Osama also exploits the falsity of another claim of nation-states, that of nationality. From Yugoslavia to India, tribal and religious affiliations surpass nominal nationality, allowing Osama to trumpet the persecution of Muslims and the understandable fact that the Christian West is not overwhelmingly concerned about Muslim lives. The secular and ethnic-blind West carved Christian East Timor out of Muslim Indonesia, but not Muslim Kashmir from India. The argument that Indonesian Christians have nowhere to go while Kashmiris can move to nearby Muslim Pakistan is too academic for Muslim crowds. Besides, the argument is false: the West doesn’t support Moro separatists in the Philippines who have no Muslim land nearby to resettle. Even with Kashmir, the Western support of India flies in the face of their professed belief in the right of self-determination; the majority of Kashmiris no doubt support secession from India. That the West similarly ignores the self-determination rights of Chechens, Basques, or Israeli Jews means nothing to agitated Muslims. The moral high ground—or rather moralism—is unsustainable in the real world, and Osama has no shortage of facts exposing the hypocrisy of the American establishment, including such extremely shameful things as American support for the Saudi regime and acquiescence to the Chinese extermination of Uighurs in return for the empty Saudi and Chinese support for the war on terror. The War on Terror itself is a major PR success for Osama. Not only did he provoke the Great Satan and survive, but the West openly welshed on its professed moral values and sided with dictators against honest Muslims. Israel, which is secular but carries religious overtones, adds to the difficulty the Christian West has in convincing the Muslims that the conflict is not about religion. Israel and the Christian world unite the very different Muslims from Morocco to Pakistan with a common hatred; common hatred cements the strongest groups.

The Western attitude developed in Arabs a child complex. They expect to be patronized by benevolent giants like America: moralistic developed societies fit the paternal cognitive mold. The Arabs don’t expect severe punishment. They rather expect the West to tolerate Osama’s misbehavior and the Iranian nuclear program alike. American missile strikes in the wake of the Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings were extremely offensive to Muslims. They were seen as cruel, disproportionate punishment. America broke the paternalistic mold without sufficient force to press the Arabs into the submissive mold of a master-servant relationship.

The West debates irrelevant questions akin to that of how many angels can dance on a pin’s tip. One such question is whether Islamists hate the West for what it does or for what it is? What one is predetermines what one does. America cannot stop buying oil from Muslims (always at ostensibly low prices), opposing (if nominally) Muslim oppression of women, broadcasting, selling, and generally interacting. If America were to withdraw from the Middle East, it would still influence the Middle East as a beacon influences ships. Muslims visiting America would bring home wondrous stories of Hollywood, affluence, freedom of the press, elections, decadence, sexual permissiveness, and atheism. America cannot withdraw from the world because the world is attracted to America. The Muslim relationship with America is that of love and hate, or rather love and jealousy. Islamists concentrate on jealousy. America is more visible, but if it disappeared Islamists would hate Spain, Russia, or whomever. Hostile ideologies clash in the global village just like hostile neighbors clash in a small village. America symbolizes the crash of the paternalist values of traditional societies which the Islamists are used to. Osama hates America because it insulted him by snatching the first jihad victory in twelve centuries. Osama is keenly aware that Stingers rather than Kalashnikoffs enabled the Afghans to win against the Soviets so quickly. Osama is also aware that he has lost all his battles against the West. Russia withdrew but America rules in Afghanistan, business is as usual in US embassies worldwide, the USS Cole is repaired, and the WTC shock is long gone without even having left a scar on the economic face of America. Osama’s hopefuls have betrayed him: Hamas rejects jihad in favor of nationalist struggle and even agrees to a cease-fire settlement with Israel. The Moro insurgency faded into insignificance. Kashmiri insurgents have proved incapable of significantly breaching the Indian line-of-control. The Chechens have reached an agreement with Moscow, Egyptian Islamic Jihad has abandoned its fight against Mubarak’s regime, terrorist organizations worldwide did not join Osama’s World Islamic Front, and common Muslims only applaud him from the sidelines. Egyptians would not even hypothetically elect Osama if he were running against Mubarak—they value stability, not jihad. They certainly wouldn’t elect Osama for a second term. Common Muslims cheer Osama as they cheer their favorite football player. They also cheered Saddam in the wake of the escalation leading to the US invasion of Iraq. To their primitive mentality, anyone who defies a giant is praiseworthy; so did Jews praise David against Goliath. Retaliation against Muslim crowds for Al Qaeda’s terrorism would turn the Muslims against Osama just like the Israeli war with Lebanon temporarily turned the locals against Hezbollah.