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Confronting Terrorisms: Group Motivation and Successful State Policies

by Gregory D. Miller, Department of Political Science, University of Oklahoma Norman, OK, USA.

Much of the recent debate among policymakers and in recent scholarship focuses on how states should respond to terrorism: whether they should use harsh policies to punish terrorists and thus deter future acts, or concentrate on root causes and reduce incentives to use terrorism. Often ignored in this discussion are the characteristics that distinguish terrorist groups from one another, and that influence the effectiveness of a state’s actions. This article examines group motivation—national-separatism, revolution, reaction, or religion—as one key trait, and finds that these different ‘‘terrorisms’’ do affect the relative success of various counterterrorist policies.

Keywords: coercion, conciliation, counterterrorism, reputation

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