The US has cultivated the most reactionary forms of Islam since the end of WWII as a defense against "communism". It was really a defense against nationalism but communism worked better to scare people. Then those rotten commies committed the ultimate act of treachery. They gave up! In the conservative and then neo-conservative intelligensia there was literal panic about the fact that we no longer had an enemy. So we needed a new one and Islam was perfect. The fact that there is no actual war between Islam and the west is highlighted by the fact that one of the strongest US allies (Saudi Arabia) is also the most powerful state for the most extreme form of Islam (Wahabi).
In a weird way there is a synergy between radical Islam and neo-conservatism. This was brought out by the wonderful BBC documentary the Power of Nightmares: http://en.
Both ideologies are all about frightening people and harnesing their hate and fear in order to control them.
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