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The Best Defense Against Islamist Terrorism Is to Give No Offense

When the US kills Muslim children, it creates Muslim terrorists. (Photo: bymerobotics.com)

When the US kills Muslim children, it creates Muslim terrorists. These Afghan children were killed in a 2013 drone strike in Kunar province. (Photo: bymerobotics.com)

In the wake of last weekend’s stabbing and bombing attacks in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey — all apparently acts of Islamist terror, President Barack Obama said Americans will defeat such terrorism “by showing those who want to do us harm that they will never beat us.” That’s a marked improvement over George W. Bush’s “they hate us for our freedoms” rhetoric, but it is still a highly disingenuous and willfully ignorant statement. We cannot defeat terrorism with bombs and bombast. We can, however, defeat — or at least greatly reduce— Islamist terror by ending the killing, maiming and displacement of millions of Muslims, by ending support for brutal dictators throughout the Muslim world and by ending unconditional support for Israel’s illegal occupation and settler colonization of Palestine.

I often say that Islamist terrorists don’t attack countries that don’t attack them. To prove my point, I’ve made the following two lists of the world’s nations. The first list is comprised of nations involved in military campaigns or occupations in Muslim lands since the start of the US-led “War on Terror.” The second list is made up of the nations which have wisely refrained from such interventions. Of the 96 nations on the latter list, none have ever experienced an Islamist terror attack over the past 20 years. On the other hand, 26 of the 52 countries intervening in Muslim lands have had their homeland, citizens or business attacked by Islamist terrorists since 1996. Most of the countries on the interventionist list sent a relative handful of troops to fight or assist in Afghanistan, Iraq or both; often they did so under tremendous US pressure. Of the 17 countries that sent more than 1,000 troops to Afghanistan and/or Iraq, only five — Georgia, Poland, Romania, South Korea and Ukraine — have been spared bloodshed at the hands of Islamist terrorists. Nations that never before knew Islamist terror, including Australia, Britain and Spain, suffered devastating terror attacks in the wake of their participation in the US war against terrorism.

There are those who claim that Islamist extremists would continue to target Americans and other non-Muslims until all the world is either Islamic, tributary or dead. Fiery proclamations by members of the fanatical jihadist fringe aside, this sort of speculation is most commonly heard among Islamophobes of various stripes. We would do better to listen to the words of the terrorists themselves or better yet, our own government in one of its rare moments of clarity. Here’s the Defense Department, back in 1997:

Historical data show a strong correlation between US involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States. In addition, the military asymmetry that denies nation states the ability to engage in overt attacks against the United States drives the use of transnational actors.

Former president and Nobel Peace laureate Jimmy Carter understands Islamist terrorists hate us not for our freedoms, but rather for US policies and actions in the Muslim world:

“We sent Marines into Lebanon and you only have to go to Lebanon, to Syria or to Jordan to witness first-hand the intense hatred among many people for the United States because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers — women and children and farmers and housewives — in those villages around Beirut. … As a result of that… we became kind of a Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful. That is what precipitated the taking of our hostages and that is what has precipitated some of the terrorist attacks.”

Now for that list… I’ve excluded countries in which Muslims comprise a majority or plurality of the population. Many of these have internal conflicts between Muslim sects or are ruled by authoritarian regimes targeted by Islamist extremists. Countries in bold have experienced Islamist terror attacks on their soil, or targeting their citizens or businesses abroad.

Countries Invading/Occupying/Attacking Muslims:

Armenia- 130 troops to Afghanistan, 46 troops to Iraq
Australia- “War on Terror” invader
Azerbaijan- 184 troops to Afghanistan, 250 troops to Iraq
Belgium- “War on Terror” invader
Bulgaria- “War on Terror” invader
Canada- “War on Terror” invader
Central African Republic- Majority Christian; ethnic cleansing of Muslims
China- Government campaign against Uighurs
Czech Republic- 458 troops to Afghanistan, 300 troops to Iraq
Denmark- “War on Terror” invader
Dominican Republic- 302 troops to Iraq
El Salvador- 380 troops to Iraq
Estonia- 250 troops to Afghanistan, 40 troops to Iraq
France- “War on Terror” invader
Georgia- “War on Terror” invader
Germany-“War on Terror” invader
Honduras- 368 troops to Iraq
Hungary- 360 troops to Afghanistan, 300 troops to Iraq
Iceland- 2 troops to Iraq
India- Occupation of Kashmir
Israel- Occupation of Palestine, Settlements
Italy- “War on Terror” invader
Japan- 600 troops to Iraq
Kenya- War against Islamist extremists
Latvia- 136 troops to Iraq
Lithuania- 268 troops to Afghanistan, 120 troops to Iraq
Macedonia- 244 troops to Afghanistan, 77 troops to Iraq
Moldova- 24 troops to Iraq
Mongolia- 180 troops to Iraq
Myanmar- War against Rohingya
Netherlands- “War on Terror” invader
New Zealand- 191 troops to Afghanistan, 61 troops to Iraq
Nicaragua- 230 troops to Iraq
Nigeria- War against Islamist extremists
Norway- 500 troops in Afghanistan, 150 troops to Iraq
Philippines- War against Islamist extremists
Poland- “War on Terror” invader
Portugal- 145 troops to Afghanistan, 128 troops to Iraq
Romania- “War on Terror” invader
Russia- Chechnya; War against Islamist extremists
Slovakia- 110 troops to Iraq
Slovenia- 90 troops to Afghanistan
South Korea- “War on Terror” invader
South Sudan- War against Islamist extremists
Spain- “War on Terror” invader
Sweden- 900 troops to Afghanistan
Thailand- War against Islamist extremists
Tonga- 55 troops to Iraq
Uganda- War against Islamist extremists
Ukraine- “War on Terror” invader
United Kingdom- “War on Terror” invader
United States of America- War on Terror” invader

Countries Not Invading/Occupying/Attacking Muslims:

Andorra
Angola
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Austria
Bahamas
Barbados
Belarus
Belize
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Botswana
Brazil
Burundi
Cabo Verde
Cambodia
Cameroon
Chile
Colombia
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
Costa Rica
Cote d’Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Dominica
Ecuador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Fiji
Finland
Gabon
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guyana
Haiti
Ireland
Jamaica
Kiribati
Laos
Lesotho
Liberia
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Malawi
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Monaco
Montenegro
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
North Korea
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Suriname
Swaziland
Switzerland
Taiwan
Timor-Leste
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Vatican City
Venezuela
Vietnam
Zambia
Zimbabwe

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