Why Terrorists Do Not Fear the U.S. (by Andrew Bernstein)

In his forthcoming book, “Capitalist Solutions”, Dr. Andrew Bernstein shows how individual rights and free markets are the only solution to today’s crisis and decline. He also makes some great comments about the cause of terrorism, such as the one below. “Capitalist Solutions” should be required reading for all of the Republican presidential candidates. Details on the book can be found at: www.andrewbernstein.net.


The U.S. government has consistently demonstrated that it is not merely afraid, it is terrified of the Islamists. A steady procession of U.S. presidents has relentlessly appeased the Islamists in a manner reminiscent of Chamberlain’s policy toward Hitler; if none has yet lain supine and begged the enemy’s forgiveness for America’s existence, such action is, presumably, merely a matter of time. Khomeini was wrong: the ‘Great Satan’ is a laughably inaccurate epithet. The ‘Great Wimp’ is much more truthful. Can any world power, consistently under attack

by foes murderous but easily crushed, be more pathetic than America has been for three decades? In comparison to film stars, America is not a ‘Dirty Harry,’ Clint Eastwood-style hardass, but a Woody Allen-type nerd. Khomeini and the country’s other enemies knew (and continue to know) it. For if America were truly Satanic, i.e., dangerous, her enemies would have long ago suffered the obliteration they so abundantly merit. They yet breathe only by virtue of America’s misguided concern for their values, their culture, and their worthless lives.

Perhaps, in some perverse manner, the incessant attacks on America represent a grim form of justice. For if the world’s most powerful nation, pre-eminently capable of wreaking its enemy’s destruction, refuses to defend itself, it reaps the inevitable harvest of its own milquetoast policies. If a man, regardless of immense power, lies down like a doormat, he cannot wonder that others wipe their feet on him. Nevertheless, many individual Americans, and other victims around the world, are innocent of appeasing the Islamists; it is long past time to bring justice to their murderers, and protection to those still living.

No amount of tough talk unbacked by equally tough deeds will reverse either the reality of American foreign policy or the Islamists’ perception of it.

But the utter obliteration of the Iranian regime will. In one decisive victory, America will then definitively alter thirty years of arrant and pathetic appeasement, and get the terrified attention of jihadists everywhere. It would place the United States squarely on the road to victory, and worldwide, everyone would know it. It would cow our enemies and embolden our allies. Since nothing succeeds like success, it would conjure from the woodwork supporters the nation never knew it had. Innocent human beings in India, in Russia, in Pakistan, in Sudan and other African nations, and across the Arab-Islamic world are understandably terrified of the Islamists; and would tearfully welcome such effacing of danger. Even most Europeans, while safely (and verbally) denouncing ‘U.S. imperialism,’ would, in their tiny little hearts, breathe a metaphorical sigh of relief at the excising of the real threat. (Current European attitudes are also perversely understandable; for the Islamists threaten them, and the Americans do not; they are properly unafraid to censure the nonthreat, while quailing piteously before the real one.)

The U.S. Government is frightened, paralyzed with a ‘deer in the headlights’ terror that the ‘Arab Street’ will rise, that the Middle East will be set aflame, and that America will then be immersed in a literal shooting war with not only Islamists but with virtually the globe’s entire Muslim population.

Such a conclusion is not merely mistaken; it is irrelevant. It is mistaken in that it badly miscalculates the purpose and psychology of warfare. Any nation or people that go to war do so in fervent hope of attaining some desired earthly goal. No one seeks to die and go to heaven in service of a hopelessly unachievable ideal. Because the Islamists are religious zealots who engage in suicide attacks, some people believe they are willing to die for their cause and gain salvation, even if their cause has no possibility of earthly success. This is profoundly false. The Islamists seek not merely salvation in the next life— but the establishment of theocracy in this one. For certain, their goals are religious, but, predominantly, they involve the politicization of religion. They are holy warriors, fighting for God’s Kingdom not merely in Heaven, but on earth. They, like any warriors, hold visions of practical success and are spurred by hopes of ultimate victory. This is why the Islamist movement revived and enormously accelerated only after the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The faithful saw that their earthly dreams were achievable. For as long as they believe it, they will continue to fight, die, and murder Americans.

They will cease and desist only when they are made to realize that their earthly cause is hopeless—and that they, their loved ones, and their children will not merely die—but will die in vain. They must be made to realize this immediately. A necessary condition of this, an immensely important first step is the inflicting of devastating military defeat on Iran—a U.S. victory that will lend credence to the country’s intent to everywhere smash Islamic Totalitarianism, and that will induce all but the most fanatically hardened jihadists to immediately scurry for cover.

Note: Dr. Bernstein asked me to notify readers of the major Objectivist conference  occurring the weekend of Nov 4-6 in NYC.  Speakers Harry Binswanger, Yaron Brook, Shoshana Milgram, Eric Daniels, Jean Moroney, and Andrew Bernstein will give intellectual lectures on Sat and Sun–and, on Fri night, Yaron Brook will also speak at an Ayn Rand Institute fundraiser. It is a Lollapalooza of a conference! Details at: www.newyorkobjectivistsociety.org