Arguably the most successful act of revolutionary
terror was the June 1914 assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand in
Believing his mission to murder the heir to the Austrian throne had failed,
Gavrilo Princip suddenly found himself standing a few feet away from the royal
car. He fired twice, mortally wounding the archduke and his wife.
Tactically, that act of terror eliminated the reformist Ferdinand, who meant
to address the grievances of his Slav subjects by granting them greater autonomy
and equality with Austrians and Hungarians inside the empire.
Strategically, the assassination succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its
Black Hand plotters.
Hard-liners in Austria demanded an ultimatum to Serbia. When her demands were
not met in full, Vienna declared war. Czar Nicholas mobilized in support of
Russia's little Slav brothers. The Kaiser ordered mobilization. When the French
refused to declare neutrality, Germany declared war. In hours, the British
Cabinet had reversed itself to back war with Germany on behalf of Belgium and
Princip had lit the fuse that set off in six weeks the greatest war in history.
While Serbia suffered per capita losses as great as any other nation, she ended
the Great War as the lead nation in a Kingdom of the South Slavs embracing
Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians, Albanians, Montenegrins, Macedonians, and Hungarians.
The Habsburg Empire at which Princip had struck had vanished.
Last week's Mumbai massacre seems a similar triumph of terror.
Tactically, by sending a platoon of suicide warriors into India's financial
capital, terrorizing a train station, two five-star hotels, and a Jewish center,
and killing nearly 200 in over 60 hours, the plotters assured themselves of
round-the-clock worldwide television coverage.
In so riveting the world's attention for four days, this terrorist atrocity
was a success.
And by using Pakistanis to perpetrate the massacres and Karachi as port of
embarkation, the plotters focused India's rage exactly where they want it,
against Pakistan. By this slaughter in India's commercial capital, the Islamists
have destroyed the détente Pakistan was seeking with India and pushed
both toward war. Out to murder moderation and stoke militancy, the terrorists
Years ago, this writer observed:
"Terrorism is a tactic, a technique, a weapon that fanatics, dictators,
and warriors have resorted to through history. If, as Clausewitz wrote, war
is the continuation of politics by other means, terrorism is the continuation
of war by other means."
Yet terrorism – the killing of innocents for political ends – can only triumph
if the aggrieved play the role the terror masters have scripted for them in
their bloody drama. What, then, may we surmise are the tactical and strategic
goals of the terror masters of Mumbai?
To humiliate, wound, and outrage India in her pride as a great new democratic
and economic power in Asia. To imperil Mumbai's future as a safe and secure
financial capital in which to live, work, and invest. To awe the world and
inspire Islam's young by their audacity. To attain immortality.
But the strategic target of the militants is the Pakistani government.
Pakistan's offenses? Cooperating with America in Afghanistan and the border
region, battling al-Qaeda and the Taliban, withdrawing from the fight for Kashmir,
seeking peace with a Hindu nation where 170 million Muslims are denied their
place in the sun.
President Bush should pray New Delhi does not adopt his Bush Doctrine of preventive
war or the Cheney Doctrine: "Even if there's just a 1 percent chance of the
unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty." For war in the subcontinent
between India and Pakistan would be a calamity and a triumph for the terrorists
across what Zbigniew Brzezinski has called the "Global Balkans."
War would pit two nuclear powers against each other for the first time since
the Sino-Soviet border clash of 1969. It would spawn bloodshed between Muslim
and Hindu in India. It would see the collapse of Pakistan, its possible dissolution,
and a military dictator in a nation already divided against itself over whether
to continue resisting al-Qaeda and the Taliban, or cut ties to the unpopular
Wounded and enraged by the atrocities of 9/11, America lashed out, first at
Afghanistan and the al-Qaeda source of the conspiracy, then at Iraq, which
had nothing to do with the attacks. Thus did the Bush administration disunite
its nation and forfeit its mandate.
For India to lash out at a Pakistan that was not complicit in the Mumbai crimes
against humanity, but harbors elements within that are guilty and are celebrating,
would be as great a mistake.
India and Pakistan both have a vital interest in no new war.
But a new war is exactly what the terrorists killed for and died for.
Should it come, they win – and enter history as revolutionary terrorists alongside
Princip and the perpetrators of 9/11.
COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.