As governments become more efficient in gathering intelligence and combating terrorism, terrorists adjust. Their organizations become smaller, making them tougher to monitor or penetrate, and their targets become specific ones aimed at specific nationalities.
The flexibility of pluralist and representative societies explains the proliferation of subversive and terrorist groups. At a certain stage of the fight against terrorism, owing to the inertia of daily life and the discouragement of the masses in the face of continuous terrorist action, when no energetic reply is given to acts of violence and public opinion is divided on the matter, when murders are accepted by the population as ordinary, usual events, it can happen that the inhabitants of a country refuse to accept the seriousness of the situation or to feel themselves concerned and thus adopt the fallacious argument that the problem is exclusively a matter for the politicians. But it is precisely this collective psychological attitude that constitutes a great success for the terrorists. There is, therefore, a great need to find some means of strengthening the sense of civic duty and persuading the population to abandon its inertia and cooperate.
President Reagan's decision to intercept the plane which carried the hijackers of the Achille Lauro to Italy was such a measure, and President Mubarek's decision to storm the hijacked plane in Malta was also welcomed act.