“Blowback,” as it’s called, is a controversial thesis, but it does explain why Osama bin Laden goes after America and not, say, Switzerland.
This is a favorite rhetorical trope of anti-interventionists: If only we had a neutral foreign policy like Switzerland, terrorism would never have come to our shores. But it’s simply not true that Switzerland has never suffered an attack by Middle Eastern terrorists. The Swiss were targeted twice in 1970 by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Everyone aboard Swissair Flight 330 was killed by a bomb in the cargo hold. Those aboard Swissair Flight 100 were luckier — it was merely hijacked, taken to Jordan, and (along with several other planes) blown-up on the ground after being emptied.
Granted, the PFLP is not quite the same as bin Laden; they are nominally a secular, Marxist organization, albeit one that is allied with Islamists in attacks on Israel. But the attacks on Swissair put paid to the naive notion that we can count on terrorists to leave us alone as long we leave them alone.
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