Strategic Interaction in the Fight Against Terrorism

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Strategic Interactions in the Fight against Terrorism

Maastricht University
School of Business and Economics
Maastricht, 12 December 2011
Raphael Mankopf, RM
ID number: i6033138
Study: International Business
Course code: EBC1009
Economics & Business Group number: 39
Tutor’s name: A. Kuczynski
Writing tutor’s name: K. Richardson
Writing Assignment: Main paper

Maastricht University
School of Business and Economics
Maastricht, 12 December 2011
Raphael Mankopf, RM
ID number: i6033138
Study: International Business
Course code: EBC1009
Economics & Business Group number: 39
Tutor’s name: A. Kuczynski
Writing tutor’s name: K. Richardson
Writing Assignment: Main paper

1. Introduction

Since the existence of communities, states and governments, there have always been minority groups, who disagree with decisions and circumstances in society. Terrorism occurs when these groups act violently to influence a target audience and to change behaviour and opinions. In history the dimensions of terrorism have changed and the fear and awareness of the population concerning terrorism has increased. Transnational terrorism causes most of the actual international conflicts and lead to the attacks of 9/11 and to a global war against terrorism (Garrison, 2003). The suicide attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York could probably be regarded as the most catastrophic and biggest terrorist attacks in history, which forced governments to develop strategies for combating, but first and foremost, for avoiding terrorist attacks. The decision made by the US government after 9/11 caused ten years of war, costing the USA 1.283 trillion dollar (Belasco, 2011), and many lives. When taking such a decision many options and strategies must be evaluated. This paper states, that game theory can be used by governments to make decisions in the fight against terrorism.

As it is necessary to gain a basic knowledge about terrorism, the reason for terrorism, its objective and its impact on the attacked object will be outlined first. A simple game, which models the strategies of the USA and the EU in the fight against terrorism, will show how game theory helps to find the optimal strategy. This also requires an evaluation of the model on its appliance to the real life situation. Finally the problems and friction will be analysed and a conclusion will be drawn.

2. The definition and impact of terrorism

There are many different approaches to define terrorism, but some facts are found in all definitions. Targets of terrorist attacks are non-combatants, who can be governments, the population, politicians, or infrastructure. Terrorist attacks involve aggression but are not supposed to result in a military defeat of the enemy (Viktoroff, 2005). The purpose of the actual attack is not, to accomplish a specific political goal, but instead is aimed to influence the target group to obtain a change in behaviour that will serve the terrorists’ interests. The origin of terrorism and the actual reason why terrorism occurs can be very different. The general motives are religion or the attempt to influence politics. The aim of the actual attack is to weaken and frighten the target group, which could not be done with a military attack. For example the attacks on 9/11 have frightened the whole world and the damages caused by the attack were immense (Wenzlaff, 2004). Therefore, terrorists evaluate how they can achieve the highest damage with the lowest effort. Governments instead have to evaluate how to fight transnational terrorism in an effective way. If terrorism is actively and aggressively fought by eliminating personnel, resources, and infrastructure, a proactive policy is followed. By starting a war against terrorism in Afghanistan after 9/11 the American government decided to follow a proactive policy. Many other countries in the world simply improved security checks at airports, increased security staff in public places,...
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