Italy's flamboyant but more fragile democracy survived some of the earliest and nastiest terrorism. The deadliest such act in post-World War II Europe was the 1980 bombing of the Bologna train station, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds, by the right-wing Armed Revolutionary Nuclei. Among the dozens of victims of left-wing terrorism in Italy was American Gen. James L. Dozier, who was kidnapped in 1981 and held by the Red Brigades for six weeks.
Today the Red Brigades have no more than 50 members, according to the State Department's 1996 "Patterns of Global Terrorism." And the Nuclei hasn't been heard from for years; it is no longer even cited in the State Department list of dangerous groups.
As democracy has spread throughout Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa, some of the world's most notorious terrorist cells of years past have begun to disintegrate or even disappear. Peru's Shining Path has been decimated. Japan's Red Army has fewer than 30 hard-core members. Germany's Baader-Meinhof group has somewhere between 10 and 20.
Many individuals who once worked to overthrow governments have emerged from the underground to run for, and in some cases obtain, office. Venezuela's Teodoro Petkoff, a former Marxist rebel, is now minister of planning. Jose Antonio Navarro, a founder of Colombia's M-19, ran for the presidency in 1994 and is now mayor of Pasto. The largest voting bloc in Lebanon's parliament is, almost unbelievably, Hezbollah.
"Terrorism scares and kills and causes a lot of individual pain, but long term, it can't change a society. In the end, the only change it can effect is the change we do to ourselves to protect ourselves," says Anderson.
Clinton put it another way. "We cannot let terror win," he said before departing for a scheduled weekend at Camp David, Md. "That is not the American way."
But Americans have already shown they know that.