In “Islam’s War for World Mastery” in the New York Sun (thanks to Looney Tunes), Ephraim Karsh, author of Islamic Imperialism, concludes a discussion of a recent piece by Bernard Lewis with this dead-on observation:
This is not to deny that American failures to respond to rogue actions and terrorist attacks have been harmful to its deterrent image, or that Osama bin Laden has misconstrued certain American setbacks for an indication of its diminishing resolve.
Yet it was not America’s perceived weakness that brought about the September 11 attacks, as Mr. Lewis argues, but rather its undeniable prowess. This is because Mr. bin Laden and other Islamists’ war is not against America per se but is rather the most recent manifestation of the millenarian jihad for a universal Islamic empire, the umma.
As the preeminent world power for quite some time, and the only remaining superpower after the collapse of the Soviet empire, America blocks the final realization of this goal and hence is a natural target for aggression. In this sense, the House of Islam’s war for world mastery is a traditional, indeed venerable, quest that is far from over.