The Cancer of Islamist Extremism Spreads Around the World

The Cancer of Islamist Extremism Spreads Around the World by Fareed Zakaria – Washington Post

This week’s tragic terrorist attack in New York was the kind of isolated incident by one troubled man that should not lead to generalizations. In the 16 years since 9/11, the city has proved astonishingly safe from jihadist groups and individuals. And yet, speaking about it to officials in this major global hub 10,000 miles away, the conclusions they reach are worrying. “The New York attack might be a way to remind us all that while ISIS is being defeated militarily, the ideological threat from radical Islam is spreading,” says Singaporean Home Minister K. Shanmugam. “The trend line is moving in the wrong direction.”

The military battle against Islamist extremist groups in places such as Syria and Afghanistan is a tough struggle, but it has always been one that favored the United States and its allies. After all, the combined military forces of some of the world’s most powerful governments are up against a tiny band of guerrillas. On the other hand, the ideological challenge from the Islamic State has proved far more intractable. The terrorist group and ones like it have been able to spread their ideas, recruit disaffected young men and women, and infiltrate countries across the globe. Western countries remain susceptible to the occasional lone wolf, but the new breeding grounds of radicalism are once-moderate Muslim societies in Central, South and Southeast Asia…

Read on.

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I’ve mangled an analogy or two my own self, so no judgment in that regard, but I believe a clarification of roles is required here if we are to use “cancer” to help us understand current political extremism coming from the Sunni Muslim community around the world.

The real “cancer” is how members of this community feel about the governance affecting their lives and who they blame for the existence of those governing bodies and the character of their governance. This cancer is at stage 0 to stage 4 depending upon the community; equally different stage levels within individuals within those communities. It is more accurate to think of Islamist ideology as a form of cure. A harsh chemotherapy that is as likely to kill the patient as cure them, and even if it ultimately does cure the cancer, the patient suffers terribly during the treatment.

What we need to do is stop agonizing over this bad cure, and work to offer better cures in lieu.


I think you are on the right track with regard to modern Sunni Muslim supremacism, also referred to as “Islamism” or “political Islam”, as a “cure” or a solution to a problem. I refer to it as “supremacism”, because it is a supremacist ideology that was always political, not unlike the Roman imperial cults, Byzantine Caesaro-Papism, Anglicanism during the English Reformation or Protestant governance in Ireland (to 1921) and then Northern Ireland (1999); I also refer to it as “modern” in order to distinguish it from the original Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th Centuries.

Both Arab Nationalism and modern Sunni Arab supremacism originated during the period of decline in the Turkish Empire during the 18th Century, in reaction against Turkish rule as well as increasing European Christian dominance of the Mediterranean. On the one hand, the successor of the first Umayyad Caliphate was worryingly losing ground to infidels; on the other, its weakness allowed for non-Turkic Muslims to assert their regional or ethnic grievances. Whereas Arab Nationalism would be based upon European or Western models of nation-statehood, Sunni Arab supremacism would be based upon the original Umayyad Caliphate. In theory, Arab Nationalism was the better of the two ideological choices, enabling Arabs to form modern political structures inclusive of intersecting sectarian and tribal identities, borrow from the West and construct nation-states “with Arab characteristics”. In practice, however, Arab Nationalism was wasted on a series of losing wars with Israel that made it lose its mass appeal, and rather than progressing toward liberal democracy – as happened in Spain, Portugal, Taiwan and South Korea – Arab Nationalist states became increasingly tyrannical societies wherein the prevailing ideology was the cult of the dictator. Given these developments, it is clear why Sunni Arab supremacism began to fill the vacuum. Certainly the Gulf Arab monarchies’ funding of ultra-conservative Mosques and Madrassas were far from helpful, but it is important to note that none of the aggressive Sunni supremacists being fought by the West and its regional allies have any intention of creating societies modeled on the Gulf monarchies; nor do they respect the authority of the Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia.

