The academic community has been warning of the new age of asymmetric warfare since the end of the Cold War. Critics of expensive high tech military capability, exempliﬁed by Washington’s national missile defence scheme, have pointed out that western powers are increasingly vulnerable to unsophisticated attacks by determined non-state actors.
The crude bomb has been the terrorist’s weapon for more than a century, and yet its effectiveness has increased as commercial and government infrastructure has become more complex. But the assumption has been that terrorists will tailor their actions to further their political ambitions. This calculus changes if the aim of the terrorist is entirely the destruction of western society.