It is not, as Thomas Friedman argues in The World Is Flat, that the fruits of the American experiment—free markets, property rights, tolerance, democracy, and the rule of law—have left Islam behind. On the contrary, it is Islam that has opted out of progress by allowing, promoting, and embracing centuries of reactionary and retrospective reforms that rejected the idea that humans can indeed improve their condition through reason and rationality. Muslim clerics and leaders within the impoverished nations of the Islamic world need to understand that they are responsible for the condition and grief of their people. It is Islamism's rejection of religious tolerance, democracy, and the rule of law, in conjunction with its embrace of anti-Semitism, theocracy, and sectarian strongmen exempt from law and privileged by the authority they have usurped, that is the real enemy in the Islamic world's centuries-long interaction with the United States. While Islamists skillfully manipulate the Western mass media to enunciate an à la carte menu of grievances, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century interactions show these are not the root cause of jihadi terror. Indeed, a U.S. intelligence assessment, published two years before Israel's independence and any subsequent jihadi grievance, already highlighted Islamist terrorism as a long-term threat. So long as Western officials adopt a nearsighted, grievance-based view of the roots of Islamist terror, they will embolden jihadis through appeasement. . . .In other words, Islamic terrorism is nothing new, and it ultimately has nothing to do with Israel, other than making the Land a convenient scapegoat for Islam's violence and agenda of domination.
Finally, the history of U.S. interaction with Muslim polities shows that "diplomacy backed by force" is the only effective approach to relations with them. Diplomacy is essential to ensure intentions are understood. Consistent diplomacy is essential to build the trust that majority Muslim countries need to support U.S. aims to advance Enlightenment ideals. Military weakness and the inability to project U.S. power have consistently led jihadis and Muslim kleptocrats to launch attacks against U.S. interests.