From the West’s perspective, Arab Nationalism was very dangerous and motivated a series of wars between Arab states and Israel, Arab states (Egypt, Iraq, Libya) and the West, terrorism throughout the Middle East and Europe, war between Arab states (Iraq, Libya) and other non-Arab states, and early scares over nuclear, chemical and biological weapon proliferation. Therefore, it seemed reasonable to want to combat Arab Nationalism and to “deconstruct” those states which adhered to it. Yet, the corollary to destroying hostile states is that these states must be reconstructed as strong and friendly states, as destroyed hostile states are at risk of being occupied by other hostile states, forming hostile non-state actors or reforming as hostile states again, and even weak or failing friendly and neutral states are at risk. This understanding of the need for reconstruction prompted the eponymous “Reconstruction” program after the American Civil War, post-World War II support to Europe, Japan and China/Taiwan, and the post-Korean War support to South Korea. The U.S. government continues to work to “win the peace” in the former Confederacy (federal contracts, etc.), in Europe and in East Asia, decades after the end of combat operations. The first question, therefore, is: how does the West construct strong and friendly states in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly in Iraq and Libya? The second question is: how does the West and its local partners gain popular support from the local people or at least non-violent acquiescence?

I believe that COL Jones has hit the nail on the head here.

In this regard, consider (a) the specific "character of government" to which COL Jones may (or may not if I have read him wrong) be referring and (b) the acknowledgement of "significant elements of societies resistance" thereto:


In 1991 a top adviser to President Carlos Salinas de Gortari described at length to me all the changes the Salinas government was making. When he finished, I remarked: "That's most impressive. It seems to me that basically you want to change Mexico from a Latin American country into a North American country." He looked at me with surprise and exclaimed: "Exactly! That's precisely what we are trying to do, but of course we could never say so publicly." As his remark indicates, in Mexico as in Turkey, significant elements in society resist the redefinition of their country's identity.


(From S.P. Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations." See the major section entitled: "The Torn Countries.")

Thus, to see "Islamic Extremism" (etc., etc., etc.) more in this "resistance to infection and/or cancer" light?

(If you "mess the bull," to wit: a people's "identity" -- much as the Soviets/the communist tried to do during the Old Cold War and the U.S./the West does today -- then you are likely to "get the horns." These such "horns" being, in both cases, anything and everything that these such threatened populations can bring forward; this, to protect and preserve their identity/their autonomy?)

Note that our very own President Trump seems to agree with this such "the U.S./the West is the problem/they are simply reacting-resisting" argument -- first made by Huntington -- and now seemingly confirmed by COL Jones.

This, given that he (President Trump) has suggested that, in order to roll back and/or "cure" world instability today -- caused specifically by the U.S./the West's "expansionist" efforts -- he (Trump) believes that we must:

a. Abandon our efforts to do such things as democracy and human rights promotion around the world and

b. Eliminate such capability from our State Department and related agencies.

Bottom Line Thought -- Based on the Above:

If our very own President, and the people who elected him, have bought into this "the U.S./the West is the problem/the infection/the cancer" argument,

Then should we not give greater consideration to S.P. Huntington's then -- and COL Jones' now (if I have read him right) -- similar argument?


Every ideology, whether religious or secular, has unique properties.

Muslim supremacism is a serious problem for the West, as this particular ideology dominates a host of relatively powerful states and controls powerful non-state actors. In many respects Muslim supremacism is not dissimilar to the threat that Western democracies faced from Communism in the 1920s, albeit that threat became far more severe during the ensuing decades.

Using the conflict in Northern Ireland as a relevant example, the vast majority of the population were not terrorists: only 0.08% were. Yet this 0.08% were able to create a low-level war that caused thousands of deaths, led to the occupation of Northern Ireland by tens of thousands of British soldiers, and transformed the police (RUC) into a paramilitary force. Obviously the Northern Irish terrorists had a measure of popular support, and the Loyalist/Unionist groups even had state support.

