All Around the World

Of course, when you see a spectacular terrorist attack in India, it’s natural for some eyes to start looking across the border to Pakistan, and then one starts to worry that the subcontinent’s cold war might turn hot:

Counterterrorism officials and experts said the scale, sophistication and targets involved in the Mumbai attacks were markedly different from previous terrorist plots in India and suggested the gunmen had received training from outside the country. But they cautioned it was too soon to tell who may have masterminded the operation, despite an assertion from a previously unknown Islamist radical group.

Officials in India, Europe and the United States said likely culprits included Islamist networks based in Pakistan that have received support in the past from Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. […]

“This is a new, horrific milestone in the global jihad,” said Bruce Riedel, a former South Asia analyst for the CIA and National Security Council and author of the book, “The Search for Al Qaeda.” “No indigenous Indian group has this level of capability. The goal is to damage the symbol of India’s economic renaissance, undermine investor confidence and provoke an India-Pakistani crisis.”

A lot of basically sensible people, including folks like these and these who may well find themselves with positions in the Obama administration, have suggested that maybe we don’t want to throw the alleged baby of preventive war out with the bathwater of Bushism. I always think people thinking along these lines need to keep in mind that the United States isn’t the only country on the planet. I don’t think we want a world in which India claims to have a U.S.-endorsed right to launch preventive military strikes on Pakistan, or a world in which Pakistani policymaking is dominated by fear of a potentially imminent preventive Indian military attack.