The attacks in Mumbai

The Mumbai attacks demonstrate just how much damage can be done by striking high-profile civilian targets even if you don’t have heavy weapons. Last year, U.S. intel warned of potential Al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. shopping malls; even a single gunman could do some pretty nasty damage. Attacks don’t have to be imaginative or sophisticated to get results: watching that get proved in India has increased the likelihood it will happen elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the international repercussions of Mumbai are only just beginning. It seems almost certain now that the attacks emanated from inside Pakistan, and that they had some kind of government backing (even if that just means that someone in govt turned a blind eye); the problem is that “government” in Pakistan is a very amorphous term, as the country’s split into a myriad factions—which doesn’t bode well for crisis decision-making if India start rattling its nuclear saber. Pakistan is already under enormous pressure from the Americans on its Afghan border; now it’s going to be caught in the proverbial nutcracker. Already halfway to a failed state, the Islamic Republic may complete the rest of the journey all too quickly.

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One Response to “The attacks in Mumbai”

  1. xerode Says:

    To me, one of the most interesting aspect of the Pakistan/India rivalry and nuclear weapons is that the populace at large doesn’t seem to comprehend the scale of destruction involved. The West had years of Cold War paranoia influencing the media and popular culture, meaning that the average citizen is terrified of the use of nuclear weapons. This culture is alien to India/Pakistan and many seem to think that nuclear weapons are the same as conventional weapons – just scaled up a bit.