Robert A. Pape


Robert A. Pape, coauthor of Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It, discusses the extremely high correlation of suicide terrorism with foreign military occupation; why it’s no coincidence that the surge in Afghanistan has increased violence while the drawdown in Iraq has lessened it; why those advocating no-fly zones in Libya should look at the terrible record in 1990s Iraq; the “asymmetrical” warfare, up to and including suicide attacks, that could be expected in response to a foreign military occupation of America; and the significant progress in convincing Congress of terrorism’s real root causes.

MP3 here. (22:44)

Robert A. Pape is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago specializing in international security affairs. His publications include Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House 2005); Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Cornell 1996), “Why Economic Sanctions Do Not Work,” International Security (1997), “The Determinants of International Moral Action,” International Organization (1999); “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” American Political Science Review (2003); and “Soft Balancing against the United States,” International Security (2005).

His commentary on international security policy has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, New Republic, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, as well as on Nightline, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and National Public Radio. Before coming to Chicago in 1999, he taught international relations at Dartmouth College for five years and air power strategy for the USAF’s School of Advanced Airpower Studies for three years. He received his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in 1988 and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pittsburgh in 1982. His current work focuses on the causes of suicide terrorism and the politics of unipolarity.


12 thoughts on “Robert A. Pape”

  1. Jeesh , why did it take you so long to figure this out. This was obvious to me for a long time.

    Here is a quote from Rootless Cosmopolitan article "How 1967 War Doomed Israel"

    . "And when Yitzhak Rabin, more famous as a signatory on the Oslo Agreement, ordered the Israeli military to systematically break the arms of young Palestinians in the hope of suppressing an entirely legitimate revolt, thuggery had become a matter of national policy. It was only when some of those same young men began blowing themselves up in Israeli restaurants and buses that many Israel supporters were once again able to construe the Israelis as the victim in the situation;"

    This link use t work to the actual article but it does not work(for me anyway) anymore….

    1. It might be obvious to YOU, but were you also able to present scientific evidence about suicide terrorism? It makes a difference. Because otherwise you might be dismissed off-hand like a radical or nut of some kind.

  2. CABLE 08TRIPOLI430 :
    "Over lunch at a popular restaurant just off the waterfront, xxxxxxxxxxxx and his business partner (who declined to give his name)discussed at length the local political-economic, cultural and religious scene, noting that it was "well-known" that a large number of suicide bombers (invariably described as "martyrs") and foreign fighters in Iraq hailed from Derna, a fact in which the town "takes great pride".
    There was a strong perception, he said, that the U.S. had decided in the wake of Qadhafi's decision to abandon WMD aspirations and renounce terrorism to support the regime to secure counter-terrorism cooperation and ensure continued oil and natural gas production. Many easterners feared the U.S. would not allow Qadhafi's regime to fall and therefore viewed direct confrontation with the GOL in the near-term as a fool's errand. At the same time, sending young Libyans to fight in Iraq was "an embarrassment" to Qadhafi. Fighting against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq represented a way for frustrated young radicals to strike a blow against both Qadhafi and against his perceived American backers."….

  3. There was a suicide bomb attempt in Stockholm last December, although the terrorist only managed to kill himself before he reached his target. I am not sure what Sweden is occupying – any suggestions?

    1. Yep, that is he. Clinton, the drorg-dadtef. Lack of military service seems to have become a condition precedent for leadership in the USA. The few exceptions prove the rule, yes? Shrub and Chaney are two more obvious examples.

  4. The Carter Doctrine was: U.S. will defend 'its' oil resources with military force.

    So that is the formal origin of militarized ME policy.

  5. Without occupation of lots of diff countries, U.S. military officers will not have enough opportunities to get promoted. Not to mention the MIC interests.

    What Pape is too naive about is recognizing that he is being patronized inside the beltway. Were he to make any real headway, the full force of the generals & the MIC would come down on him.

    And if you take his cigarette smoking analogy as instructive, the U.S. will be in A, I, etc. etc. for at least another 50 years.

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