Terrorism cannot be treated as a monolithic threat. Moreover, as much as we may wish to focus on the terror tactics and terrorist means, we cannot overlook the ends. In fact, good policy can only be crafted with an understanding of the terrorist strategy; that is, how terrorists integrate their means to secure their goals, given their perception of the security environment. The groups covered in this book change and evolve. While their governments must take aggressive actions to secure their populations against attacks, those governments that recognize the real grievances can simultaneously take action that addresses those grievances. This two-pronged approach simultaneously bolsters state legitimacy across the ethnic and majority populations, while demonstrating state effectiveness regarding insecurity. The authors argue that the best way for states to win legitimacy vis-a-vis terrorists is by adhering to liberal democratic values, cooperating with other states, and applying prudent counterterrorist tactics.
Inter-state cooperation, which affects domestic and foreign policies, requires some convergence of political cultures among those cooperating states. This book begins by analyzing five hotspot situations and their regional effects: the Basques in Spain, the ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, the Kurds in Turkey, the Chechens and Russia; and the Palestinians, Israel, and a future Palestinian state. These cases shed some light on how we should understand, characterize, and categorize terrorism, and they provide insights into the concepts of political legitimacy, liberal democracy, political culture, and political community. As the United States assesses its homeland defense posture, it must resist any temptation to weaken its liberal democratic values, and, as a superpower, it must encourage other states to adhere to liberal democratic values as well. Liberal democracy is a security imperative in today's global security environment.
"Four political scientists, three with the US Military Academy at West Point, analyze five terrorist threats against transitional democracies: the Basques in Spain, Kurds in Turkey, Albanians in Macedonia, Chechnya, and Palestine."
"With their nuance approach and careful analysis, the authors provide much-needed practical guidance on how the fight against terrorism and democratisation can become mutually reinforcing. Particularly as democracy is widely viewed as a tool against terrorism, this book is not only important reading but also offers uniquely constructive and policy-oriented insight on the issue."
"Terrorism remains one of the great scourges of our time and will remain so unless its root causes are destroyed. By using a comparative context with five different cases, this important study reveals the impact of unique regional, cultural, social, and political dynamics on states that are facing the twin pressures of terrorism and long-standing social and political grievances. Although this work points to the complex and often dangerous nature of politics in emerging democracies, it also argues that the potential costs of avoiding democratization are far greater in terms of forsaking our values and weakening our long-term security. This position deserves our closest attention and consideration."
"This is a very timely and pertinent study that delves into the all-important question of the challenge of global terrorism to transitional democracies in different regional-cultural contexts. Lucidly written, well researched, and comparatively framed, the book provides a valuable insight into the challenges facing the new democracies in containing the threat of terrorism. It is essential reading for scholars, policy makers, and students of global terrorism."
"The Fight for Legitimacy is an immensely timely and important book. Through a series of key historical case studies the authors empirically demonstrate how effectively countering terrorism is as much about addressing popular grievances and establishing governmental legitimacy as it is about killing and capturing terrorists. The scholarship and trenchant analysis evident in The Fight for Legitimacy establish a solid foundation for building a genuinely synergistic strategy with which to defeat terrorism and encourage viable democratic and responsive governance."