Worth a read: Ira Straus, "Hint: [The root causes] have nothing to do with Western 'exploitation'" (NRO, February 20, 2015):
Sensible people are discouraged from thinking about the root causes of Islamic terrorism, because of the routine nonsense from the Left, including the Obama administration, about “poverty” being the root cause. The root cause of leftists’ saying that is obvious: By “poverty,” they really mean Western “exploitation.” And if that is the cause, then Western military power is no solution.
Nevertheless, root causes do exist, and to have a successful military campaign we must know what they are.
The root causes are two, and only two: Islam, and Islamism.
Islamism has emerged in stages, out of two historical contingencies: (1) The historical failure of Islamdom, as experienced in its replacement by Christendom as the leading global force 500 years ago. For Islam, this was an unacceptable, insane inversion of God’s order. (2) The reaction to this in the 20th century was in the manner of what scholars are nowadays calling “generic fascism.” This reaction was able to grow into a movement thanks to the reversal of the spirit of the times from imperialism to anti-imperialism in the decades after 1914. It picked up steam with the access of huge oil wealth after 1970. Read more >>