Ethics & International Affairs Volume 4 (1990): Articles: Drawing the Line on Opprobrious Violence [Abstract]

Dec 2, 1990

Deliberate and indiscriminate targeting of civilians, most particularly in a non-war environment, is an unjustifiable form of violence that can be defeated most effectively through multilateral efforts, according to Norton, and must not be fathomed as anything but pure and simple terrorism, which is not to be tolerated. The U.S. State Department's definition of terrorism is too ambiguous to allow delineation between what is permissible in time of war and in time of peace, and creates more controversy than consensus: one persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter. Fortunately, fertile ground for the multilateral combating of terrorist activities and states promoting them (Lybia, Syria, Iran) was laid in 1989 with an unofficial U.S.-USSR agreement to exchange vital information to prevent such acts. The author places great hope in this new dialogue.

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