Goals and Objectives of International Terrorism

  • Alex Schmid


The term ‘international terrorism’ has become a catchword whose use often clouds more than it explains. Not long ago David Lange, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, labelled a French secret service sabotage operation against Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ‘an act of international terrorism.’1 A former Dutch Minister of Defence used the same label when referring to this act (which killed one Dutch citizen) and stopped just short of asking whether it would be appropriate to demand the extradition of the ultimately responsible French Minister of Defence. I consider the label ‘terrorism’ as inappropriate in this particular instance for reasons which become apparent when one analyses the targeting of terrorists. The incident with the Rainbow Warrior was of course ‘international’ as are, in a trivial sense, all incidents of a political nature where the nationalities of victims and perpetrators differ or when an act of violence is intended to influence another nation. For many, international terrorism has become a psychological codeword for international communism. While not denying that the USSR arms and trains liberation movements and that members of such movements frequently have recourse to acts of terrorism, the search for evidence linking incidents to masterminds in the Kremlin has not produced conclusive results.


Terrorist Group Security Force International Terrorism Political Prisoner Bomb Attack 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Robert O. Slater and Michael Stohl 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Schmid

There are no affiliations available

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