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Perhaps the only mitigating factor is that the Islamic radicals tend to be pretty stupid and would have a hard time carrying out a nuclear attack. Yes, Bin Laden was able to assemble a crack team and they were indeed successful at pulling off a spectacular attack 6 years ago, but their method was crude and relied on brute force. Their operation was not very sophisticated, not near the kind of sophistication that would be required to smuggle a nuke out of Pakistan and into a western city and set it off. I don't know anything about nuclear weapons, but I'd imagine that setting one off would require a fair bit of knowledge.

However, smuggling a nuclear weapon into a port city by sailing yacht would be easy. Yachts come across the horizon all the time and enter port cities, and very few of them are boarded by the Coast Guard. They attract no attention and they have the capacity to carry a large weapon - nuclear or biological.

But yes, as more and more nations get the bomb, the chances of one getting in the wrong hands grows by the day. And there is little doubt that there are radicals who wouldn't hesitate to use it, with glee and praises to Allah. But you can't help but wonder, would the terrorists consider the consequences? If a nuclear weapon was detonated in a western city by Islamists, is there any doubt the galvanizing effect it would have on the civilized world? Just as Nazism and Imperialism were stamped out in WW2, would not Islam itself be targeted by the west if it were proven that Islamists were behind such an attack?


The West will probably lose a city or two; but after this, the Muslim world will lose many cities, many hundred of million of people and, for sure, Mecca and Medina.

In Europe, they will be lucky if they are able to leave alive.


What I am most concerned with is the nukes.


Most unstable
Pakistan is the most unstable country with a composite score of 46. It is ruled by General Pervez Musharraf who came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999.
"President Pervez Musharraf's crackdown against extremists is unlikely to ease political pressures on his government," said analysts at the Eurasia Group. "The heavy hand displayed in the government's dealing with radicals occupying the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) and its renewed commitment to fight extremism, while improving Musharraf's standing with moderate secularists, triggered a backlash from religious conservatives."
Last month, commandos stormed Islamabad's Red Mosque after a week of sporadic gun battles with suspected Islamic militants, resulting in more than 180 deaths and marking one of the most violent days in the capital's recent history.
Despite heightened political risk, Pakistan is attracting the attention of some equity strategists who see its stock market as a bargain compared to regional peers. Read more about Pakistan.


Foreign investors have so far bypassed Pakistan in favor of other emerging markets where the political situation looks less dicey. That's little surprise given Pakistan's ongoing efforts to walk a delicate balancing act in the war against terrorism, while maintaining regional and domestic security.
It also faces the uphill battle in pulling off nationwide elections later this year, the second since President Pervez Musharraf came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999. The stakes where highlighted last month when commandos stormed Islamabad's Red Mosque after a week of sporadic gun battles with suspected Islamic militants, resulting in more than 180 deaths and marking one of the most violent day in the capital's recent history.
Analysts, however, caution against taking too dark a view.
HSBC's Evans described the political situation as "clearly a worry" after visiting Pakistan for the first time in early July as part of fact-finding mission to learn more about the nation's economy and stock market. He toured major cities for four days during the height of what became the mosque siege, a week of terrorist bombings and a 7% plunge in the Karachi 100 index.
While it wasn't the most auspicious time to be visiting, Evans said the mood on the streets was calmer than headlines were making out.
"It reminded me a bit of London in the 1980s when you were getting IRA bombs," he said. "Frankly the risk was very small and people kind of shrugged it off and had a fatalistic attitude to it.
"When you drive around the streets, it's absolutely business as normal, markets are full. People are really not worried about this."
Looking beyond the street battles, Evans said he was impressed by what was taking shape among company balance sheets and efforts by the government to reform the economy and privatize state enterprises.
"The fundamentals of the Pakistan equity market look fairly attractive," Evans wrote in a research note following the trip. "Once the political uncertainty has cleared, and our feeling is that it may by the end of the year, this is a market that Asia investors should have on their radar screens."
Evans said he was inspired to visit Pakistan after requests from clients for more information about the country.
Strong earnings growth
Earnings growth of the 14 companies in the MSCI Pakistan index have averaged 18% over the past five years and are expected to remain on an upbeat trend after dipping to 6% this year. Consensus estimates call for 15% earnings growth in 2008, and 14% in 2009, according to data-tracking firm IBES.
Pakistan's economy has also been on something of a tear. Gross domestic product growth has averaged 6.9% over the past five years and despite a cooling this year, analysts expect the economy to reaccelerate.
"Pakistan's economic expansion, initially bankrolled by a positive money supply shock, has transformed into a domestic consumption boom that is both bonafide and self sustaining," wrote Ahsan Javed Chishty, an analyst with BMA Capital in Karachi. In January, he forecast real economic growth of up to 6.8% in 2007, but says that estimate now looks too conservative.
Shares listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange have also been performing well. Since 2002, the MSCI Pakistan Index has risen by about 585%, trailing only Indonesia's 680% gain as the best performing market in Asia. The benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange index of 100 leading companies has risen 35.7% year-to-date, and is up 29% over the past 12 months, following a consolidation between August and December.
Strategists say the rally could have further to go with stock valuations underpinned by an attractive 5% yield. The Karachi Stock Exchange, the larger of the country's two bourses, has 657 listed companies and a combined market capitalization of $68 billion.


