Terrorism is a drive for power, and it is about politics. Motives and circumstances of each act vary, but inevitably there is strong political content. Terrorism can and must be analyzed by citizens, policy-makers, and students of the social sciences. We can examine it in ways that include: its indigenous and external sources; its declared or implied objectives; its strategies; its operational patterns; the tactics of its attacks, etc. This course may raise good questions about how we should weigh terrorism in the balance of other U.S. security and foreign policy issues. But the course does not venture deeply into counterterrorism — which is covered in a successor course (IWP 669).
This course on terrorism opens discussions of international dimensions of terrorism and its associated transnational patterns and problems, often from the perspective of U.S. foreign policy and security interests. The opening sessions offer much history. Then, most of the course emphasizes the recent and the current in its selections of events, source materials, questions, and challenges.