The Social impact of the next Terror Attack on North America.

John Robb, of Global Guerrilas, has a warning.

Osama bin Laden offered a truce to America last month. This is a religiously mandated action prior to an attack. We should anticipate that new attacks on US targets will occur soon.

Robb studies International Terrorism and seems to have a very good grasp of how terrorists networks work, and why they work the way they do.

Unfortunately, he’s no psychic… and one of his main points is this…

The timing, target, and nature of the next strategic attack on the US is shrouded in uncertainty. Its arrival will be a black swan — an unexpected event that can’t be anticipated with any degree of assurance. A black swan is a unpredictable event that defies prediction.

If you “think like a terrorist”… with all thei9r media saavy, opportunistic abilities… his post starts to simply look like common sense:

Any potential symbolic terrorist attack that is less impressive than 9/11 will be a devastating blow to the moral momentum of the attacker. The diminishing returns from symbolic terrorism dictate this.

His conclusion? Another 9/11 is not likely… but it’s a black swan, so it would be completely unpredictable by definition anyway… he sees the terrorists using tactics that we have seen employed around the world, in Iraq, Russia, in Nigeria. These attacks will be against infrastructure. Oil, natural gas, and electrical hubs and infrastructure. There are thousands of miles of unprotected pipeline and grids in North America that could be attacked without anyone seeing anything. This would make finding the culprits much more difficult… and also require for less in the way of supplies.

North America is basically one economy, that means Canada is just as much of a target as the United States, if not more. We supply huge amounts of oil, and nearly all the Natural Gas that the United States consumes. Hydro-Quebec supplies the North East US with electricity and BC Hydro sells power to California.

There is no doubt in my mind that an attack *could* happen, in the US or Canada. There are points of weakness throughout the lower-48, Canada and especially Alaska and the North.

If the attacks were carried out in Canada, not only would the economic impact be bad… but what about the political fallout? Would all Americans see Canada as the Great White Danger Zone or would they realise that an unexpected attack is just that…

My point is this… Robb seems to think that the next attacks will be on the economy. Which means Canada is a prime target. If an attack, or series of attacks, are successful, then the results could be devastating not only to the Canadian and American economies, but also to the relationship between our two nations. What we see now as “tension” between our nations is really just a spat between long time friends. SOmething that will no doubt blow over in time. But, by my own observations.. I think the emotional state of the American people (especially on the Right) is so fragile, that any perceived “threat” from Canada could be very detrimental to both our economic and social well being.

All we can do is wait…unfortunately, it seems that this is an inevitable event. We are simply left to guess at the result.

4 thoughts on “The Social impact of the next Terror Attack on North America.”

  1. I guess you’ve forgotten the economic impact to the US after 9/11. We reckon it was a free fall afterwards. So I’m not sure that an attack on the economy only will be seen as anywhere near as dreadful to the “fragile” right as an attack where significant numbers of citizens die as a result.

    It’s really amusing to me to see the US Right described by a Canadian youngster as emotionally “fragile”. Huh? We must all be hiding under our beds from your perspective. It might be of interest for you to become aware that many Bush supporters are converts from the old fashioned left who think that their former compatriots have lost their minds when it comes to foreign policy and Bush hatred.

  2. Hi Jane:

    “So I’m not sure that an attack on the economy only will be seen as anywhere near as dreadful to the “fragile” right as an attack where significant numbers of citizens die as a result.”

    I beg to differ. Yes, the effect of 9/11 was significant. Most notably to the airline industry. However, as a whole, the economy didn’t deviate from it’s already anticipated path downward off the Tech Bubble high and has shown great strength in other areas (housing, service, and employment hasn’t been bad).

    The real danger from an Economic attack wouldn’t be the significance of one attack, but rather the longterm effect of a sustained campaign over 6, 12 or 18 months.

    Lets say there was an attack on an oil pipeline in Alaska in April, no casualties, but oil supplies are diminished for 8-12 weeks, as the Gulf Coast hurricanes did.

    Then, in July, an attack on a Natural Gas pipeline in Alberta. Again, no casusalties… the headlines fade after 3 weeks. People go about their lives as if nothing happened… but again, supplies are disrupted.

    August, at the height of the summer heat, a Nuclear plant in New York is damaged… quickly followed by a series of small detonations at power substations around the North East and SouthEast Ontario. The resulting blackout lasts for 5 days in most areas… 2 weeks in some.

    Now, two and two are starting to be put together. A few terrorists have been arrested, but it is clear that there are many more, and no one terrorist knows about any of the others.

    We start hearing the “pundits” talking about closing the north and south borders. Some “emergency” measures are taken to tighten security at all border crossings, squeezing the immense volume of trade into a tight funnel.

    The craziest of the talking heads (I’m thinking Tucker Carlson, Drudge, and Oreilly) start talking about “those socialist Canadians” letting the terrorists plan their terrorist plans in the comfort of their Canadian Muslim community.

    This is what i mean by “fragile”. The American population is driven by the big giant media machine. If the Media gets it in it’s head that the United States is under some sort of organized campaign of terror. Things will change. I unfortunately can’t predict how they will change. But I can predict that it will not be good for either of our economies… and that is *exactly* what the terrorists want.

  3. Uh, Chris, you’ve just described the most scintilating movie scenario I’ve heard since I read the plot of Syriana. Anything is possible, to be sure, but the speculation and prediction of the nature and targets of such specific terrorists plots seems to me to be highly imaginitive. That a series of three or so attacks would be successful is more than imaginitve IMO.

Comments are closed.