Walter Laqueur, "The New Terrorism

Posted By: Alexpal

Walter Laqueur, "The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction"
Oxford University Press | ISBN 0195140648 | 2000 Year | PDF | 2 Mb | 320 Pages

The use of violence to achieve political goals stretches all the way back to biblical times, and Walter Laqueur outlines its long practice in these pages. Yet his main concern is with the 21st-century threat of "megaterrorism": "What we know about past ages of barbarism is frightening enough," he writes. "The consequences of aggressive madness in the age of high technology and the era of weapons of mass destruction may well be beyond our imagination." Along the way, he offers a fascinating sociology of terrorism; its practitioners, for instance, tend to come from the educated middle classes (although this is far from a hard-and-fast rule). Also, terrorists rarely believe their actions will allow them to seize political power. Instead, they aim to provoke specific responses from their targets, such as lighting an international conflict. Although it is hardly a how-to book, The New Terrorism describes what it takes for terrorism to succeed--Laqueur's list of essentials includes careful planning, an ability to improvise, small units of operation, the anonymity of large urban areas, and ready sources of money. The book is full of rich observations, and there probably isn't a more knowledgeable source on the subject than Laqueur, who has written several books on European and Middle Eastern history and military analysis. His mild pessimism is troubling, but perhaps warranted. Terrorism is about to become even more terrible.