will argue that a working, universalized definition of terrorism will cooperatively boost the defenses of all nations threatened by terrorism, strengthen and advance counterterrorism efforts that will disrupt terror plots, and ultimately, the dismantling of terrorist groups. A universal definition may still be subject to the perception of a people or a society, but its applicability will increase the effectiveness in combatting terrorism transnationally, even in how it is perceived relative to the nation. Firstly, in order to establish historical context to this thesis, I will be reviewing scholarly material on terrorism regarding its early transformation into a permanent threat through generations and how the international community has been combatting it. Secondly, I will assess how terrorism is defined internationally (using select nations) in comparison to the United States, the organizations that are focused specifically on terrorism, and how it is engaged, using reports from the United States Government Accountability Office. Thirdly, domestic terrorism within the United States will be highlighted to illustrate that every nation has vulnerabilities and thus, is a target - therefore, it is imperative to continuously improve homeland security. Lastly, to further support my hypothesis, I will utilize databases such as ProQuest Research Library, Academic Search Premier and LexisNexis in order to retrieve national foreign policies of select presidential administrations, examine success and failures of terror plots, and ultimately suggest a definition worth considering to be universalized. Conclusively, through extensive research, I have concluded that terrorism is best engaged by cooperative effort; however, contrasting assessments of how to engage the same issue can be as harmful as it is effective.
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