We live in an age of terrorism. Maybe humanity has always fostered terrorism. One Plains Indian tribe stealing horses from another tribe is an act of terror. The Indians needed horses to hunt bison. No horses, no eat.
Today, a single act of terror, such as running people down on the London Bridge, can have worldwide impact. The reason? Worldwide communication. Media outlets compete for readers and viewers to sell advertising time. People are fascinated by violence, probably wired in from tribalism days. Survival depended on awareness of the bad guys in order to be able to respond to them.
The response of people in Peoria to mayhem in London is fear. There is no rational reason for a Peoria sales clerk to be afraid because of some violence on another continent. But the violence elicits a fear response. We are wired for it. We tend to respond in two ways when afraid. Flight or fight.
The fight response is to go after ISIS in Syria. The warfare escalates, people are killed or they flee to Europe, sowing the seeds for more terror and increasing the alienation of the Islamic world. The flight response is to pull out of the Middle East. Let them have the place and maybe they will leave us alone. Wait, what about Israel? What about the oil? Can we let them get away with it?
Regarding Israel, there is no good answer. As long as the State of Israel is there, violence will ensue, probably for many generations. The oil? Alternate energy sources are already having an impact that will only increase, leaving the Paris Accords notwithstanding. Due to fracking technology, First World dependence on Middle East oil is decreasing daily. Oil and the Holy Land are the main reasons the First World is interested in the place.
We can continue to fortify Israel, keeping their enemies at bay, and the oil issue is taking care of itself, so let’s leave. As a result, terrorism wins. It’s an exaggeration, but the alternative seems to be nuke and pave.
There it is, the rationale for terrorism. The Middle East Muslim world lacks the resources to drive the imperialists out by conventional means, but terror is effective. In addition, all those virgins in heaven get to have some martyrs to attend to.
As for the issue of the Russians involved in the Middle East, why not let them have it? History has repeatedly proven that the people there may fight between themselves, but they will always resist invaders until they leave. Imperialism always fails when there are enough indigenous people to resist.
In North America, there was resistance, but the Indians were hopelessly outnumbered. In Latin America, the Spanish and Portuguese had to leave. The English lost their empire. Japan got whipped by picking on the wrong country. Germany made the same mistake.
Empires can expand, but history shows they almost inevitably shrink. The lesson seems to be to not try to build an empire. “Why can’t we all just get along?”