John Mueller(1), in an Op-Ed article in the New York Times a few months ago, proposed a theory that the non-existence of major terrorist activities and the relative absence of "horrible and disgusting deaths" is a sign of Al Qaeda's (and other Islamic terrorists') waning appeal and effect. He claims that the lack of such significant activities since 9/11 are an indication of this. After all, he writes, a full five years has already passed without further "horrible and disgusting deaths."
This is a meaningless period of time when considering such global events. It is quite naive, I believe, to rate the success or lack thereof, of Islamic terrorism after only five years of "relative quiescence." (1)
It served to remind me of the words attributed to Chou En-Lai, the former Chinese Prime Minister and recognized scholar, when asked by Henry Kissinger about his views of the effects on the world of the French Revolution (1789).
"Too early to tell," he reportedly answered.
(1) Mueller, John: Waiting for Al Qaeda, The New York Times, Op Ed Page, 9/9/06