Ron Paul would have nowhere to go intellectually without tu quoque. He’s a surgeon with one instrument in his bag, what The Economist used to call “whataboutism.”
Does U.S. and European foreign policy — bad policy and good — play a role in provoking the enemies of the United States and Europe? Of course — how could it possibly be otherwise? But what is the conclusion to be drawn? Never do anything that might rub Mullah Mohammed Omar or like-minded men the wrong way? Give any entity willing to bomb pizza shops as a mode of political discourse effective veto power over U.S. policy?
While we should not underestimate the role of foreign policy in motivating jihadists, we should not exaggerate it, either.
As Roger Cukierman of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France says: “They are not screaming ‘Death to the Israelis’ on the streets of Paris — they are screaming ‘Death to Jews.’”