NO END TO WAR: Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century

Walter Laqueur, Author . Continuum $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8264-1435-9

One of the West's leading scholars of terrorism, author of The New Terrorism and other titles, takes on the vexing questions about its origins and manifestations and provides a lot to chew on along the way. Laqueur, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., is at his strongest in relating the history of terrorism and how the motivations underlying such violence have changed. At the end of the 19th century, he writes, secular leftists in Russia aimed at overthrowing that regime and their targets were limited in number; the range of victims became much wider beginning in the 1970s. Laqueur also emphasizes a range of causes of terror, such as the incompetence of Arab governments and a desire to use Israel as a scapegoat for Arab problems. (Israel, he thinks, should give back the West Bank and Gaza Strip to help its own democracy, not because it would eliminate one excuse for Arab and Muslim fury.) Laqueur also ridicules some media outlets for refusing to call a spade a spade, referring to terrorists as militants or using other euphemisms. Unfortunately, his reasoning can sometimes be hard to follow. On the one hand, he argues that poverty and Western policies do not cause terrorism, but elsewhere he says that if the world were less economically inequitable, there would likely be less terrorism. In an appendix, the author states that while a definition of terrorism is impossible, the vast majority of us know it when we see it. Some may find it difficult to share his certainty. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/14/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-8264-1656-8
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