"It is a general rule of human nature that people despise those who treat them well, and look up to those who make no concessions."---Thucydides, c. 400 BCE
And that's the problem, as it has been since BCE: not history, not politics, but human nature. We of the touchy-feely West wish Thucydides were wrong. If only reason and good will could solve this. If only we could drop some Marshall Plan and a trillion or two on the Middle East and buy our way out of all this.
Even if the animosity between Middle East and the West is political, it is nearly 1400 years old, far beyond George W. Bush's or our own poor power to add or detract. And neither is Islam as a politics an easily reducible geographical problem, as it was when Charles Martel halted the advance of the Umayyad Caliphate into France in 732, or when the siege of Vienna by the Suleiman the Magnificent's Turks was finally lifted in 1529. (Yes, Islam as a politics got pretty damn far, and oh yeah, they came back on Vienna in 1683.)
Because in the semi-borderless flow of people to and fro in the 21st century, we cannot give political Islam want it wants. Which is everything.
The problem is no longer western imperialism, but that when Arab countries, the Arab street if you will, express themselves democratically, the results are enough to scare the bejesus out of any westerner, because they vote for Islamic authoritarianism and, frankly, war with the non-Muslim world.
This was the miscalculation of not just Bush and the neocons, but the West as a whole. We are largely materialists: we want peace, freedom, and prosperity.
But that apparently isn't what the "Arab street" wants, whether that street is in Karachi or London, and so, absent following Thucydides, we are left with trying to placate the implacable.
Our failure is in understanding the Muslim mind---peace and prosperity can only come with the "freedom" that is Islam, which means, literally, not "peace," but "submission." A fascinating philosophical dialogue between the West and Islam indicates that although the West has largely embraced Rousseau's rather rosy view of man and shunned Thomas Hobbes' view of human nature as craven and operating purely out of self-interest, Islam, even on the philosophical level, has not:
...the origin of the world “politics” gives us good insight into this difference. In Arabic the word siassa means “to care, to control.” On the other hand, for Anglo-Saxons, the word “politics” finds it origin in the Greek word polis (city), and means “to run a city.”
In the Muslim view, man, without guidance from the transcendent (that would be Allah, through the Qur'an, the only perfect rendering of the Divine Mind in human history), is no more than an animal, and that animal must be controlled. Shar'ia, the literal Law of God, is the only way it can be done. The best way to "lead us not into temptation" is to remove all temptation. Hence, the burka.
And so, per Thucydides, those who would compromise, who would treat those who transgress against God's Law well, surely do not possess Divine Truth. Only those who do not and cannot compromise with other men possess it. "Tolerance," which has been elevated to the highest of all virtues in the modern West, is the tool of the seducer, not of the righteous.
Whether or not we agree with Hobbes' view of man, it makes no difference---Muslims do. And to them, it is the Qur'an, and only the Qur'an, that makes man anything more than a mere beast. Tolerance, or "improving man's estate," the materialistic and self-declared goal of the western Enlightenment, has as much meaning to Islam as offering a quickie or a new washer-dryer to the bear that's about to eat you.