Second, while we defend our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as liberations from dictatorship and obscurantism, they are seen over there as America using her power to impose upon these nations our institutions and our ideology. And while America's achievements may inspire awe, America's culture, suffused with feminist and Hollywood values, evokes revulsion.
Millions of Muslims are willing to die to keep America and American values out of their societies. How many Americans are willing to fight and die over there to force them on Arab peoples?
Third, there is a growing confidence in the Islamic world that the future belongs to them. Whence comes this confidence?
Western peoples are dying, as Muslim populations are exploding and Muslim migrants are pouring into Europe and the United States. While Islam is booming in the East and being welcomed in the West, Christianity is dying in the West and being expelled from the East.
It is not unreasonable for Muslim visionaries to see the next 500 years as an era of Islamic ascendancy, as the last 500 saw a Western ascendancy.
Fourth, while Eygpt's army has the guns and, temporarily, the banner of patriotism, it has no faith, no philosophy, no ideology to justify an indefinite hold on power. When, like Hosni Mubarak, this generation of generals is seen as incompetent and repressive, upon what do they fall back to justify their legitimacy to the next crowd in Tahrir Square?
Indeed, this is America's dilemma. When Japan attacked and Adolf Hitler declared war, and when Josef Stalin set out to dominate the world, all we held dear -- faith, family, freedom, country -- said resist. When Osama bin Laden took down our towers, we united to take down him and al-Qaida.
Millions of Muslims are willing to fight to drive us out of their part of the world. How many Americans are willing to send our sons to die for secular democracy and American values in their part of the world?
After World War II, when communists captured the banner of nationalism, they were on the move in China, Vietnam, Cuba. When Ronald Reagan recaptured the banners of nationalism in Angola, Afghanistan and Eastern Europe, suddenly it was the communists on the run.
Ethnonationalism and religious fundamentalism tore apart the British, French and Soviet empires. All are working now against the U.S. Imperium. The generals in Egypt won this round. But is there any doubt as to which way the wind is blowing?