stopping imperialism, stopping attacks

Via Kevin Drum, an excerpt from an interview with Robert Pape of UChicago that is perhaps apropos to my earlier post. Pape’s claims are that

  1. “… overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.”
  2. “In virtually every instance where an occupation has produced a suicide-terrorist campaign, there has been a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied community.”
  3. “Once the occupying forces withdraw from the homeland territory of the terrorists, they often stop — and often on a dime.”

The overall argument is that once the physical fact of empire dissolves, support for suicide attacks dissapates. And indeed, the most effective rhetoric by Al-Qaeda and others is focussed on this issue. I’m somewhat dubious that the effect of cultural imperialism can be so easily swept under the rug. On the other hand, it’s a lot easier to live and let live if you don’t have foreign soldiers down the street from you.

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