In a series of papers published on Thursday, the authors of the study, published in the journal Law and Politics, have identified some of the potential barriers to effective counterterrorism efforts in the United States.
The paper, “The politics of terrorism in the 21st century”, was authored by Christopher Wren and Thomas B. Stearns, both of Stanford University’s law and political science departments.
The authors argued that while counterterrorism policies in the U.S. are often characterized by the “law and order” label, they are actually riddled with political considerations and have little in common with actual policing practices.
“Terrorism is political,” they write.
“Terrorism does not work as a strategy to deter, detect, or stop a crime.
Terrorism is the means to an end.
And we have to confront the reality of terrorism before we can begin to understand its effects.”
The authors, who are all professors at the law and politics department, argue that while there is a strong relationship between terrorism and crime, there is no “national security” rationale for a law enforcement response to terrorism.
“What is more, the political rationale for counterterrorism, which the authors believe is central to the law enforcement state, is increasingly being challenged by a growing body of evidence that terrorism is not just a threat to U. S. security but can be a useful tool for destabilizing governments, disrupting trade, and promoting extremist ideology,” the authors write.
For example, they note that in the 2016 presidential election, “Trump won the support of a significant proportion of the American electorate for his calls for an expanded war on terror”.
In the study’s conclusion, the two authors suggest that policymakers must start examining what exactly the U,S.
political system is doing to combat terrorism, and what the effects are on the overall U.K. political landscape.
“We argue that we need to rethink how we think about terrorism as a policy,” they conclude.