State-Sponsored Terrorism: A Mode of Diplomacy?
Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 13 (3) 1993
17 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2013
Date Written: 1993
Paraphrasing Clemenceau's aphorism that war is too important to be left to the generals, one might say that state-sponsored terrorism, a fortiori, is too intangible to be left to the generals. But should it be handed over to the diplomats?
This question summarizes the main concern of this article, which consists primarily in a pre-theoretical discourse on definitions. The purpose of the study is to suggest an alternative understanding of the role and the nature of state-sponsored terrorism in foreign policy and, by extension, in international relations. Unlike the perception prevailing among most students of state-sponsored terrorism, i.e. that it is a form of low-intensity warfare, this paper maintains that this strategy and activity belong to the diplomatic side of the continuum of war and diplomacy. More often than not, state-sponsored terrorism is a form of diplomatic bargaining and not of war. If this contention proves sensible, a revision of the explanation of the nature of diplomacy will be inevitable. At this stage, however, I will contend with the modest effort of raising the issue for discussion and offering some suggestions.
Keywords: Terrorism, State, Diplomacy
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation