The Time Traveler laughed again, but with more edge this time. "Yes, I know," he said. "We all know . . . up there in the future which some of you will survive to see as free people. Civil liberties. In 2006 you still fear yourselves and your own institutions first, out of old habit. A not unworthy – if fatally misguided and terminally masochistic – paranoia. I will tell you right now, and this is not a prediction but a history lesson, some of your grandchildren will live in dhimmitude."This is a popular warning these days, and one which shouldn't be ignored. However, just in the interests of being contrarian, there's an equal and opposite warning that not many people are focusing on.
Right now, the ability of the 'Arab street' to push Europe and to an extent America hither and thither by expressing its displeasure rests on the West's unwillingness to actually do anything terribly harsh to Islamic countries or domestic Islamic immigrants and citizens. Thus, to an extent, the success of the radical Islamist movement relies on its not being a success.
In a world such as Simmons' short story describes where dozens if not hundreds of massive terror attacks have been made and sharia is in danger of being imposed in Europe, it's entirely possible that Europe will wake from its slumber and remember its not too distant history of ethnic cleansing. Ineffectual as the French and German governments may seem, they are infinitely better armed and than their minority citizens or the Middle East itself.
Whether or not groups like al Qaeda realize it, the success of their Jihad may rely on not appearing to be enough of a threat to cause militant extremism of a European variety to become resurgent.
Similarly, the ability of insurgents in Iraq to fight out military to a standstill rests entirely upon our country not actually becoming riled enough to wage a full scale war against them. The current war has one of the most lopsided casualty counts of any war in history. If it truly became a total war of the sort that some apocalyptic theorists envision, casualties for the Middle Eastern side would be so catastrophic as to cripple the region. I hope we will never have to fight a war on such a scale as to require the kind of total national commitment that went into WW2, but if we did, we'd probably win.