According to the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator, there are 20,000 to 35,000 Muslim radicals in the UK, or 0.65% to 1.12% of the British Muslim population; of these, 3,000 are “worrying”, or 0.10%.

Therefore, the UK is faced with a grim situation:

1. The British Muslim population is more radical than Northern Irish population was during the Troubles

2. This radical population is not turned on itself as in Northern Ireland, but against non-Muslims

3. The Troubles were resolved politically when sectarian equality was imposed

4. British Muslims already have equality in the UK, leaving Muslim supremacy as the only political solution

Placing the onus on the West to prove that it is non-discriminatory against Muslims only empowers Muslim supremacists. On the contrary, Muslims should be regarded as no different than National Socialists or white supremacists are in the West today, until they can render their religion as harmless as the many others that are practiced freely here.

Historically, the defeat of supremacist ideologies (specifically their structures) has involved the punishment of innocents, whether it was Sherman’s “March to the Sea”, the blockade and strategic bombing of Germany, or the atomic bombing of Japan.

If allowing Muslim immigrants to reside in the West means that Western societies must devote substantial resources to counter-terrorism, whereas allowing non-Muslims to immigrate instead alleviates this burden, the choice is clear.


I agree. Focusing exclusively on the acts of political violence is folly. From the perspective of capabilities, the U.S. Navy faces more of a threat from the JMSDF in the Western Pacific, than it does from the KPANF, and yet it would ignore crucial political dynamics.


Bill M. is correct with regard to manufacturing: automation has resulted in the loss of jobs. As with other developing economies, China competed against the automating economies of the West by providing cheap labor. The “solid blue-collar jobs” in the former Rustbelt were going to disappear regardless of whether it was due to automation or cheap labor abroad. Superior industrial relations in (West) Germany and Japan ultimately supported automation and retraining, whereas U.S. organized labor was hostile to both. Currently, China is automating and outsourcing, particularly to Southeast Asia and Africa, given that its unit labor costs are now ~75% of those in the U.S. and its products are of lower quality. Americans are cheering the “reshoring” or “onshoring” of manufacturing “back” to the U.S., but this process is not creating a large number of manufacturing jobs due to its automated nature, and manufacturing’s share of jobs remains well below pre-2007 levels.

Whether we refer to them as extremists, terrorist groups, guerrilla fighters, insurgents, etc — one feature they all seem over time to have had in common, at the general level if not always at the individual group level, is their ability to learn and to devise new operating methods or tactics.

Earlier leaders such as Mao and his militarily speaking intellectual offspring such as Giap realized that their opponents were strong enough to defeat them in conventional battles; they thus devised the military strategy of so-called protracted war and declared the value of conventional battles meaningless — acknowledging they would loose them. Instead, for example, they made driving up the costs of war for their enemies their objective along with their long term survival and increasing their popularity with and political control over a native population. Obviously nothing holds true in 100% of situations, thus not all insurgents, guerrilla … leaders are successful, but many are and were in the past.

As part of their learning process, and we should recognize it does exist, those we refer to (often aptly) as extremists realized that for decades or more Western powers have carried out military operations in their lands, without their either being interested in or capable of carrying out repeated attacks in one form or the other in our homelands. That has changed as the extremists groups are clearly learning machines — which hopefully we can recognize.

Given today’s terrorist group’s understanding of modern technology such as the internet, the actual ease at which both people (individuals) and knowledge can spread around the world when one learns to work the various government systems, etc — they are sending their bombs abroad using delivery methods suited to their operational situations or limitations. Today we continue to use aircraft delivered bombs and applying modern technology we utilize drone delivered ordinance and still utilize Cruise type missiles. Our extremist competitors spread their casualty inflicting methods abroad by using the internet and foreign located supporters to recruit followers willing to carry out act of violence in our lands and use the internet and other methods to teach their tactical methods (from bomb making through use of trucks or planes) to recruits willing to learn.

