You yourselves should trust nobody, whether individuals or countries. Treat even your friends with suspicion, for human nature is deeply corrupted through the Fall of Man from grace. Assume the worst motives lie behind people’s actions. Strike before you are struck – the great advice of Machiavelli and Clausewitz and Stalin. Assume that your own populations are driven by base motives (fear, greed, ambition) and appeal to them. You will not often be disappointed.
Try to divert attention from your plans by filling people’s minds with distractions. Divide your critics and rule them. Sow fear and distrust in everyone so that they can not form into solid opposition to you.
Here you are very wise to have talked about ‘a war on terrorism’, for the weapon of the threat of terrorism is one of the very most successful in history. Whenever the terrorists strike, ratchet up your political powers so that your weapons are stronger. Fear is a powerful emotion and most people will surrender their liberties if they fear for their lives. And of course, tell them that it is a temporary loss, which will be restored, since both their dependence on you will be increased and they may be able to rationalize away their losses and face the temporary discomforts with hope that perhaps things will get better again ‘after the war’.
Even if there are few or no actual attacks, you can easily keep the population in anxiety and even terror. You can spread reports of ‘credible sources’ which have reported ‘heightened activity’ among your enemies. Of course you cannot reveal any of the details as this would strengthen your enemies – so people just have to trust in you, so you can make up what you like, especially as there are always people out there who want to feed you with bits and pieces to justify alerts.
Take some practical steps. From time to time suddenly swoop down on ‘suspects’, arresting them in dawn raids, make sure the press is there, try to make sure they look tired and dishevelled (and preferably of a different race) for the photos. Lock them away without explicit charges. Hunt around for evidence. Mostly you will find nothing, in which case you may, if you have not tidied up your legal system sufficiently, finally be forced to release them. But that will be months later and few will notice that nothing happened. People will just remember the vigorous measures you took against likely Evil persons. This will lead to confidence in your measures, gratitude to you, and relief at disasters potentially averted. If anything really does happen afterwards elsewhere, you can point to your active measures which, unfortunately, did not quite work.
Other methods are worth using. For instance, suddenly close off parts of cities, station tanks outside airports, divert planes at the last moment, suggest that vital information of an imminent attack has been discovered and you need to raise the threat level to a high point on whatever scale you have.
We cannot emphasize enough that the great enemy to your cause is complacency. After a period of nothing particular happening, your followers may start to accept that life is full of risk, that the enemy is not as fierce or ubiquitous as you allege. They may even wonder whether the huge sacrifices you ask, the heavy taxes, the surveillance, the loss of liberties, are really justified. At this point you should inspire them with fear and terror.
If things get really quiet and complacent, try to provoke the Evil Ones into attacking you. An assassination of a few of their supposed leaders, or some ‘collateral damage’ of women and children killed when you bomb or blast your way into one of their miserable refugee camps should do the trick. After all, it is better that a few innocent people on their side should suffer in the process than that the whole momentum of your crusade should falter and people begin to ask whether the war you are fighting is largely of your own making.