Home Institution

University of Michigan

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy


This paper aims to analyze how governments of the modern era can better engage with contemporary terrorist organizations. It argues that nations and governments must alter their strategy on terrorism in light of its increasing prevalence and lethality in the modern era. Proclamations of non-negotiation, made with false perceptions that terrorists are simply irrational radical actors, are no longer viable if governments truly seek to reduce terrorist violence. In fact, it’s the ambiguity of terrorism and the major differentiation in the practices of various organizations which necessitate a more flexible strategy. Simply, the one-size-fits all solution of unequivocal no-negotiation is unable to contend with terrorism of the modern era. Additionally, these proclamations may actually lead to a higher rate of violence. As shown by game theory, the bargaining model, and various studies measuring deterrence value and terrorist responses to changing situations, it is evident that modern governments must revamp their counterterrorism policy to involve increased flexibility and emphasis on negotiation.

This paper used both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources involved four formal interviews conducted in both Geneva and Paris.


Comparative Politics | Defense and Security Studies | European Languages and Societies | Other International and Area Studies | Peace and Conflict Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Terrorism Studies


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