From our perspective we have to recognize that methods of warfare (and terrorism is one of those methods) are changing / have changed. I’m not stating it from a moral viewpoint, but from a practical one. Simply put, in many situations we can no longer bomb foreign lands and people’s with the type of impunity as we once did. While the Vietnamese elected to fight us in their land, many of today’s groups against whom we are fighting are carrying their responding efforts into our homelands. They are a learning machine and changing their responses to suit the times.

As to whether the military situation has always favored the U.S. and its Allies, that is a rather debatable belief. The objective is strategic success, not battlefield victories. (See “Theory of Victory, Paramaters, Summer 2008, pages 25-36.) We are capable of achieveing the latter, but the former often has alluded us — such as in Vietnam, Laos, Somalia, to date in Afghanistan, etc.

It's too early to declare conventional battle meaningless. Even Mao recognized that at some point, protracted, irregular warfare could only do so much, and conventional military operations were necessary to completely defeat state military and security forces. While it's easy to point to a number of coups that have caused governments to change, I can't think of an external (to the government in power) insurgency or terrorist campaign that caused the fall of a stable government by itself.

As I noted in my most recent comment below, so confident is our current President in his belief that U.S./Western expansionist efforts, post-the Old Cold War, were and indeed are the "root cause" of world instability today -- specifically as relates to, for example, our relations with the Greater Middle East, with China and with Russia, etc. --

So confident and convinced is our current President of this fact that he has taken the unprecedented step of actually moving to eliminate from our Department of State, and from other agencies, the ability and/or capability to even do U.S./Western "expansionism" -- now and/or in the future.

What I believe that we must come to understand -- from this amazing development -- is that:

a. By way of our current President's such understanding, decision and related actions,

b. President Trump may have become America's, and indeed the West's, Gorbachev.


The commonality here being that:

a. When the Rest of the World employed a strategy of "containment" (first against the expansionist Soviets/communists and then against the expansionist U.S./the West),

b. Herein, making amazing -- and/or just plain good old common sense/logical -- use of one's different culture, religion, etc., in this endeavor (to wit: those very attributes that were threatened most by the Soviets/the communists and/or by the U.S./the West),

c. First the Soviets/the communists (cir. 1989?) -- and then the U.S./the West (cir. 2016?) -- "folded," to wit: (a) halted their such expansionist efforts and activities and (b) began to disintegrate/lose common purpose-cohesiveness.

(Lesson learned: "Containment" -- and the intelligent use of one's different way of life, one's different way of government, one's different values, etc., in this such endeavor -- this "works;" even against the world's most powerful states, societies and coalitions?)

Bottom Line Thought -- Based on the Above:


a. To view "the threat posed by Islamic extremism" (and, likewise, by Russia's return to Orthodoxy, China's appeal Confucianism, etc.?); this,

b. Through the -- mind boggling -- "fait accompli" lens suggested by me above?

(To wit: through the lens of the U.S./the West, with the election of President Trump and via his "isolationist" moves, now having lost its portion of the Old Cold War also?)

Is Islamist Extremism any different from previous "isms"?

In modern times, say from 1900 onwards we have seen nationalism, anarchism, communism, fascism and others. Nearly every one has had an extremist aspect - in our Western perception. You do not have to go far to find similar labels being applied to colonialism, capitalism and not to overlook democracy by those who see them as evil.

Is it that this is extremism has a religious label and that it is so easy to label all Muslims as suspects.

"Religiousism" ("religiosity?") might be the "ism" that we need to focus on the most today.


If we consider that it was our version of Western secularism (the other version of Western secularism being that associated with communism?) -- and not so much the United States and/or the West per se that won the Old Cold War -- then might we say that today's conflicts occur more along "religion versus religion" lines?

This, given that -- even with our version of secularism winning the Old Cold War -- what appears to be "winning" today (even in the United States?) this seems to be "religiousism?" (Our version of "secularism," thus, "losing" -- throughout the world and even here at home -- today?)

