Tag Archives: Terrorism

How politically effective is terrorism?

September 13, 2013 by

Why do some mil­i­tant groups con­tinue to use ter­rorism when it’s polit­i­cally inef­fec­tive, even coun­ter­pro­duc­tive? The answer lies in their lead­er­ship deficits, according to Max Abrahms, a ter­rorism the­o­rist and newly appointed assis­tant pro­fessor of polit­ical sci­ence whose research over the last decade has thor­oughly exam­ined the question.

“Foot sol­diers are gen­er­ally not as smart as their leaders and have fewer incen­tives against harming civil­ians,” he explained. “When they gain tac­tical autonomy within the orga­ni­za­tion, they become more likely to commit the strategic folly of tar­geting civilians.”

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