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Terrorism, the Future, and U.S. Foreign Policy

NCJ Number
Raphael F. Perl
Date Published
20 pages
This issue brief reviews terrorist threats and U.S. policy response.
International terrorism threatens U.S. foreign and domestic security and comprises a broad range of U.S. foreign policy goals. This issue brief examined emerging international terrorist threats and the U.S. policy response. Available policy options range from diplomacy, international cooperation, and constructive engagement to economic sanctions, covert action, physical security enhancement, and military force. Dramatic events, such as the U.S.S. Cole, Oklahoma City, World Trade Center, and U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as the Tokyo subway gas attack, have brought the issue of terrorism to the forefront of American public interest. These specific events raise questions concerning U.S. preparation for a new brand of terrorist: one who does not work for any established organization and who is not an agent of any particular state sponsor, yet has access to the most lethal weaponry. This issue brief included information on: the most recent developments in the United States to combat terrorism; background and analysis of terrorism; definitions of international terrorism; U.S. policy response to international terrorism; dilemmas involved in the desire to combat terrorism; policy tools the U.S. Government has employed to combat international terrorism (diplomacy/constructive engagement, economic sanctions, covert action, the rewards for information program, extradition/law enforcement cooperation, military force, and international conventions); potential tools that could be employed to confront terrorism (an international Court of Terrorism and media self-restraint); and actions by the Congress and U.S. commissions to develop a counterterrorism policy. The issue brief also included information on the chain of command on anti-terrorism planning, various programs designed to combat international terrorism--the Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, assistance to victims programs, the Counter-Terrorism Research and Development Program, and the Diplomatic Security Program. The final section contained information on state-supported terrorism, countries that support terrorists (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Cuba, and North Korea), and adding and removing countries to the list. Suggestions have also been made concerning the utility of drawing Congress’ attention to countries that do not currently qualify for inclusion in the terrorism list but where added scrutiny may be warranted (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Yemen, Chechnya, and nations of the former Yugoslavia).