Mumbai Attacks Could Be Just the Beginning…
While the world reacts in anger and grief to the terror attacks in Mumbai, it’s vitally important to recognize the environment this has occurred in. Failure to do so will lead to far worse, far bloodier confrontations in the coming weeks.
The government of India is secular… with good reason. The country is populated by Hindus and Muslims who tend to kill each other in huge numbers. In 2002, for instance, the Gujarat Riots resulted in over a thousand people killed on the streets of India. This is far from being an isolated incident. Extremists on both sides are ready to leap on any opportunity to destroy their enemies entirely.
While the Western media is playing this scene as a brazen attack on Western tourists, the Hindus of India are watching as well. It’s they who are likely to respond in the coming days, not the US military. If this happens (and I think it very likely), then there is a very real possibility of a long, sustained, and gruesome war between Muslims and Hindus in both India and Pakistan.
A lot of how this plays out has to do with how Obama and the Indian parliament react to the situation. If this is portrayed as an “evil Islamic terrorist attack”, the Hindus will rise up… with very deadly consequences. The “war on terror” speeches that play so well on Western television will only incite more attacks, more bombs, and many more dead in the coming weeks.
This is Obama’s first true test as Commander in Chief. He has to find a way to draw the people of India and Pakistan (Muslim and Hindu alike) into a dialogue against terror, but not against “Muslim extremism”. It’s a fine line to walk, but if he fails to do so now, tonight, then his years as president may well be eclipsed by outright religious warfare between (and within) two nuclear-armed countries.