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Some commenters below were pretty skeptical about the viability of non-state sponsored terrorism. (By the way, I appreciate the time all of you took to post, especially the ones I disagree with. Thank you.) Strikes me as a good time, therefore, to talk a little more about the likely progression of terror technology. This is gonna tie into some of the stuff I’ve said about NGOs, by the by.

Here’s how I see it. One of the constants of progress over the last few centuries has been an ever-increasing demand for power. We need coal, we need oil, we need nuclear power to feed the engines of progress. Efforts to decrease power use certainly work against this trend, but the environmental motive also works towards smaller and smaller power sources. Speaking of which, there’s the trend towards minaturization, which means that we want to stuff more and more energy into smaller and smaller packages.

What it all adds up to is easier access to bigger power sources, and that’s as much an enabler of terrorism as it is an enabler of a better lifestyle.

This is central to Bush’s rationale for his foreign policy. Where once it required a full scale invasion to kill 3,000 American citizens, now it’s depressingly simple. Bush argues that we must therefore stamp out rogue nations in order to protect ourselves from the terrorists. I argue that he’s not learning from the lessons of history: why should we expect the trend to stop here? The same tools once available only to nation states are now available to state backed terrorists. Soon enough, they’ll be available to the likes of the Shining Path, Aum Shinryu, and Tim McVeigh.

Any policy which is intended to minimize the terrorist threat must take this trend into account. Bush’s policy fails to do so. I have some ideas of my own, and that will be the next post I make along these lines.

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