Monday, June 25, 2007

# Posted 12:24 PM by Patrick Porter  

THE PATTERN OF TERROR: Last night I watched a few episodes of the latest 24 series. (If you don't want any plot spoiled, don't read further!)

The fourth episode or so culminates in a nuclear attack on a city, as the distressed Jack Bauer looks up to see a mushroom cloud.

It makes an interesting contrast with John Robb's recent book about the future of warfare, Brave New War. Robb argues that in many respects, popular obsession with the image of terrorist groups plotting to inflict megadeath with WMD is a little misleading.

Robb argues instead that the dominant pattern now and in the future will be networked groups (he calls 'global guerrillas') who will strike critical infrastructure (telecommunications, electricity grids, transport systems, oil pipelines, etc) to paralyse and destabilise states.

Personally, I suspect we are now in another interwar period, before the next large-scale wars between states, but that's another story. I would highly recommend Robb's book nevertheless.

It tackles the less spectacular face of warfare, systems disruption rather than dramatic violence, to chart a chaotic world unfolding. And its damn well written.
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