Saul Wall

I doubt that a nuke attack on one or more Western cities would have much of a political effect. I know that sounds stupid and I am not saying that a large number of doves would be converted to hawks and even increase the rate of apostasy among Muslims but there would also be a large number of people who would:
a) Blame Bush for the nuke(s) and demand "the truth"
b) Rationalize the nuke(s) and blame the West
c) Condemn any attempt to confront this new threat as "backlash".

Also, if al Qaeda uses the nukes on Israel instead of the US or Europe the political situation will remain especially unchanged. I suspect that Mecca and Medina will never be targets by state actors unless democracy ends in a Western nation with nukes and non-state actors would find them difficult targets even if they could easily get their hands on their own nukes.


The deployment of a nuclear weapon by enemies in North America or a US-occupied state will result in a green light for the US to use its nuclear arsenal. This might be a good thing, sad to say. I bet those dirty muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere would smarten up under the spectre of vaporization. And I doubt there would be much global outcry. The whole muslim world is a scourge-- best to wipe it clean and start over.

Saul Wall

"The deployment of a nuclear weapon by enemies in North America or a US-occupied state will result in a green light for the US to use its nuclear arsenal."

I don't know who owns that green light but even some of the strongest critics of Islam would not see it. The enemy does all sorts of things that are not realistic options for us.

Islam is the scourge, not "dirty" Muslims. Many Muslims are good people who are trying to delude themselves about the nature of Islam so they will not have to face the truth about the system that they and their ancestors have been enslaved by; the system that their friends and family continue to be enslaved by. Even if wiping out hundreds of millions of Muslims were ethical it would not be practical. The specter of vaporization would have little effect to people who believe that judgment day is near and that dieing for the faith is the highest possible act and taking actions like nuking Mecca would have the effect of requiring all Muslims who have not done the Hajj to die in jihad since that is the only thing that Muslims can do to compensate for not conforming to the pillars of Islam of which the Hajj is one.


Yes, I should have wrote Islam, not muslims.

Despite some of the more radical islamic muslims believing that martyrdom is a valiant act, I bet the logical, life-loving other 95% of muslims would bitch slap any bomb-strapping terrorist friend or family member if their own survival was imminently and assuredly doomed.


