State responsibility and counterterrorism

Ethics and Global Politics 9 (1):32542 (2016)
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It is widely thought that the international community, taken as a whole, is required to take action to prevent terrorism. Yet, what each state is required to do in this project is unclear and contested. This article examines a number of bases on which we might assign responsibilities to conduct counterterrorist operations to states. I argue that the ways in which other sorts of responsibilities have been assigned to states by political philosophers will face significant limitations when used to assign the necessary costs of preventing terrorism. I go on to suggest that appealing to the principle of fairness—which assigns obligations on the basis of benefits received from cooperative endeavours—may be used to make up the shortfall, despite this principle having received relatively little attention in existing normative accounts of states’ responsibilities.



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Isaac Taylor
Stockholm University

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