Author Biography

Dr. Andreas M. Bock is Lecturer for Political Theory and Philosophy at the Geschwister-Scholl-Institute of Political Science (GSI) of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) and Lecturer for International Relations Theory at the Munich University of the Federal Armed Forces. German quotes are translated by the author.



Subject Area Keywords

Conflict studies, Counterterrorism, Defense policy, Foreign policy, Terrorism / counterterrorism


"Coercion or negative sanctions are found to have little effect [on terrorism] and, in important instances, are even counterproductive." In other words: fighting terrorism by war is no use, it does not even have a deterrent effect. On the contrary, the employment of massive military power makes it easier for terrorists to justify their attacks, to find broad support, and to recruit new followers. This notwithstanding, I will offer an alternative way to cope with terrorism, using George F. Kennan's concept of containment. This is the link to our effort to effectively fight the terrorist threat: it is a battle too for the loyalties and convictions of people. Usama bin Ladin is not the problem; given the growing threat perception of an Islamic motivated international terrorism, he is just a complication. The problem is a growing willingness to engage in terrorist attacks—even by apparently well integrated and secularly educated immigrants' children of the second generation. The convictions of people constitute the strength of a social movement. And besides its horrific violent aspects, terrorism is a social movement intended to achieve social or political change. Without broad support, terrorism loses its potential.