Risk Analysis

Strategic Alternative Responses to Risks of Terrorism

Journal Article

The terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 were a wake‐up call for changing our traditional response to risks of terrorism. Given that government and worldwide think‐tank organizations maintain that risks of terrorism will continue for the indefinite future, the following questions deserve strategic answers. How long can we respond to terrorism with tactical measures only, sustain current curtailments of some of our freedoms, travel, and quality of life, and absorb losses in human life and properties? Should not underlying strategic motivation lead to the tactical measures? Why do so many groups and individuals in some developing countries hate us? Is it because they fear that the ideas we export through television, movies, literature, and music have a corrupting influence on their cultures? Is it because of past operations that we conducted in such countries as Iran, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Granada? Can the genesis of the risks of terrorism to the homeland be traced to the unfavorable socioeconomic conditions in less‐privileged and developing countries, where civil and religious freedoms are close to nonexistent, and sanitary conditions, health and education, and critical infrastructures of essential utilities are almost at the same level that existed in the United States almost a century ago? If we could make progress at improving the quality of life of the billions of people in the developing countries and become more sensitive to their needs, cultures, and heritage, would their hatred subside? What other measures can we take to reduce their hatred, without compromising our basic cultural and democratic principles or their cultural and social heritage?

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