Assessment: This trend is unlikely to change in the next decade and relatively unlikely to change in the next 20 years. A permanent end to the international terrorist threat would require a broad philosophical and cultural change in Islam that makes terrorists pariahs in their own communities. No such change is on the horizon.
Implications: Terrorism against the West is likely to grow, not decline, when fighters trained and blooded in the Iraq war are able to turn their attention elsewhere.
Western corporations may have to devote more of their resources to self-defense, while accepting smaller than-expected profits from operations in the developing countries.
Like the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania before them, and the bombings of the Madrid rail system and London subways since then, any attacks on major corporate facilities will be designed for maximum destruction and casualties. Bloodshed for its own sake has become a characteristic of modern terrorism.
Where terrorism is most common, countries will find it difficult to attract foreign investment, no matter how attractive their resources.
Though Islamic terrorists form only a tiny part of the Muslim community, they have a large potential for disruption throughout the region from Turkey to the Philippines.
The economies of the industrialized nations could be thrown into recession at any time by another terrorist event on the scale of September 11. This is particularly true of the United States. The impact would be greatest if the incident discouraged travel, as the September 11 attacks did.
The U.S. economy is being affected already by American anti-terrorism measures. Since Washington began to photograph incoming travelers and to require more extensive identification from them, tourism to the United States is off by some 30 percent. The number of foreign students coming to American universities has declined by a similar amount.
Implications for hospitality and travel: Until the terrorist problem is brought under control—probably not for at least a generation—tourism to the more volatile parts of the Middle East will be a relatively hard sell for Western vacationers, despite the appeal of historic places.
This stigma is likely to spread almost instantaneously to any destination that suffers a major terrorist incident. That threat is likely to be one of the great unpredictable risks of the international tourist industry for at least the next 20 years.
Terrorist hazards are not limited to Muslim lands. The communist insurgency in Nepal, which now seems to be winding down, has significantly inhibited vacation travel from China and India.
American-owned facilities, and those where Americans congregate, will be favorite targets for many terrorists now being trained in Iraq and Pakistan and will have to devote more of their budgets to security.
Disgruntled employees and former employees are the single greatest threat, because they are familiar with security procedures and weaknesses. Therefore, some of the most important security measures will be invisible to customers, but highly intrusive for staff. These may include comprehensive background checks for new hires, much as airports need to screen such behind-the-scenes personnel as baggage handlers and fuel-truck drivers. Those recently fired are a frequent source of problems.