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Foreign Affairs, Sep/Oct, Lead Essay:
"Postmodern Terrorism. The terrorism of the future may be
far more destructive than terrorism as we have known it."
An informative survey and pot-heat by Walter Laqueur.
Terrorism's prospects, often overrated by the media,
the public, and some politicians, are improving as its
destructive potential increases. Terrorism has
replaced wars between nations of the 1800s and 1900s.
In the future, terrorists will be individuals or
like-minded people working in very small groups. An
individual may possess the technical competence to
steal, buy, or manufacture the weapons he or she needs
for a terrorist purpose. The ideologies such
individuals and minigroups espouse are likely to be
even more aberrant than those of larger groups. And
terrorists working alone or in very small groups will
be more difficult to detect unless they make a major
mistake or are discovered by accident.
Society has also become vulnerable to a new kind of
terrorism, in which the destructive power of both the
individual terrorist and terrorism as a tactic are
infinitely greater. The advanced societies of today
are more dependent every day on electronic
information. That exposes enormous vital areas of
national life to mischief or sabotage by any computer
hacker, and concerted sabotage could render a country
unable to function.
Why assassinate a politician or indiscriminately kill
people when an attack on electronic switching will
produce far more dramatic and lasting results? If the
new terrorism directs its energies toward information
warfare, its destructive power will be exponentially
greater than any it wielded in the past -- greater
even than it would be with biological and chemical
weapons. The single successful one could claim many
more victims, do more material damage, and unleash far
greater panic than anything the world has yet
http://jya.com/pothot.txt (30 kb)
POT_hot (in 2 parts)