In this regard, consider the following:

"When conflicts are couched in religious terms, they often become transformed into value conflicts. Unlike other issues, such as resource conflicts which can be resolved by pragmatic and distributive means, value conflicts have a tendency to become mutually conclusive or zero-sum issues. They entail strong judgments of what is right and wrong, and parties believe that there cannot be a common ground to resolve their differences."

Thus, today, to understand our conflicts more along these such "religion versus religion" lines?

(This, rather than along the "our version of Western secularism -- versus their version of religiousism" -- lines that we might have preferred?)

This, indeed, making Muslims living in predominately Christian lands -- and Christians living in predominately Muslim lands (etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum) -- "suspects?"

(And, indeed, often "fair game?")

World history is a long narrative of resistance to change versus revolutions, so in many regards what we're witnessing today is not new. Islam in its truest form aggressively seeks to expand its rule over non-believers. It was part of their culture long before globalization and the emergence of liberal political ideas. Fortunately, it was largely pushed out of Southern Europe and parts of Eastern Europe centuries ago, but their desire to conquer the West did not end. They simply couldn't do it with the sword. Today, instead of seeking submission by wielding the sword, it seeks to migrate and leverage the West's own legal systems to establish Sharia law within pockets of the West, and then expand. As noted previously, the Muslim population will certainly exceed the population of Christians in Europe. The long term question is will they be Euro Muslims or Sharia Muslims?

This challenge is much more complex than the communist terrorist cells, or the separatist movements (IRA, ETA, etc.) in Europe that had relatively limited objectives. The strategic political end for Islam is submission, yet we shouldn't lump all Muslims as threats to our safety or our culture. Many Muslims in the West either integrate into the Western culture, or like many Christians are non-practicing, or they don't embrace the political aspect of Islam. So, treating all Muslims like terrorists or subversives would certainly push more into a collective identity group that identifies with the so called radical message. Yet many Muslims are a threat. It certainly complicates the development of policy and responses to mitigate the larger subversive threat.

Only focusing on jihadi cells conducting terrorist attacks, while ignoring the larger subversive threat Islam poses to the West, especially Europe, is a serious mistake. Terrorist acts are tactical, and while the media feeds off them, the real strategic threat is subversion. By leveraging the West's liberal laws to undermine its own culture, its values, and its laws the Muslims can de facto defeat the West short of traditional war. The former state defined not only by geographical boundaries, but its laws and culture no longer exists. This is certainly a gray zone competition if there ever was one. We are constantly getting better at hunting down and killing the terrorists, but this is the lesser of the two challenges. We're failing to stop slow moving tsunami of Islamic subversion of the West. I know, all the above is not politically correct, but reality rarely conforms to the way we would like the world to be.

To your point about people reacting and winning against globalization. People in the West are certainly reacting to perceived threats to your interests. Globalization has created conomic displacement for many, but a lot of this current reaction to globalization will prove to be an over reaction. Without globalization not only will global GDP decrease, it will severely impact the local economies of those protesting. The shift to the right is a normal reaction, but one I suspect will fail to address the real underlying issues. Changes need to be made, and true democratic governance can facilitate those changes more effectively than most other systems.

The bigger disruption is yet to come, and it is the impact of artificial intelligence on the global job market. This is why we're seeing calls for a universal living wage for all, because there won't be enough jobs for all. We're already at a point in time for the first time in history that emerging technology is resulting in less rather than more jobs. The consequences to current social, economic, and political systems will be severe. If we hope to mitigate it and have a moderately soft landing, it will require a unified country and government to manage them. This is one reason the covert influence campaign run by Russia (and others) is so dangerous. Not because Trump got elected, but the widening fissures in our political climate create problem solving paralysis.

Your argument that all this conflict we're seeing around the world is simply a reaction to the U.S. expanding its influence globally is grossly overstated, simplistic, and wrong. There are a number of major economic, social, and political trends that unfortunately promise more and more turmoil in the future. Asserting that if we simply disengage from the world all will be better is not only wrong, but the exact opposite approach needed.

