As nutty and improbable as the idea of an "Islamic States of America" might be, there is real potential for a mass anti-Muslim movement in this country. All we need is another terrorist attack, not even one on the scale of 9/11, and the smoldering fires of unfocused anger that burn just beneath the surface of polite society will burst through to the surface. Ask any Japanese-American.
Languishing for the lack of a proper enemy in the post-cold war world, the neoconservative right was saved from extinction by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The specter of militant Islam is, for them, the perfect villain, one who represents a threat not just to the US but also to Israel, a country which is to them as the old Soviet Union was to American Communists: a model and a fatherland. Their strategy is to replicate in the US the anti-Muslim xenophobia that swept Likud into power in Israel, and which has catapulted Avigdor Lieberman, head of an anti-Muslim ultra-nationalist party, into the Foreign Ministry. Bolton is our Lieberman, and hopes to take the same route to power.
"I don’t think anybody has a problem with Muslims in America," opines Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie on PBS. Is that why the anti-mosque campaign has gone national, and with some success? Is that why "mainstream" Republican politicians like Newt Gingrich and Speaker John Boehner are weighing in against the Park51 community center? Is it because there’s never been a mass political movement in America targeting a vulnerable religious minority?
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