How the Government Should Deal with Kidnapped Americans Overseas

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Earlier this week, the Bush Administration unveiled a new protocol for dealing with Americans who are kidnapped and held hostage overseas. The new approach will require the government to at least review every single case of kidnapping, and consider taking direct action in every case. In the past, the government frequently did not even consider getting involved in a kidnapping case unless an American soldier or governmental official was involved.

The policy calls for a wide range of options for dealing with kidnapped Americans — from helping in the negotiations to U.S. commando raids. Essentially, any foreigner who kidnaps an American overseas must face up to the possibility that they are picking a fight with the U.S. government.

With terrorism on the rise around the world, kidnapped Americans overseas is likely to become a more frequent issue. This hour, how should the U.S. government respond when an American citizen is held captive overseas?


Gary Weaver, Professor of international communications and executive director of the Intercultural Management Institute at American University

Armando Lara, Director of operations at Control Risks Group, a leading international business risk consultancy firm

This program aired on February 20, 2002.


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