The April terrorist attacks during the Boston Marathon killed and wounded scores of people. Machete-wielding thugs last week butchered a British soldier in full view of citizens on a London street. Simultaneously, in Sweden, a full five days of riots have seen burned cars, banks and schools, and assaulted citizens.
These attacks raise the uncomfortable question: "Why are we being attacked?"
A newly announced American policy to deal with such threats involves "addressing grievances and conflicts" that feed what is described as "extremism."
But will this work?
After 9/11, despite the impression of a nation coming together, almost immediately many pundits, media outlets and academics blamed America. We were, for example, attacked because "our chickens [were] coming home to roost." Three reasons were most often cited: our sanctions against Iraq; our deployment of troops in Saudi Arabia and our support for Israel.
Over a quarter of a century ago, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, our UN ambassador during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan's, first explained this tendency to "always blame America first." It flowed from a view that saw American military power as a harmful force in world politics. Steven Kinzer in All the Shah's Men argued in 2003, just two years later, that, "It is not far-fetched to draw a line through the Shah's repressive regime and the Islamic revolution  to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York." A decade later, former Congressman Ron Paul similarly argued the attacks of 9/11 were in retaliation for American troops being deployed in Saudi Arabia in 1990-1991, there to drive Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. And on May 23, the administration sought to explain what it terms "violent extremism" as a reaction to the "thousands of civilians that have been killed" in Iraq and Afghanistan," implicitly by American intervention.
Even now, many weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing, the "Blame America" syndrome is on full display.
The New York Times charged that the US had failed to assimilate the bombers' family, implying presumably, "What could anyone expect them to do other then bomb the Boston Marathon?"
Then the bombers were humanized. They were described as friendly school chums, attractive to women. The New York Times compared one of the bombers to the hero of that classic American book Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield.
Then came the "self-actualization" explanation for terrorism: apparently, as the two brothers were not members of any terrorist group but possibly just lone-wolf types, America had failed to "assimilate" them properly -- implying that their bombing was somehow our fault.
That rationalization was followed by strenuous efforts to avoid making any connection to their Islamic background, their travel to Dagestan, and their connection to a nearby Boston mosque from which a half dozen members and key leaders have been convicted of terrorist acts in the past decade.
In Sweden, similarly, the BBC said the rioting youths, while from predominant "immigrant areas," were unhappy about joblessness.
The mayor of London assured everyone that even while one of the butchers was "dripping blood and swearing by Almighty Allah 'We will never stop fighting you'," there was no connection to Islam to be drawn.
This compulsion to explain terrorism as driven by grievances against America continues as the politically correct narrative.
If "legitimate grievances" motivate terrorists, the thinking apparently goes, then such terrorism is justified.