Counter-terrorism and Its Development

Terrorism has become a threat to the lives of many people, resulting in mass killings and loss of property across the globe. The creation of counter-terrorism governmental agencies and international bodies is a big step forward in ensuring that the surging terrorism activities, as well as emerging new forms of terrorist activities, are contained. The United States has largely been involved in addressing the increasing worldwide threats of terrorism by establishing counter-terrorism agencies within the Department of State. For the war on terrorism to be won, there should be global cooperation in and the willingness to for proper strategies and principles of counter-terrorism. This will create harmony and peace across the globe to enhance easy movements and trade among others while reducing the increased mass killings hence making the world a better place.  

Creation of Counter-terrorism and its Development


Counter-terrorism refers to any action which is geared at preventing the destructive impacts of terrorism. Terrorism, on the other hand, refers to any political activity carried out by a well-structured group and comprises of deliberate killing of individuals who are non-combatants or intimidating the people, resulting into damage of property (Crenshaw " LaFree, 2017). The United States determinations towards counter-terrorism started due to the radicalization of a group known as guerilla movement led by Yasser Arafat during the 1967 Six-Day War. It will be realized that the American government led by President Richard Nixon reacted by taking reasonable actions towards containing the surge of the terrorist activities. Consequently, the administration introduced the combating terrorism’s office during 1972 after the approval by an exceptional team which had been selected by the president and was majorly necessitated by the attack experienced during the Munich Olympics. The recommendations from the team were that it had become necessary for the creation of an agency in the Department of the State which would help in offering regular counter-terrorism strategies and establish policies as well as responses on behalf of the American government (Sandler, 2015). This was basically aimed at reducing the impacts of terrorism in the country and across the world. The paper, therefore, focuses on the creation of counter-terrorism and its development.

Research reveals that the strategies of countering terrorism were implemented during the Reagan tenure. The second term of Reagan saw aggressive strategies which were aimed at countering the rising activities of terrorism (Sandler, 2015). This was fueled by the continued occurrence of terrorist attacks across the globe such as the 1985 Rome attacks, with the view to discourage perpetrators by use of these harsh retaliatory approaches. Subsequently, the combating terrorism’s office changed to become the coordinator for counterterrorism office which displayed more focus on the terrorist activities. The office became active in combating terrorism activities, under the coordination of Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as Central Intelligence Agency and ran through up to the Bill Clinton presidency which fought on key terrorists’ activities from Al Qaeda in addition to ANO.

It will be documented that the bombing of the World Trade Center during 1993 was seen as a decreased focus on terrorist activities within the United States which further resulted in intensive analysis towards terrorism and found that most of the terrorist groups had taken a new form. It was established that the new aim of the terrorist activities was to cause mass death of people, and as such, their actions were not capable of being prevented through any political activities. Research discloses that the bombings which occurred in Tanzania and Kenya during 1998 gave a new focus to Clinton’s administration on improving the prevailing strategies (Crenshaw " LaFree, 2017). The bombings had been carried out by influential Sunni extremists groups which were under the leadership of Osama bin Laden. This occurred at a time when the American government through the security agencies had begun partnering with foreign governments in order to improve on its level of counterterrorism to outshine the organized terrorist groups. However, the U.S government had anticipated a terrorist attack from the Al Qaeda group towards Americans but it was not projected to be of such a magnitude.

International Cooperation

The United States usually started to work together with other European nations after the end of the Cold War in an effort to curb the threats accruing from global terrorist activities. It is, however, believed that the efforts took shape after the attacks on September 11, 2001, when the international terrorism issue turned out to be one of the key worldwide agendas in relation to security. As a result of this, the United States avowed war on terror, making it one of the vital issues towards the creation of relations with the European nations (Crenshaw " LaFree, 2017). The attacks on 9/11 were a confirmation that there was transnational terrorism which was coordinated by a global network of terrorists and required urgent responsive strategies. The western countries had been exposed to terrorist activities and therefore they had no alternative other than creating a strong cooperation in terms of experience, intelligence, and counter-terrorism techniques.

