Thinking Long-Term


by Graeme Wood

I had dinner tonight at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the most prominent target in the November 2008 attacks that killed 173 people in Bombay.  Parts of the hotel remain shut, but the tower section is open, and still quite grand.  If there are bullet-holes in the lobby, some putty-knife artiste has covered them up expertly.

The Times of India reports today on a totally unrelated violent movement: a Maoist-Naxalite insurgency that has been running for years in eastern states.  The Government of India has estimated there are 20,000 armed fighters inside India's borders.  Six thousand people have already died, with numbers trending toward more death every year.

Naxalism isn't new.  What captured my attention about the story was the statement that the insurgency vows to achieve victory in "2050, some say in 2060." Is it a good or a bad sign when your enemies take such a patient approach?  Terror warnings in the US seem always to stress the threat right now, and the most optimistic jihadists used to prophesy a restored Caliphate in months, not years.  A 60-year forecast could mean a very weak enemy or a very determined one, or both.

(Photo by Flickr user Swami Stream under a Creative Commons License.)