Robert J. Art is professor of international relations at Brandeis University and research associate at Harvard University's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and MIT's Security Studies Program.
Combating terrorism is nothing new for democracies. Over the course of decades, a wide range of democratic states has encountered an array of terrorist groups—and, moreover, has often prevailed against them. As this timely and stimulating volume makes clear, the United States can learn much from fellow democracies to help it in its current war against al Qaeda and affiliated groups.
Democracy and Counterterrorism offers unparalleled breadth in its comparative study of the policies, strategies, and instruments employed in the fight against terrorism. The distinguished contributors—some scholars, some practitioners, and all renowned experts—examine no fewer than fourteen cases, featuring thirteen states and sixteen major terrorist groups. Each case study includes a brief overview, a detailed analysis of the policies and techniques that the government employed, and an assessment of which measures proved most effective and instructive.
The substantial conclusion draws together common threads from the individual cases and asks what lessons their collective experience can offer to the democracies now battling al Qaeda and the global jihadists. Among the answers sure to interest policymakers as well as academics is that the constraints within which democracies must fight terrorism are actually a source of strength; democratic governments that seek simply to obliterate terrorism by force usually succeed only in making their problems worse.
With increasing frequency, U.S. leaders look to achieve their foreign policy goals by marrying diplomacy to military muscle. Since the end of the Cold War, "coercive diplomacy"—the effort to change the behavior of a target state or group through the threat or limited use of military force—has been used in no fewer than eight cases.
But what, exactly, has the concept of coercive diplomacy meant in recent practice? What are coercive diplomacy's objectives? How does it operate? And how well does it work?
To answer these questions, Robert Art and Patrick Cronin have enlisted a distinguished cast of scholars and practitioners to investigate the record of the past twelve years. Each author focuses on one of coercive diplomacy's recent targets, a remarkably diverse group ranging from North Korea to Serbia to the Taliban, from warlords to terrorists to regional superpowers.
As Robert Art makes clear in a groundbreaking conclusion that will give scholars food for thought and policymakers reason to pause, those results have been mixed at best. Art dissects the uneven performance of coercive diplomacy and explains why it has sometimes worked and why it has more often failed.