Debate is an important part of the classroom experience. However, most debate-style readers do a disservice to students by selecting readings from disparate sources that end up talking past one another. As a part of the Debating Politics series from CQ Press, this reader is different. Featuring paired pron pieces written specifically for this volume, Debating Terrorism encourages students to actively grapple with the central debates and questions surrounding the subject of terrorism and counterterrorism . With topics ranging from the root causes of terrorism, the role of religion in terrorism, whether suicide terrorism is ever justified, whether the spread of democracy can help defeat terrorism, and what trade-offs, if any, should exist between security and civil liberties, GottliebÆs outstanding cast of contributors returns in this edition, compelling students to wrestle with the conflicting perspectives that define the field. Gottlieb frames the complexity and sophistication of these issues with incisive chapter headnotes providing students with the requisite context and preparing them to read each argument critically, allowing them to understand the past, present, and future of terrorism and counterterrorism. Each of the selections has been thoroughly updated to account for recent world events, policy changes, and new scholarship. New to the reader, and by reviewer request, is a chapter, “Can Global Institutions Make a Difference in Fighting Terrorism?”
Chapter 6: Is Nuclear Terrorism a Real Threat?
Is Nuclear Terrorism a Real Threat?
- Yes: The threat is very real Matthew Bunn, Harvard University
- No: The threat is overblown Susan B. Martin, King's College London
Prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001, the possibility of terrorists utilizing weapons of mass destruction, particularly the most potentially devastating weapon, a nuclear device, received a good deal of attention.1 The conventional wisdom at the time, even among those who were warning of the growing danger, was that the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack was a “low probability, high consequence” threat.2 Nuclear terrorism was generally considered a low-probability threat because of issues related to supply, technical feasibility, and demand. It would be extremely difficult for a terrorist group to obtain materials for ...