The Lessons of London and Glasgow

Johann Hari makes a persuasive case that both Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani are right - and that the only effective strategy against Jihadist terror is a fusion of the two explanations, blowback and totalitarianism. Money quote:

This is a reminder the bombers are not only reacting against the worst in our system of government: the torture and the use of chemical weapons in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, support for Arab dictators. They oppose the best in our system of government too: the intellectual freedom to write novels that question religion, the sexual freedom of women to pick their own partners. When I receive my own tedious drizzle of jihadi death-threats, they always mention my homosexuality long before they get to my views on foreign policy. In his "Address to the American People" in October 2002, Osama Bin Laden said "the worst kind of event" committed by America was not a foreign policy atrocity - of which there are many - but "your President Clinton's immoral acts committed in the official Oval Office" with Monica Lewinsky. To them, this is a war against blowjobs and novellists as much as a war against occupation.

So what can we do to defuse the ticking bomb of British jihadism? On all fronts, the solution lies not in abandoning the values of liberal democracy, but in adhering to them much more scrupulously. If we restrain our leaders whenever they try to violate our values by using torture, or chemical weapons, or arming tyrants - indeed, if we put them on trial for it - we will choke off the more obvious blowback. But that's not enough. We also need to unpick the totalitarian ideology of jihadism by democratically opening up Islamic theology, so that over a generation, fewer and fewer young men can convince themselves they are "good Muslims" when they murder innocents.

Both require a long, generational slog. It will not be without casualties. But we can win, if we do not sacrifice our core values and confront without illusions the pathologies that now infest Islam.