The less you know: the utility of ambiguity and uncertainty in counter-terrorism
Schumacher, Justin M.
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Terrorism is a complex issue without any clear or simple solutions. Much of the problem space around counterterrorism is amorphous, and most of the vast literature attempting to impose clarity on terrorism studies fails to do so. This thesis takes a different approach by exploring how ambiguity and uncertainty might be leveraged as a tool for Western liberal democracies in the fight against terrorism. Strategies of Cold War nuclear deterrence are examined and specific instances of the advantages of uncertainty are identified. Ambiguity and uncertainty are defined and described in detail, and examples of how they might be used are discussed. This thesis concludes that greater terror threats warrant greater use of strategies employing uncertainty on the part of one’s enemies and oneself.
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