Military responses to state-sponsored terrorism : re-thinking deterrence and coercion theory
Bellon, Timothy E.
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The face of conflict is changing. The breakup of the former Soviet Union has changed the balance of power from a bi-polar world to a uni-polar one. This change in the world's power structure has presented the United States with new challenges. The purpose of this thesis is to explore one of these challenges, state-sponsored terrorism, and the range of military responses that might be used to deter states from sponsoring terrorism or coercing states into ceasing their sponsorship. This thesis uses conventional deterrence and coercion theory, as well as comparative case studies to analyze the utility of deterrence and coercion against state-sponsored terrorism. In doing so a framework that can be applied to state sponsors of terrorism was developed to determine if a strategy of deterrence or coercion could alter a state's behavior. The findings of this thesis suggest that a determined coercive strategy is more likely to work against state-sponsored terrorism than a strategy of deterrence. Finally, the thesis provides a model, a taxonomy of coercion that recommends using lethal and non-lethal options in overt and covert operations as the means to modify the behavior of states that sponsor terrorism.
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