It's kind of funny. We fought Saddam over Kuwait. We bombed Iraq periodically for a decade, kept them under sanctions, and helped the Kurds unofficially secede from Iraq. We invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime and shatter al Qaeda. We fought al Qaeda in the Philippines. We invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam who cultivated the Arab world as his constituency. We waged a counter-insurgency against al Qaeda, Baathists, al Qaeda, and home-grown jihadis in Iraq. We wage a counter-insurgency against jihadis in Afghanistan. We fight jihadis in Somalia. We bombed Khadaffi into defeat. We aid rebels in Syria (a bit). We drop missiles on jihadis in Yemen and Pakistan on a regular basis.
Much of that was even done on the orders of that cowboy George W. Bush.
But none of that caused riots around our embassies in the Moslem world. No, that took a poorly made trailer about a privately made film that insults Islam--which as usual is harming Moslems more than us.
A lot of people--even some conservatives--like to say we wouldn't have problems with the Moslem world's more excitable elements if we weren't over there mucking around.
The problem is--and always has been--the Islamic world, and not us:
Islamic terrorism often gets explained away as being a reaction to Western imperialism, or colonialism, or simply cultural differences. No one, especially in the Islamic world, wants to admit that the cause of it all is religious fanatics who would rather appear righteous than be righteous.
Do read it all, as the saying goes.
Face it, if we pulled all of our troops out of the Middle East; closed our embassies; stopped sending tourists; stopped buying their oil; stopped sending out troops to save Moslems from invaders, thug rulers, earthquakes, and tsunamis; and didn't even think much about them, our size, power, and cultural influence would still make us a target to be blamed for what goes wrong in the Islamic world.
One day, there'd be riots at Western hotel chains "because" Madonna took her top off.
Riots in the Moslem world, if I'm unclear.