- I think the real reason for the reluctance among Anglospheric publications to print the Danish cartoons was less timidity than the fear of tacitly repudiating the underlying assumption of the President Bush's War on Terror, that the West is not at war with Islam but only with a small group of extremists who have corrupted "the religion of peace". The Danish cartoons threatened to convert this limited war into a more general confrontation between the value systems of the West and Islam. Why, one might ask, should the media, with no love lost for President Bush, care at all about protecting the key assumption of his limited war?
The reason I think, is that the Left in their reflexive opposition to President Bush since the invasion of Iraq had not bothered to create a war strategy of their own. The nomination of Senator John Kerry in 2004 was an attempt to offer up the appearance of an alternative rather than a rival strategy. He was a placeholder for a policy that didn't exist. Trapped in the mental world of the 20th century, the Left had not decided how to respond to the challenge of the 21st. In marked contrast to the Cold War, in which 9 successive US administrations pursued the common policy of containment against the Soviet Union, the war after September 11 was characterized by the absence of a strategic consensus. President George Bush had a strategic vision; and the Democrats an endless supply of peanuts which they were prepared to pitch from the gallery.
Once the Danish cartoon crisis threatened to knock the props out from under President Bush's limited war on Islamic renegades and escalate it to a "clash of civilizations" the barrenness of the Lefist intellectual cupboard became obvious even to themselves. There was no recipe to deal with this contingency. A "clash of civilizations" would pull matters from their grasp precisely because they refused to touch it in the first place. They could only continue to pretend Islamism didn't exist; and so they thrust their heads into the sand even further. The Danish cartoons? What cartoons?