Much of the debate on terrorism in the West has been on how it could be prevented or how Western countries could be protected from terrorist threats. Less discussed is the question of why certain combatant groups engage in terrorism but not others. Moreover, is terrorism even an effective way for groups to advance their agendas? We invite Professors Peter Krause and Max Abrahms, two of the foremost scholars writing on terrorism and political violence today, to debate the logic of terrorism and the controversial question of its effectiveness.
Peter Krause is an assistant professor of political science at Boston College and a research affiliate with the MIT Security Studies Program. He has previously published articles on the effectiveness of national movements and political violence, U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war, the politics of division within the Palestinian national movement, the war of ideas in the Middle East, and a reassessment of U.S. operations at Tora Bora in 2001. He has offered his analysis of Middle East politics, political violence, and the Boston Marathon attacks with many national, international, and local media outlets.
Max Abrahms is an assistant professor of public policy in the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University. His work on asymmetric conflict focuses on the study of civil war, insurgency, nonviolent protest, and terrorism. He is a frequent terrorism analyst in the media, especially on the consequences of terrorism, its motives, and the implications for counterterrorism strategy. His publications have appeared in leading journals, such as International Security, Security Studies, Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, and International Organization.