Yugoslavia: Terror’s End and Our Own

America was helpless in deterring a power that had initiative but no face. [The United States] was humiliated in a unique way in the history of empires. Once America recovers from the shock, it must determine the origin of terrorism and then decide how to act. After what has happened, there is no clear answer.

Part of the solution is eliminating those forces involved in the informal global terrorist movement. This is a movement that the United States has tried to defeat or flatter, but it has never sought to understand it. The public of the world’s greatest power—if indeed it remains the greatest power—will demand answers. Politicians will not know how to provide them, but they will certainly find some. Authorities will seek targets of reprisal, and this will represent a new risk of global violence.

One cannot be an optimist. Those who have shaken America and the entire world in this spectacular and terrifying way know no constraints. We don’t know what their next act will be, but we cannot rule it out.