FINAL WARNING: Averting Disaster in the New Age of Terrorism by Robert & Jeff Kamen Kupperman

FINAL WARNING: Averting Disaster in the New Age of Terrorism

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Here, Kupperman (Senior Advisor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Georgetown) and Kamen (national security specialist for INN) team up, with slim results, to tout the dangers of the new era of high-tech terrorism. According to the authors, the bad news is that instigators of international terrorism have refined their act, bringing the infrastructures of nations--including the US--into their sights; and the further bad news is that ""at best, international terrorism can be contained; sometimes it can be deterred; but it can not be eliminated."" Kupperman and Kamen highlight the Pan Am 103 bombing in Lockerbie as the vanguard of a new art of techno-terrorism (the culprit was a bomb planted within a tiny transistor radio). Terrorists now have, they claim, the ability to wipe out hundreds of people at a shopping mall using poisonous aerosols, or to wipe out a natural gas pipeline compressor at a river crossing, or to cripple electrical transformers with gunfire or explosives. Yet, the authors state, authorities basically shrug their shoulders (how many people realize that airlines rarely put checked-in baggage through scanners?). To thwart this danger, Kupperman and Kamen call for intensive research: the President must order ""existing national scientific centers to put aside the long-term, big ticket defense systems they're currently designing and focus their considerable collective brilliance on the challenges posed by terrorists and their tactics."" Other than this, galvanizing international cooperation (including that of the Soviets, who also feel threatened by modern terrorism) is the authors' main panacea. Heavy on fear and panic--but light on solutions.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1989
Publisher: Doubleday