No End to War: Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century

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9780826414359: No End to War: Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century
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While the destruction of the World Trade Center and the strike against the Pentagon shocked the world at large, experts on terrorism like Walter Laqueur couldn't feign complete surprise. In No End to War, Laqueur, who has devoted three decades to the study of political violence, answers the most-often raised questions about terrorism in the light of 9/11 and the still unsolved Anthrax letters. First, what constitutes terrorism? What is new about the "new" terrorism? Why is the Muslim world the most potent breeding ground of this new terrorism? To what extent is religion itself a factor? Is there a clash of civilizations between the Muslim world and the largely Christian or post-Christian West? Is America at fault? Israel? Did European nations turn a blind eye to terrorists and their sympathizers in their midst? To what extent are poverty and oppression the causes of terrorism? What is the likelihood that terrorists will obtain weapons of mass destruction-chemical, biological, or nuclear? Why was the United States unprepared for 9/11? Why the intelligence failure? Are Islamic terrorists the only terrorists we need to fear? What about other terrorists from the right of the left, ecoterrorists or anti-globalization terrorists? And finally, what is the best defense against terrorism?

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About the Author:

Walter Laqueur holds the Kissinger Chair for International Security Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He is the author of a score of books, including Terrorism,The Age of Terrorism, and The New Terrorism.

Review:

“In this excellent review of terrorism, Dr. Laqueur dispels the conventional belief that poverty and oppression lie at the roots of the Islamist terrorism threatening America and the West. He argues that the Islamists aim at nothing less than the destruction of Western civilization and that they will acquire weapons of mass destruction. Given these stakes, the book is a must read for all Americans concerned with our nation’s security in the 21st century.”—Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, III
Chairman, National Commisssion on Terrorism
Chairman & CEO, Marsh Crisis Consulting

“A Sobering analysis of geopolitics and current events....[by] a longtime, and prescient, student of terrorist movements through history.”–Kirkus
"A long-term student of terrorism, Walter Laqueur has now succinctly and clearly shown how the Islamist Terrorst movement resembles its predecessors and how it differs from them. His analysis of the ideaology of the present-day terrorists explains why they have no qualms about engaging in mass murder, rather than the pinpointed assassinations pracitced by their predecessors. As Laqueur points out, the present-day terrorists are fanatics commited to the destruction of a social order built on individual freedom and democracy." —Richard Schifter, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State

"(Laqueur) is at his strongest in relating the history of terrorism and how the motivations underlying such violence have changed."—Publishers Weekly

"Walter Laqueur - a deeply learned polyglot historian, whose expertise ranges from 19th-century Germany to 20th-century Egypt - has for decades stood out as one of the very few sober and intelligent voices in this undistinguished crowd. His latest book, 'No End to War,' which surveys trends in terrorism throughout the world but which concentrates on Islamist terrorism, is bolstered by his characteristic strengths. Mr. Laqueur's wide-ranging intellect demolishes many of the shibboleths that plague discussions of terrorism generally and Islamist terrorism specifically. Throughout, Mr. Laqueur's analysis is clear-eyed and unsentimental. Only a scholar with Mr. Laqueur's wide historical perspective can assess what, exactly, is new - and newly threatening - in contemporary terrorism. There is a bright spot in his analysis. Mr. Laqueur hardly views the Arab world as static. Eventually, he says, modernity will transform it. But until it's complete, that process will exacerbate the very forces most antagonistic to the West. The greatest national-security question ever to face the United States may well be: Will that transformation occur before religious fanatics acquire biological and nuclear weapons? If Mr. Laqueur's analysis is right, the West is in a race for its life."—Benjamin Schwartz, New York Times, June 14, 2003

"...a number of the themes of Walter Laqueur's excellent new book: the transnational character of 21st-century terrorism; the widespread use of suicide as a terrorist tool; the lack of scruple about civilian casualties that characterizes religiously inspired terrorists; and the insufficiency of poverty as an explanation for what causes terrorism. For those who see some ticker tape victory parade following the "the war on terrorism," he points out that "terrorism is relatively cheap and will be with us as long as anyone can envision, even if not always at the same frequency and intensity." Moreover, the terrorists' "aim is no longer to conduct propaganda but to effect maximum destruction." ..."in the forty-nine countries currently designated by the United Nations as the least developed, hardly any terrorist activity occurs." Laqueur has interesting things to say about the "intelligence failure" surrounding Sept. 11 that go beyond the normal boilerplate complaints that the FBI and CIA underestimated the importance of al Qaeda. Laqueur also assigns blame for much of the country's former complacency to the American media, which had drastically cut back on foreign coverage in the decade before Sept. 11. And, of course, the greatest worry remains that "it is only a question of time until radiological, chemical, or biological weapons will be used more or less systematically by terrorist groups." Then we will have truly entered "the age of catastrophic terrorism."—Peter Bergen, The Washington Post, August 19, 2003

"The post-September 11 surge in publications offering the latest wisdom on terrorism has been a mixed bag, but here [is one] of the best...Laqueur is a veteran terrorism-watcher. Here he does not reprise his earlier histories. Instead, he provides a hard analysis of the development of Islamic militancy, tracing it back to the Muslim Brotherhood of the 1970s and following it through radical campaigns in Egypt, the develpment of al Qaeda, and so on to September 11." -Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs, Volume 82, No. 5

"...the attack [the suicide mission of two British men of Pakistani heritage in April 2003] is emblematic of a number of the themes of Walter Laqueur's excellent new book...Laqueur has interesting things to say about the "intelligence failure" surrounding Sept. 11 that go beyond the normal boilerplate complaints that the FBI and CIA underestimated the importance of al Qaeda." -Peter Bergen, Washington Post

“Mr. Laqueur’s wide-ranging intellect demolishes many of the shibboleths that plague discussions of terrorism generally and Islamist terrorism specifically. Throughout, Mr. Laqueur’s analysis is clear-eyed and unsentimental. Only a scholar with Mr. Laqueur’s wide historical perspective can assess what, exactly, is new—and newly threatening—in contemporary terrorism.” —Benjamin Schwartz, New York Times (The New York Times)

“The post-September 11 surge in publications offering the latest wisdom on terrorism has been a mixed bag, but here [is one] of the best.” —Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

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