The bad news is that terrorism like that in London is very difficult to stop in an open society. I don't see how the police can prevent someone from carrying a bomb the size of a backpack onto a bus or a train track. Anyone with a smidgeon of creativity can think of a million ways to destroy things or kill people. But before we conclude that the sky is falling, we need to also look at the good news: There aren't very many people trying to carry out such acts...yet.
Hopefully, this won't change. It's said that violence is practiced because it works. But in case of the London terrorism, I can't see it accomplishing much. If intensified over time, it would, in the worst case, merely lead to the creation of strong police states in the West (such as that of China). While that would make me miserable, I don't see how it would help some small group achieve its geopolitical objectives.
So to return to the original question of what can be done, I'd offer the following steps:
- As a stop-gap measure, governments need to limit immigration (legal and illegal) from areas that export terrorism.
- Citizens need to retake control of government activities to prevent small elite cliques from funding terrorists for their own objectives (i.e., economic and geopolitical ends). A modern example is the funding of the Taliban in Afghanistan or the support of Saddam (which started way back in the Kennedy administration). When I brought this up before elsewhere, the example of funding Stalin against Hitler was brought up, but the comparison is outlandish. Some third-world government not willing to do business with a U.S. oil company is hardly a "Hitler."
- In order for citizens to retake control of government activities, secret operations conducted by the CIA and other intelligence groups should be eliminated. To have a democracy, we have to know what the U.S. government is doing.
- U.S. policy needs to be consistent and moral. In order for this to happen, the U.S. population needs to educate itself about the world and retake power from large corporations and wealthy, elite individuals. Corporations aren't moral--they exist solely to make a buck. In many cases, the interests of people around the world and large corporations diverge.
- Nationalism should be abandoned. The biggest blow to terrorism is the creation of a world in which people look at each other as people like themselves. Flag-waving simply stresses divisions.
- Citizens of the world need to create a collective will that exist apart from national interests (which are primarily determined by corporate interests). They need to collectively exert pressure on all governments to move towards long-term solutions that promote fairness and justice in place of narrow policy objectives based on gaining competitive advantage.