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Negotiating with Terrorists

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image of International Negotiation

Negotiating with terrorists is possible, within limits, as the articles in this issue show and explore. Limits come initially in the distinction between absolute and contingent terrorists, and then between revolutionary and conditional absolutes and between barricaders, kidnappers and hijackers in the contingent category. Revolutionary absolute are nonnegotiable adversaries, but even conditional absolutes are potentially negotiable and contingent terrorists actually seek negotiation. The official negotiator is faced with the task of giving a little in order to get the terrorist to give a lot, a particularly difficult imbalance to obtain given the highly committed and desperate nature of terrorists as they follow rational but highly unconventional tactics. Such are the challenges of negotiating with terrorists that this issue of the journal explores and elucidates.


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