What does it mean and what are its consequences for the United States and the world? My answer is here and the crux of my point can be found in the following excerpt:

The implications for the United States and for counterterrorism from the attacks in Mumbai can be summed up thusly: We continue to live in a dangerous world, the threat of terrorism is not a hoax and while we should not give in to fear, we should also not forswear vigilance, caution, preemptive measures and preparation. Additionally, we should abandon the fantasy that the election of Barack Obama will somehow cause other nation-states and non-state actors to somehow look at the United States differently and forswear following what they perceive to be their own interests merely because the face of the Presidency has changed.