Reflections on 9/11

The Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism has a number of very interesting reflections by political scientists and others on what we have learned since 9/11. Among others, John Mueller offers his thoughts on the Iraq syndrome, Robert Pape on occupation and suicide terrorism, Richard Haass on how 9/11 is overestimated as a historical turning point, and Jenna Jordan on the effectiveness of decapitating terrorist organizations. And then there is Thomas Schelling, who, as always, begins with a very good puzzle:

In 1982 I published an article that began, “Sometime in the 1980’s an organization that is not a national government may acquire a few nuclear weapons. If not in the 1980’s, then in the 1990’s.”

I hedged about the 80’s but sounded pretty firm about the 90’s. It’s now the 2010’s, twenty-nine years later, and there has been no nuclear terrorism nor any acquisition of such weapons by any terrorist organization that we know of; and I think we’d know by now. I don’t know of anyone—and I knew many colleagues knowledgeable on the subject—who thought my expectations outlandish. Something needs to be explained!

I encourage you to read the whole thing if you are interested in his explanation.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Erik Voeten

Erik Voeten is the Peter F. Krogh associate professor of geopolitics and global justice at Georgetown University.