Universiteit Leiden

nl en


Defeat by popular demand: public support and counterterrorism in three western democracies, 1963-1998

Acquiring and maintaining public support is frequently cited as an important requirement for governments fighting non-state actors. But how exactly can public support influence the course of counterterrorism campaigns and thereby contribute to an escalation or de-escalation of violence?

Bart Schuurman
18 January 2013

This article argues that public support can provide a mandate for action but that it can also set boundaries for the measures governments and their non-state adversaries can legitimately use. Fluctuations in the quantity and quality of public support for either side can expand or contract these boundaries, potentially instigating marked changes in conflict-related violence levels and affecting the efficacy of government countermeasures.

This website uses cookies.  More information.