Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism: Conversation with  Robert A. Pape, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago, February 16, 2006, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today Robert A. Pape who's Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, specializing in international security affairs. book coverHis publications include Bombing to Win: Air Power, Coercion and War, and most recently, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.

  1. Background ... influence of parents ... education ... intellectual mentors ... dissertation ... strategic air power
  2. Doing Social Science and International Relations Theory ... importance of independence of mind ... willingness to go into an uncharted area of research ... community of scholar with a Darwinian ethos ... problem-oriented approach to IR
  3. The Problem of Suicide Terrorism ... identifying the problem after 9/11 ... collecting data ... who are they? ... finding their strategic goals ... link to extreme national liberation movements ... weakness vis-à-vis the occupier ... suicide terrorism as an action of last resort ... target is democracies ... why Reagan left Lebanon after marines were killed ... democracies weigh risk and respond ... role of religion ... mobilizing potential
  4. U.S. Policy and Suicide Terrorism ... the case of al Quaeda ... short term and long term U. S. objectives ... offshore balancing and winding down troops deployments ... impact of ideas on policy ... changing public consciousness


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