By Max Fisher
For all the years of worry that terrorists would develop more sophisticated methods, Thursday’s attack in Nice realized a fear that turned out to be far worse: a form of violence so crude that it renders many of our usual defenses useless.
The attacker, in ramming a plain white truck through crowds of holiday revelers, killed 84 people and remade an everyday vehicle, a familiar sight on streets around the world, into an object of menace and fear.
No group has claimed the attack. The attacker’s motivation remains unknown, as do questions of whether he acted alone.
And yet this act, whatever its particulars, represents the culmination of long-building trends, in which terror tactics become more rudimentary and the targets more random. It is forcing a recognition that security and intelligence measures, long the core of Western thinking, are of limited utility and can never provide total safety from an individual who decides to kill.
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