When I was writing Trends 2000 in the 1990s, it was clear to me that — fast on the heels of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the demise of Communism — the foundation was already built to support, nourish and accelerate a mindset destined to grossly miscalculate the origins of terrorism and the appropriate ways to respond to terrorist threats and actions. Here are some excerpts from my forecasts made then. Assess for yourself how relevant these are today.
In the wake of the Oklahoma horror, opposition to the bill (the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act, which expanded executive power) was overpowered by the emotional state of the nation and it sailed through the Senate. So much for Fourth Amendment Protection.
But, like the other Washington-declared wars (on drugs, on crime, and so on), this war would not be won by hiring more police, building more prisons, broadening the enforcement powers of government agencies, or depriving citizens of their constitutional rights.
As with crime and drugs, the war on terrorism would provoke impassioned rhetoric, cost billions, claim countless casualties, and do little or nothing to prevent the trend from escalating.
Terrorism no longer meant the lone anarchist with his homemade bomb. International terror had developed into a sophisticated form of guerilla warfare. And it worked.
The official response to any terrorist act was predictable: The perpetrators would be swiftly apprehended and brought to stern justice as a warning to those contemplating similar heinous deeds; new laws and tighter surveillance were needed to prevent further attacks; and future terrorists’ demands would never be negotiated.