Well we seem to be at a conundrum here. It has been stated in many writings that by 2050, singularity will have made just about all this fade into meaningless babble. However if a nuclear attack does happen by 2020, even if it is just one, technology will be geared toward other sectors rather then bio-engineering and the like.
1.I have worked security for many years, and have found out that there is a way around any security device no matter how sophisticated.
2.Dave- You stated 'Islamic radicals tend to be pretty stupid and would have a hard time carrying out a nuclear attack'. Big mistake there buddy. Anyone in Iraq, or Afghanistan will testify the opposite. They are resourceful and crafty. Even more disturbing, they have such a staunch belief, that the derive insane amounts of persistence and resilience. After all, they made 9-11 happen didn't they?
3.The human element has a way of throwing a monkey-wrench in anything. Think about it. People tend to get very nervous around the unknown. Now let's say a nuke drops. Can you say chaos? College students will be protesting for one side or the other. People will be afraid to leave their homes from fear. One side of the government will be blaming the other for their oversight that allowed the catastrophe to happen. Will 30 years be enough of a recovery time for 2050?
My conclusion is that is long as we remain the only country on the face of God's green earth that plays by the rules (at least as far as great atrocities in the last 100 years goes), we will be unable to remain strong after such a disturbance. Unless our behaviour and character changes more in the next 100 years. GK, what's your take on this?


PS.- can you check my site out and give your opinion please?
http://www.davewissues.com .



While nuclear terrorism will kill millions, it certainly does not stop the rate of technological innovation.

Every major calamity that the world went through did not stop technological innovation. In many cases, technology even speeded up.

Think WWII inventions, WWI inventions, Cold War inventions.

So while it sucks for those who die, those who don't still experience technological innovation for (mostly) good, but also sometimes bad.


I have no doubts or arguments with your statement. After WW2 was ended by the Fat Man and Little Boy, Japan went into a major technological change. However it must be noted that at the time, nearly the entire world was at war (hence the World War title), so it was looked upon at the time, as an ongoing act of war. If we get hit by a nuke in the next 3 decades when the rest of America is at peace, it will be by total surprise. Now I am going to make a quick jump to correlate an idea.
Singularity will be dependent on more then just bio-engineering, and nano-technology. It depends on AI constructs that learn at a exponential rate. If I may say so, military and medical technology will be in great demand (if we got hit by a 'surprise nuke'). Law enforcement will no doubt be needed to contain the confusion. Many will believe that the apocalypse has come.
Also keep in mind, that the nukes dropped in Japan are not even close to the size of the ones that underwent development after that. The impact will not be the only attack either. Once a nuke is dropped on US soil, a brief moment of weakness will occur. The question at that point then becomes, who will take full advantage? Especially seen as wise many of our soldier are overseas. Guard units included.
People will tell you that by then, many new presidents will have come and gone. But trends have been proven over and over, and cannot be broken. In 91 we had Somalia. In 2001, we had the taliban. By 2011, we might just have Dar-fur.And so on, and so on. Each conflict gets bigger and bigger, and each one we go through, leaves us more and more spread out.
I am very much aware that technology will continue to rise at the rate spoken of in the singularity concept. Regardless of what happens. However I do not understand how we will be able to continue AI development. I am also curious to what work is currently being done with AI, and what the progress has been the last 30 years. I would be greatly appreciative if you could give me a good link (please no pop-science BS, though I know you are much better then that :-) , to AI information.



I feel that I must add that a good amount of America does not pay attention to such matters (it is outside of their comfort zone so they do not like to even talk about it). Therefore, they will not find out about the half of it until it happens, and then when it does, will depend on only a half-reliable news source to tell them 'the truth about what happened'(stifled laugh).
It has been said that the 'smart people' do not get to heavily involved because they know better. On an individual level, most Americans are smart and reasonable. But more often then not,they have the 'herd-mentality' in high gear, making the outcome of this potential situation, and the long term effects, highly unpredictable. This raises the age-old, then what? question.
Also, a trend (whether exponentially increasing or not) cannot continue it's course forever. It either plateaus at some point, or drops.
I have heard the argument that the reason why all the trends were broken in the past, was that nothing was developed enough to make it continue to grow. My burning question now is, what makes this time any different?
Sorry GK, I am not trying to quibble, or be ignorant, I just want to know the basis for these thoughts.


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