War on Terrorism: Unpredictable

Now that the ‘war against terrorism’ has begun in earnest, what can we expect?

The World Today
4 minute READ

Michael Clarke

Director General, Royal United Service Institute

 Lots of the unexpected, for sure. This war is replete with conditions for unintended consequences – which normally loom at least as large as the intended ones, even in traditional hostilities. More than any other war since 1939 – more than any of the conflicts during the Cold War – this one tosses the political cards into the air and it will not be clear for some time how they have landed.

The first clue as to how the cards will land depends on what turns out to be at stake. Terrorism exists on a global scale, and the September 11 atrocities in America set new boundaries of destruction. But that does not necessarily mean that we are facing a global phenomenon.

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