INFLUENCE AND DESTRUCTION: MODES OF VIOLENCE, MILLENNIALISM AND THE IMPACT OF CONSTRAINT
Blanken, Leo J.
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Though conventional methods of conducting terrorist attacks continue to be a highly effective way for violent non-state actors to achieve their goals, technological uncertainty drives a debate regarding the impacts of emerging technology on the modes of violence these actors will employ in the future. This is indicative of a potential puzzle, in that there is little predictive capability regarding which groups may seek to adopt technologies that are becoming available due to increasingly easy means of adoption. Previous work indicates a continuum of violence perpetuated by violent non-state actors that ranges from those that conduct limited acts of violence to the less constrained actors who may seek to carry out acts of mass destruction. Research into the less constrained groups suggests that, regardless of constraints, the more successful violent non-state actors gauge the level of violence needed to communicate their threat and avoid enemy overreaction while operating within the constraints set by their constituencies. Furthermore, the case studies contained herein suggest that, unless there is a preference for specific types of technology inherent to a group’s narrative, the actors will not necessarily reach for emerging technologies even when they decide to escalate the destructiveness of their attacks.
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