Counterterrorism: Reassessing the Policy Response promotes a more nuanced understanding of the effectiveness of current counterterrorism practices and the need for reform. It challenges government, media, and academic accounts that exaggerate terrorist threats, particularly in comparison to other threats such as organized crime. Author Benoît Gomis responds to the problem of overreaction with guidelines that address terrorism as a problem to be managed rather than as an existential threat that can be eradicated. He proposes a more realistic assessment of the threat from terrorism, domestic or international, by relating terrorism to broader security, social, and political contexts.
The book examines current issues in counterterrorism, including the opportunity costs of counterterrorism policies, their psychological impact, the role of the media and experts, and the risks associated with oversimplifying the challenges posed by terrorism. It also explores less prominent areas of terrorism studies such as right-wing extremism, links between terrorism and organized crime, and citizen privacy.
Case studies illustrate each chapter, with some detailing differences in counterterrorist policy between countries. The studies focus on Western countries, particularly the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. The book also highlights the responsibility of nongovernmental actors in analyzing the threat and informing policies.
Counterterrorism: Reassessing the Policy Response is a timely commentary on contemporary developments in counterterrorist policy and practice, including drones, social media, and recent revelations on intelligence programs. It identifies potential dangers in technology and measures that can be taken to minimize them. More importantly, it provides guidance on how current policy can be reformed to assume a more objective, measured, and effective approach against terrorism.