Of the kidnappings in Beirut during the 1980s, Bernard Lewis writes in today's WSJ:
There was only one attack on Soviet citizens, when one diplomat was killed and several others kidnapped. The Soviet response through their local agents was swift, and directed against the family of the leader of the kidnappers. The kidnapped Russians were promptly released, and after that there were no attacks on Soviet citizens or installations throughout the period of the Lebanese troubles.
The WSJ kindly posted Lewis' entire essay today on Opinion Journal. His thesis is that the Islamists think the US is a weak and decadent culture and that what we did in Afghanistan and began in Iraq were anomalies.