Terrorism is a complex problem with many diverse causes. Consequently no single effective method to counter it exists. To combat terrorism, one must first understand the underlying motivations for each particular group's actions. Then a strategy needs to be developed based on those findings. Regardless, it is difficult to fight terrorism without endangering civil liberties, such as is the case in Northern Ireland. Many innocent people get caught in the cross-fire. Ending terrorist threats requires imaginative and fluid thinking, whether to attack the roots of terrorism or neutralize a particular group.

According to terrorism expert Paul Wilkinson the general principles which have the best track record in reducing terrorism include:

For a more in-depth discussion of counterterrorism, proceed to Counterterrorism, A Global Dilemma.