The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction

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The destruction of the World Trade Towers demonstrates the horrifying consequences of a terrorist strike. But as technological advances make weapons of mass destruction frighteningly easy to acquire, a revolution is occurring in the very nature of terrorism--one that may make these attacks look like child's play.
In The New Terrorism Walter Laqueur, one of the foremost experts on terrorism and international strategic affairs, recounts the history of terrorism and, more ...
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Overview


The destruction of the World Trade Towers demonstrates the horrifying consequences of a terrorist strike. But as technological advances make weapons of mass destruction frighteningly easy to acquire, a revolution is occurring in the very nature of terrorism--one that may make these attacks look like child's play.
In The New Terrorism Walter Laqueur, one of the foremost experts on terrorism and international strategic affairs, recounts the history of terrorism and, more importantly, examines the future of terrorist activity worldwide. Laqueur traces the chilling trend away from terrorism perpetrated by groups of oppressed nationalists and radicals seeking political change to small clusters of fanatics bent on vengeance and simple destruction. Coinciding with this trend is the alarming availability of weapons of mass destruction. Chemical and biological weapons are cheap and relatively easy to make or buy. Even nuclear devices are increasingly feasible options for terrorists. And with the information age, cyber terrorism is just around the corner. Laqueur argues that as a new quasi-religious extreme right rises, with more personal and less ideological motivations than their left-wing counterparts, it is only a matter of time before the attainability of weapons of mass destruction creates a terrifying and unstable scenario.
From militant separatism in Kashmir to state-sponsored extremism in Libya and ecoterrorism in the West, The New Terrorism offers a thorough account of terrorism in all its past and current manifestations. Most importantly, it casts a sober eye to the future, when the inevitable marriage of technology and fanaticism will give us all something new to think about.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One of the better accounts of post-Cold War terrorism coming from the "Terrorism Industry"....Laqueur admirably connects current events and personalities with a historical record of terrorism and addresses issues surrounding terrorism sources, motivations, and effects."--Choice

Mackubin Thomas Owens
The New Terrorism is an important book. It makes clear the reason government officials have begun to come to grips with the vulnerabilities of U.S. infrastructure to terrorist attack.
Washington Times
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran historian Laqueur (Fascism: Past, Present, Future, 1996, etc.) muses on the future of terrorism in an age when weapons of mass destruction are a readily available consumer item. Terrorism is nothing new. Fanatical groups have been wreaking havoc from time immemorial. Today two things have changed that together transform terrorism from a "nuisance" to "one of the gravest dangers facing mankind." First terrorists—be they Islamic extremists in the Middle East, ultranationalists in the US, or any number of other possible permutations—seem to have changed from organized groups with clear ideological motives to small clusters of the paranoid and hateful bent on vengeance and destruction for their own sake. There are no longer any moral limitations on what terrorists are willing to do, who and how many they are willing to kill. Second, these unhinged collectivities now have ready access to weapons of mass destruction. The technological skills are not that complex and the resources needed not too rare for terrorists to employ nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons where and when they wish. The consequences of such weapons in the hands of ruthless, rootless fanatics are not difficult to imagine. In addition to the destruction of countless lives, panic can grip any targeted society, unleashing retaliatory action which in turn can lead to conflagrations perhaps on a world scale. To combat such terrorist activities, states may come to rely more and more on dictatorial and authoritarian measures. In short, terrorism in the future may threaten the very foundations of modern civilizations. On all of this, Laqueur is quite convincing. Useful, too, is his elaboration on thenature of the various terrorist threats we face. Yet he too often falls back on questionable, if not offensive, opinion. He asserts, for instance, that in non-Western countries "human lives count for less," and so the danger of terrorism in these countries is greater. This is simply unacceptable doggerel. Useful in pointing out the terrorist danger, but be wary of the author's more outlandish pronouncements.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195118162
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Lexile: 1360L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Walter Laqueur is Co-Chairman, International Research Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is the author of Terrorism, Guerrilla, as well as Fascism and The Dream That Failed (both by OUP).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 3
Terrorism and History 8
Weapons of Mass Destruction 49
Terrorist Motives: Marx, Muhammad, and Armageddon 79
Terror and the Far Right 105
Religion and Terrorism 127
State Terrorism 156
Exotic Terrorism 184
Terrorism and Organized Crime 210
Terrorism Today and Tomorrow 226
Terrorism of the Future 254
Bibliographical Essay 283
Index 301
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