Since some people like to say that Donald Trump's speeches are perfect recruiting tools for the self-styled Islamic State -- I've heard that again today -- turnabout is fair play: the IS attacks on Brussels today make perfect campaign ads for Trump. In fact, while I don't really buy the argument that Trump will radicalize anybody, I have a stronger suspicion that each Daesh attack this year will radicalize more Americans, if you think voting for Trump is a radical act. The next thing you know, someone here will predict that IS will step up the attacks this year in order to get Trump elected, on the assumption that his words and policies will radicalize more Muslims, prove the IS point about a war on Islam, etc. etc. This would be a really narcissist stance for Americans to take, though I suppose it's inevitable when you think of terrorism as violence intended to change victims' minds. But it's easy to get tangled up analyzing the motivations of terrorists, especially when you throw in the whole notion of "propaganda of the deed." Are those people perpetrating terrorist acts in order to terrorize us into complying with their geopolitical or religious demands? Or are they doing it in order to provoke the enemy into showing its true, evil face, and thus drive more people to the terrorist side, as the "propaganda of the deed" concept suggests? I think it's a lot simpler than some people make it, and I don't think it's about us as much as other people make it. Muslim terrorists do their thing because they're convinced that they have a duty to do so. A generation or so ago Arab terrorists may have been reacting to specific acts of oppression, but by now terror is an end unto itself, a religious duty imposed not so much by the persistence of oppression as by the persistence of jahiliyyah, the state or pre-Islamic "ignorance" now identified by Islamists with wherever sharia doesn't prevail -- including many Muslim-majority countries. For those who've bought into that idea of Islam, there's nothing we can do short of submission to stop them from taking the fight to us. With the proclamation of their would-be caliphate, they're the aggressors now, and I don't think they care at all who gets elected President this year -- they're getting bombed now, after all, and that's unlikely to stop next January. Nor should we care what they think of whom we might elect. None of that means they can't have an influence on the election, as I suspect they inevitably will; it just means they don't do it in order to influence the election. In any event, why should it benefit Trump in particular? Senator Cruz is as belligerent on Islamism as Trump, after all. But somehow Cruz doesn't project power and resolution the way going-on-70 Trump does. Cruz has not stood in the squared circle the way Trump has. He has not taken the Stone Cold Stunner and survived, like Trump did. Obviously if Trump can do that he has nothing to fear from the headcutters of Raqaa.
Well, maybe that's not how all Trump's supporters see it, but what they all probably like about him, and what many others abhor, is Trump's indifference to consequences, or more specifically his indifference to what some will think of him doing what he thinks has to be done. Fortunately, what Americans think of him can have a consequence in November. But what we do about Trump should have nothing to do with whether the terrorists want him as President or not.