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International Cooperation, Not Unilateral Policies, may be the Best Counterterrorist Strategy
Unformatted Document Text:  They then increased steeply before reaching the series high point of 41 attacks in 1990 and then again declined steeply. From 1998 to the end of the series attacks on U.S. targets increased somewhat, but remained far below the totals found for much of the 1970s and 1980s. As with total attacks, total fatal attacks against the United States during this period were relatively high in the 1970s and 1980s and then declined throughout the 1990s. However, the major difference in the two trend lines is that fatal attacks against the U.S. increased strongly in the late 1990s, reaching their highest level (9) in the last year of the series. Apart from the peak in 2004, there were seven years when there were six fatal attacks against the United States: 1973, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 2002. In general, terrorist attacks against the United States from these groups have actually declined since 1990. In fact, they were at a 35-year low just before the 9/11 attacks. The two years in the series with the fewest anti-U.S. attacks were 1995 and 1997. Similarly, fatal attacks were generally more common in the 1970s and 1980s and reached a series low in the decade before 9/11. However, fatal attacks directed at the U.S. have increased since the end of the 1990s. While low in absolute terms, they reached their peak during 2004, the last year included in the analysis. In our earlier paper we repeated the analysis for total and fatal attacks on non-U.S. targets by the same 53 groups. The most obvious difference between attacks on U.S. and non-U.S. targets was the magnitude of the scales—non-U.S. attacks by these groups were nearly 30 times more common than U.S. attacks. Thus, these groups that are perceived to be dangerous to the United States are in fact much more dangerous to citizens in other countries. In general, non-U.S. trends for total and fatal attacks by these groups 4

Authors: LaFree, Gary. and Yang, Sue Ming.
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They then increased steeply before reaching the series high point of 41 attacks in 1990 
and then again declined steeply.  From 1998 to the end of the series attacks on U.S. 
targets increased somewhat, but remained far below the totals found for much of the 
1970s and 1980s.
 As with total attacks, total fatal attacks against the United States during this period 
were relatively high in the 1970s and 1980s and then declined throughout the 1990s. 
However, the major difference in the two trend lines is that fatal attacks against the U.S. 
increased strongly in the late 1990s, reaching their highest level (9) in the last year of the 
series.  Apart from the peak in 2004, there were seven years when there were six fatal 
attacks against the United States: 1973, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 2002.
In general, terrorist attacks against the United States from these groups have actually 
declined since 1990.  In fact, they were at a 35-year low just before the 9/11 attacks. The 
two years in the series with the fewest anti-U.S. attacks were 1995 and 1997.  Similarly, 
fatal attacks were generally more common in the 1970s and 1980s and reached a series 
low in the decade before 9/11.  However, fatal attacks directed at the U.S. have increased 
since the end of the 1990s. While low in absolute terms, they reached their peak during 
2004, the last year included in the analysis.  
In our earlier paper we repeated the analysis for total and fatal attacks on non-U.S. 
targets by the same 53 groups.  The most obvious difference between attacks on U.S. and 
non-U.S. targets was the magnitude of the scales—non-U.S. attacks by these groups were 
nearly 30 times more common than U.S. attacks.  Thus, these groups that are perceived to 
be dangerous to the United States are in fact much more dangerous to citizens in other 
countries.  In general, non-U.S. trends for total and fatal attacks by these groups 
4


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