A theme constantly repeated both by the internationalist left and the isolationist right is that Islamic terrorism is a backlash or blowback against our foreign policy. Exponents of this point of view, whether it is Bill Ayers or Pat Buchanan, echo the same list of Muslim grievances against America and imply that if we simply left the Muslims alone, they in turn would leave us alone.
The internationalists and isolationists who are expert at offering the most cynical and conspiratorial readings of American foreign policy, also inevitably offer the most optimistic and naive readings of Muslim expansionism. That double standard is a mandatory requirement for blaming America first and blaming Islam never. Instead Muslims are treated as pinballs who only act violently in response to our aggression.
This pinball theory of Islamic victimization is used to sell absurdities such as the Cycle of Violence theory, which argues that if people stopped fighting Islamic terrorism it would go away, or the They Hate Us Because of Our Foreign Policy theory which pretends that Islamic terrorism is a justified response to our liberation of Kuwait, protection of Saudi Arabia and foreign aid to Israel. Both theories dehumanize Muslims by assume that the Ummah has no larger agenda than just wanting to be left alone.
Far left and far right critics of America, such as Ayers and Buchanan, routinely charge America with that dreaded "I" word, Imperialism. But it is the rising Caliphate that practices actual imperialism, spreading the faith by the sword, expanding its dominions by exploiting Muslim fifth columns around the world, and murdering anyone in its way. Muslim corporations from the oil rich gulf states leverage their wealth to promote their influence in the United States and Europe. Muslim nations band together in the UN to outlaw any speech they consider blasphemous, even when that speech takes place in non-Muslim countries.
When Obama bows to the Saudi King, when tax dollars are used to repay US oil companies whose property was nationalized by the Saudis, when Saudi lobbyists hold high positions in the government, when terrorists out of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia murder thousands of Americans while their countries profit from US foreign aid and rising oil prices from the aforementioned nationalized US oil companies, when Islamic leaders promote death and terror against the infidels, while demanding unflinching respect for their beliefs-- there you can see true imperialism.
There was a time when Islamic terrorism was about foreign policy, but that time has long passed for Europe, where Islamic terrorism is now a matter of domestic policy. It is quickly becoming a matter of domestic policy in America as well. Because while Westerners may divide Islamic grievances into domestic and foreign spheres, Muslims themselves make no such distinction except within their own nations.
The rise of an Islamic minority in a non-Muslim country to the Muslim mind demands the imposition of Islamic law, since all other forms of jurisprudence are illegitimate and inferior in comparison to it. If that request is not granted, then Muslims naturally have the "right" to rise up against their oppressors. If the request is granted, the first seeds of an Islamic takeover have been planted. Soon disputes between Muslims and non-Muslims will have to be tried in accordance with Islamic law. Blasphemy must be outlawed. And Islamic law must step by step become the basis of the nation's legal system. Eventually the nation's indigenous legal system is so weak and inferior that it is wholly swallowed up by a little problem named Sharia.
When Muslims speak of fighting an American or Western empire, they don't mean it in quite the sense that Ron Paul or Cindy Sheehan do. They mean it in the sense of obliterating the Pax Americana, the hegemony of the Western powers in the military, economic and cultural spheres-- and replacing it with their own. The Ummah is not searching for some Benetton/UNICEF fantasy of global co-existence. It is playing a zero sum game from which there is no exit. The Islamic birth rate combined with their domestic impoverishment and oppression stimulate immigration, the growing treasure houses of the oil rich states are used to buy power and influence-- and to do what all royal houses do, extend their power and dream of global ambitions.
American and European internationalists are still wedded to Soviet propaganda, which with the flexibility of Communist dogma was willing to embrace anyone at war with the West as an enemy of capitalism. This flexibility allowed them to embrace Hitler and Nazi Germany as victims of Western Imperialism (at least until German tanks swept across the border). Embracing Islamism seems almost like a trivial contortion of principles at this point.
American isolationists like Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul still think that bashing American foreign policy and Israel is a cure all for all of Islam's ails, a foolish cowardice that they share with many tottering European governments who imagine the same thing. While Islamists such as Bin Laden do indeed resent America's ties to the governments of Egypt, Yemen, Israel or the House of Saud-- that is only because we stand in the way of their ambition to take over those countries, a move that would quadruple the world's terrorist quota. One might as well argue that the solution to race riots is to appoint Al Sharpton president, an absurd premise that neither Buchanan nor Paul would sign on to at home, but that they somehow seem to think would solve all our problems abroad.
While European right wing isolationists have generally learned that playing the foreign policy card or taking out and polishing one's antique anti-semitism for display, as the likes of Buchanan are wont to do, are no answer, their solutions depend on isolationism combined with a limited domestic crackdown are no answer either. That might have been enough in 1968, but probably not even then. It certainly would not be enough now. Not in a world where the Caliphate is organized enough to sow domestic terrorism around the world, while keeping a death grip on the UN and the international energy trade. Not in a world in which NATO warplanes bombed a country to rubble because it dared stand up to Islamic separatists. Not in a world in which international boycotts are organized by the left against Israel for simply building a wall to keep the terrorists on their side of the border. Not in a world in which the ministers of every civilized nation tremble when the Caliphate squeaks.
One cannot simply build a wall and then wait out the worst of it. Because the worst of it is yet to come. If darkness spreads across Europe and the world, then Fortress Britannia will not wait it out alone. Not without cutting off international trade, ending free elections in which any more liberal party could win, developing a nuclear shield and enough weaponry to stand off all the combined forces that the UN or the remains of NATO could field. In short it isn't feasible. If a patient falls ill, he cannot simply wall off the disease in his foot or his right arm. And like it or not, the modern world has become far too interconnected for isolationism to be a survival strategy anymore.
There is no help for it, but to form an alliance of nations, an alliance of religions, an alliance of philosophies and civilizations, from the east to the west. That alliance is not yet here, but it must come, if we are to survive what waits ahead for us.