Terrorism normally requires a comprehensive approach in terms of the policies aimed at curbing the activities because they cross the boundaries of security. The 9/11 attack had demonstrated to be the defining moment in a bid to expedite a comprehensive counter-terrorism reaction. Ever since, counter-terrorism tactics have taken new forms of cooperation that revolve around military power, economic sanctions, intelligence sharing as well as border security among others. Following the 9/11 attacks, several agreements between America and foreign countries on counter-terrorism have been signed (Hellmuth, 2015). The agreements touched on certain areas such as information sharing as well as terrorists’ financing with the objective of studying the activities of the terrorist groups. The U.S upheld bilateral relationships with the European Union on the basis of sharing intelligence as well as carrying out operations on counter-terrorism.

Challenges in Cooperation

Despite the fact that the United States and European nations had agreed to support each other to curb terrorism, the process was faced by key challenges which revealed profound differences in the way the war should have been conducted. Some of the disagreements stemmed from the European Commission challenging its member countries not to enter into discussions with the United States which created potential challenges in attaining the global security objective. Another key established and a noticeable challenge of the collaboration had been experienced in the area of data privacy as well as issues of data protection. Several scholars have disclosed that security of personal information particularly for the European citizens had been targeted making the aspect of information sharing impossible (Hellmuth, 2015). This is because of doubts concerning the assurance of sufficient level of data protection. Other contagious issues included differences of terrorist designation lists, detainee policies as well as border controls and security with the underlying requirement regarding enabling authentic commerce and travel between the two sides.

Efforts of International Organizations in Relations to Counter-Terrorism

The United States has designed more advanced approaches to working with other nations because terrorism influences external in addition to internal security plans. For effectiveness and efficiency, there ought to be a network of actions necessary in organizing the mutual agencies and policies. Following the 9/11 incident, it will be recognized that the United Nations responded by creating the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) which entailed support from many countries across the globe to fight terrorism (Sandler, 2015). In addition, it formed other committees which would work hand-in-hand with the CTC. The failure of the UN to take broad-minded measures towards having a common description of terrorism brought about distrust and disappointment from the U.S and therefore did not view UN as a reliable actor in combating terrorism.

Research indicates that the during the George Bush’s term, agencies developed serious assertiveness on the way global organizations viewed terrorism. The government resolved to depend on its power in protecting itself from any international attacks. Consequently, the administration had no trust with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as well as the International Criminal Court (ICC) among others. The administration went ahead to create the pre-emption rule which challenged the United Nation regulations. Bush also developed another crucial doctrine which had policies indicating the willingness of the country to carry out preventive war on a unilateral mission (Sandler, 2015). This meant that the country was capable of protecting itself against other nations which gave helped and hid dangerous terrorists. This was the basis of the justification of Afghanistan in 2001, as well as the Iraq War, a situation that indicated America had disallowed the function of the U.N Security Council regarding war and peace.

Additionally, the Bush administration turned out to be unreceptive towards the ICC where it extended to create regulations which were focused on enabling the country to respond to terrorist attacks swiftly. This law was enacted with the objective of scaring countries which had approved ICC as the court to fight extreme actions. It is also believed that the law further accredited military force utilization in order to set free citizens from the allies and those from within the country detained by the ICC for trials (Sandler, 2015). During Barack Obama’s term, United States began to work with the ICC on the basis that it had shown not to intimidate the American people as well as the country’s interests. The Obama administration also engaged in counterterrorism tactics which helped overcome the gaps observed within the global counter-terrorism approaches.


The United States has largely been involved in the creation of counter-terrorism strategies with the view of combating terrorist activities across the globe. It has partnered with other countries in order to increase the global efforts towards creating safety, reducing killings and destruction of property. However, over last few administrations, America has shown more concern in countering terrorism which has created significant differences with the key partners and international organizations hence choosing unilateral strategies. The counterterrorism strategies should be focused on ensuring that future terrorist activities are fully controlled by adopting more advanced tactics.


Crenshaw, M., " LaFree, G. (2017). Countering Terrorism. Washington: Brookings Institution Press.

Hellmuth, D. (2015). Counterterrorism and the State: Western Responses to 9/11. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Sandler, T. (2015). Terrorism and Counterterrorism: An Overview. Oxford Economic Papers, 67(1), 1-20. doi:10.1093/oep/gpu039

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