The author provides a theoretical examination of the concept of asymmetric threats, seeking to deepen our understanding of terrorism. States can respond to terrorism in three different ways: political, criminal, or clinical. In the political sphere, the state defines the terrorists as an Enemy, an act which justifies an extremely aggressive response. In the criminal sphere, the state can try to deprive the terrorists of their political standing and paint them as mere criminals who have no legitimate or just goals. With a clinical response, the state labels the terrorists abnormal or deviants, identifying them as people who need medical treatment. Asymmetric threats focus on the differences between terrorists and states in terms of resources, strategies and tactics. Looking in particular at the three approaches defined above, the terrorists always try to present their actions in a political framework, while the state can attempt to politicize, de-politicize, criminalize, or medicalize the terrorists. The text explicates these concepts and their nuances in much greater detail.
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