Bill M. above said:

"Your argument that all this conflict we're seeing around the world is simply a reaction to the U.S. expanding its influence globally is grossly overstated, simplistic, and wrong. There are a number of major economic, social, and political trends that unfortunately promise more and more turmoil in the future. Asserting that if we simply disengage from the world all will be better is not only wrong, but the exact opposite approach needed."

Bill: First, to note that, in my comment below, I did give consideration to both globalization and modernization. Next, to note that I did not make a recommendation that we simply disengage from the world.

However, given the election of President Trump, I believe it is now more important to note that then-candidate and now-President Trump -- and those of his ilk -- these folks seem to believe that it was/is, indeed, U.S./Western post-Cold War expansionist efforts (and, in this regard, especially our efforts to, shall we say, "free the oppressed") that have:

a. Destabilized the entire Rest of the World post-the Old Cold War. (For example: brought on our confrontations first with the Islamic World, and now with Russia, China, and nearly everyone one else?) And, thus, have:

b. Ushered in the extremely negative, extremely dangerous and extremely "competitive" international environment that we are experiencing today. (This, rather than the more positive and more cooperative international environment that, minus the U.S./the West such post-Cold War expansionist efforts, President Trump, et al., seem to believe would have been the world's more likely post-the Old Cold War fate?)

Given this such understanding by our President and his associates -- that indeed it has been U.S./Western post-Old Cold War expansionist efforts that have been the "root cause" of our problems with the entire Rest of the World today -- note that our President, based on his such understanding, has directed that the, shall we say, "freeing of the oppressed" aspects of our foreign policy; these will be unceremoniously dropped from our foreign policy agenda -- like so much rotten fruit.

Indeed, so convinced is our President that the U.S./the West's post-Old Cold War expansionist efforts were, in fact, the "root cause" of virtually all of our problems in the world today, note that our President, and specifically through his Secretary of State has:

a. Taken the radical and unprecedented step of actually moving to eviscerate our Department of State and related agencies; this,

b. So as to actually eliminate from these agencies even the ability/capability to do "freeing the oppressed" stuff -- now and/or in the future.

Bottom Line Thought -- Based on the above:

Thus, to see that our President actually has domestic and foreign policies (both more isolationist in nature?) that are, in fact, consistent with one another? This, given our President's belief that, indeed, (a) U.S./Western post-Cold War expansionist efforts were/are (b) the "root cause" of our problems throughout the world post-the Old Cold War?

Bill M: Returning now to your quoted item above, thus might we say that it is:

a. Not so much Bill C.'s idea that "the conflicts we are seeing around the world today are simply a reaction to the U.S. expanding its influence globally" but rather:

b. Our President -- and those of his ilk's -- seeming confirmation of this such idea that we should be most concerned with today?

If this indeed is the case, then might we say that we should focus more on the fact that it is our President -- and those of his ilk -- whose such ideas, in fact, are "grossly overstated, simplistic and wrong?"

This suggesting, of course, that both our President's domestic policy -- and indeed his foreign policy to be sure -- BOTH have been established on a grossly erroneous foundation/premise and, thus, BOTH are horribly and tragically "wrong?"

Bill M wrote,

'We're already at a point in time for the first time in history that emerging technology is resulting in less rather than more jobs. '

Are you sure?

I would argue that many of the manufacturing jobs have moved elsewhere rather than disappeared. Hundreds of millions of manufacturing jobs have been created in China and Asia that were once solid blue-collar jobs in the US and other developed economies.

If fact one could argue there are more jobs in high-level manufacturing than ever before. I suggest the movement of solid jobs has more to do with mis-management than the rise of technology. If you look at Germany and the Nordic countries they are still manufacturing expensive commercial goods as well as maintaimg decent employment terms and conditions.

The interesting aspect I have experienced is the quality of Asian made goods
- even the high end- falls somewhat short of what one would expect from the price. Invariably you end up replacing the component more frequently and any cost saving is inevitably lost.

