To what extent is terrorism a successful military strategy for achieving political objectives?

Authors Avatar

Yvette Ighorue

To what extent is terrorism a successful military strategy for achieving political objectives? (use at least two examples)

  1. Problem

The issues here are whether terrorism is a military strategy, and if so, whether it is successful. The problems associated with these issues includes

  • Identifying military strategies, and judging whether terrorism as a military strategy is successful.  
  • Discovering the criterias for a successful military strategy.
  • Ensuring that a clear distinction between terrorist and non-terrorist acts is made, as most terrorists view their acts, as carrying out a military operation.
  • Deciding whether terrorism is a successful military strategy in achieving its political objectives.

  1. Its significance

The issues mentioned in section one are significant in the study of terrorism in International relations because they

  • Would provide a connection between military means and political ends.
  • Are associated with horror and violence, which fascinate humans.
  • Would allow an understanding of the nature of terrorism, which would make it more probable that countering it would not compromise democratic freedom, and also enable a more accurate security agenda for countering it.
  • Would enable a correct evaluation of the rationality of terrorist acts,
  • They affect important issues such as arms control, nuclear weapons, technology, military, human rights and the economy.
  • Would allow a further understanding of the concept of terror and terrorism and also allow an examination of their relationship to other forms of civil, military, political violence and to criminal behaviour.
  • Would make contemporary terrorism less threatening and dangerous.
  • Would enable an understanding of whether it is a threat to the international system especially security and whether it is a new phenomenon.

  1. Methodology

The objectives of this case study is to access the extent in which terrorism is a successful military strategy. To achieve these objectives

  • The definition of strategy would be examined. As this would first be needed to see whether terrorism is a strategy. Special attention would be paid to Clausewitz’s theory on strategy, as he has haled to understand the nature of violence, and his theories are relevant today. To achieve this, I will go over my lecture notes on Clausewitz and also read Peter Paret’s book called Makers of  modern Strategy. Doing that would allow me. They would allow me to examine Clausewitz’s theory of Strategy of war and how it relates to terrorism.
  • The criterias for a successful military strategy would be considered, as it would enable a correct assessment of the extent to which its criterias are met by terrorism. I would achieve this by assessing Colin Gray and  John Baylis et al’s  book called Modern Strategy and Strategy in the Contemporary World. Reading those books would allow an understanding of both the nature and the situations in which strategy could successfully be used.
  • The aims and objectives of terrorism would be assessed. I would do this by reading several articles especially that, written by Martha Crenshaw titled The Cause of Terrorism and also read Michael Stohl’ book called The Politics of Terrorism. Reading them would allow me to examine the success of terrorism, as I would be looking at the aims of terrorism and examining the situations where they are achieved paying special attention to cases like the PLO in Palestine, ETA in  Spain, FLN in Algeria and Al Quida in America.
  • A Comparison between terrorism and other military strategies like interstate wars, guerrilla warfare, and civil wars, would be made. This would enable a clear picture of the extent to which terrorism is successful.  I would achieve this by going over the books on strategy that were mentioned earlier, looking at their aims, and finally deciding which is a more successful military strategy.
Join now!

  1. Analysis
  1.   The definition of Strategy

According to Clausewitz who was one of the fathers of contemporary strategic thought, strategy is the use or threat of force for political ends. Strategy is concerned with understanding and explaining the military element of international relations, by studying the relationship between ends and means. According to this definition, terrorism could be considered as military strategy as it is sometimes used to fulfil political objectives, which may be to promote awareness for their cause or to gain independence, as are the cases with the PLO in Palestine, FLN in Algeria and ETA ...

This is a preview of the whole essay