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Combating Jihadism

American Hegemony and Interstate Cooperation in the War on Terrorism

Combating Jihadism

American Hegemony and Interstate Cooperation in the War on Terrorism

Although terrorism is an age-old phenomenon, jihadi ideology is distinctive in its ambition to abandon the principle of state sovereignty, overthrow the modern state system, and replace it with an extremely radical interpretation of an Islamic world order. These characteristics reflect a radical break from traditional objectives promoted by terrorist groups. In Combating Jihadism Barak Mendelsohn argues that the distinctiveness of the al-Qaeda threat led the international community to change its approach to counterterrorism. Contrary to common yet erroneous conceptions, the United States, in its role as a hegemon, was critical for the formulation of a multilateral response.
While most analyses of hegemony have focused on power, Mendelsohn firmly grounds the phenomenon in a web of shared norms and rules relating to the hegemon’s freedom of action. Consequently, he explains why US leadership in counterterrorism efforts was in some spheres successful, when in others it failed or did not even seek to establish multilateral collaborative frameworks. Tracing the ways in which international cooperation has stopped terrorist efforts, Combating Jihadism provides a nuanced, innovative, and timely reinterpretation of the war on terrorism and the role of the United States in leading the fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

Read an excerpt.

304 pages | 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 2009

Political Science: Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, and International Relations


“This is a provocative and important study of contemporary terrorism and counterterrorism; it is, in many ways, the best attempt yet to locate these phenomena within general international-relations theory and the workings of the international system. Mendelsohn not only provides a compelling explanation for variation in the degree of international cooperation against terrorism, but also makes an important contribution to how we theorize the institutions of international society.”

Daniel H. Nexon, Georgetown University

“In this magnificent, deeply researched, and compelling book, Barak Mendelsohn succeeds in two difficult tasks. He provides a nuanced and richly detailed analysis of the rise of global jihadism and of the counter-strategies that states have adopted to defend themselves. Equally important, Combating Jihadism makes a major theoretical contribution by explaining the data within the framework of the English School of International Relations. This engaging book lifts the theoretical level of scholarship on terrorism to new heights.”

Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University

“In Combating Jihadism, Mendelsohn not only demonstrates a remarkable knowledge of the complex webs and networks which constitute the core of today’s international terrorist threat, but he also effectively details how states have responded to such a challenge. Thus, this is one of the very few books written since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that bridges the gap between the study of contemporary global terrorism and international relations theory. As a result, it is sure to stimulate wide interest in both academic and policy making circles, and is destined to join the list of works that are required reading for any with an interest in the origins, development, and future of terrorism in the contemporary international system.”

Allen Carlson, Cornell University

Table of Contents


Interstate Cooperation and Transnational Terrorism

Part 1

Spreading Jihad: From Local Jihads to a Global Jihad

3 Irreconcilable Approaches: Jihadism and the Society of States

4 Multilateral Action and Terrorism: General Principles

Part 2

5 The Suppression of Terrorism Financing

6 Preventing Non-State Actors from Obtaining WMD

7 Border Controls

8 Military Interventions and Democracy Promotion

9 Conclusions





Choice Magazine: CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Awards

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