As more and more Asian workers come to realize their sweat-shop, almost Dickenson terms and conditions, are intolerable the quality and value of their finished goods will worsen to the point a US made product becomes a more economical alternative.

I would argue we are already at that tipping point.

The irony being many cashed up Chinese investors,tourists, Mafioso etc. are desperate to buy anything not made in China.

Yes, it is different, perhaps significantly so, the primary difference is the strategic approach of the Islamists to undermine the West is facilitated by the new left politicians. This is certainly the situation in Europe. In the U.S., we have some naïve politicians at the Mayoral level who think ignoring the threat will somehow make it disappear. Oriana Fallaci provides compelling and passionate arguments what it is different in her book, "The Force of Reason." Her comments are refreshingly not politically correct, and supported by reasoned arguments based on historical facts.

A short excerpt what I posted in the Forum:

From the book, "The Force of Reason"

"The decline of intelligence is the decline of Reason. And everything which now happens in Europe, in Eurabia, is also a decline of Reason. A decline which before being morally wrong is intellectually wrong. Refusing to admit that all Islam is a pond inside which we are drowning, in fact, is against reason. Not defending our territory, our homes, our children, our dignity, our essence, is against Reason."

Edited and added to a little bit from my initial offering:

Given the recent Brexit, and the recent election of President Trump, let's open the aperture a little here and look -- not just at the how the "cancer of Islamic extremism spreads around the world" but, rather, how, throughout the world, and even now in the prosperous U.S./the West it would seem, there is -- more generally --

a. A deep and strong cultural backlash; this,

b. Against the changes in social values that, for example, modernization/globalization (and/or Western expansionism?) brings in its wake.

In this regard (and again emphasizing the West; so as to understand that this is not a matter isolated and/or limited to the Islamic World), to consider the following:


Over recent decades, the World Values Survey shows that Western societies have been getting gradually more liberal on many social issues, especially among the younger generation and well-educated middle class. That includes egalitarian attitudes toward sex roles, tolerance of fluid gender identities and LGBT rights, support for same-sex marriage, tolerance of diversity, and more secular values, as well as what political scientists call emancipative values, engagement in directly assertive forms of democratic participation, and cosmopolitan support for agencies of global governance.

This long-term generational shift threatens many traditionalists’ cultural values. Less educated and older citizens fear becoming marginalized and left behind within their own countries.


Now, with this possibly true and accurate overall "problem" picture before us (throughout the world, what we are seeing now is a deep and strong cultural backlash; this, against the changes in social values brought on by modernization, globalization, etc.), let us ask ourselves:

How do we address this matter -- both at home and abroad -- this, without being accused of being hypocrites/without being accused of having double standards?


a. At home, and via the Brexit and the election of President Trump, we have now embraced the idea that we are going to put a halt to these changes in our own social values; this, for example, given the marginalization of certain individuals and groups that occurs thereby. Yet:

b. Overseas, we continue to work hard to cause/force other states and societies (think, for example, Iraq and Afghanistan of late) to embrace -- both alien and profane -- modern Western political, economic, social and value institutions and norms; this, so as to better provide for and better accommodate globalization and modernization [and/or the wants, needs and desires of the U.S./the West).

Bottom Line Thought -- Based on the Above:

Thus, to understand both (a) the spread of Islamic extremism around the globe and (b) the rise of populist (extremism?) in the West; BOTH of these trends through the lens of a deep and strong cultural backlash; this, against the changes in social values -- and the marginalization of certain individuals and groups thereby -- that modernization/globalization (and/or Western expansionism) brings in its wake?

In this light to see that President Trump -- re: his decision to drop from our foreign affairs agenda such things as "democracy promotion," and his decision to alter the make-up of our State Department so as to hinder/eliminate its ability to do such things in the future -- has shown himself NOT to be a hypocrite and/or one that has double standards?

This, given that BOTH his domestic AND his foreign policies recognize the "world destabilizing" effects of modernization/globalization (and/or Western expansionism)?