It occurs to me that hatred and fear are pretty good marketing tools for making money or winning votes. It's a world-wide phenomenon. This is why I foresee that the international uproar about the threatened Qu'ran burning in this country will create fortunes for bold entrepreneurs overseas.
Get ready for an insult-product boom.
Suppose some rug maker somewhere decides to retool his shop to make American Flag doormats? There's a huge and growing market for them on at least three of the seven continents. Imagine the psychological satisfaction for some guy, who, after a hard day on the caravan, gets to wipe the dust off his sandals on Old Glory. It beats flag burning, because once once the flames are out, the flag is gone.
Flag toilet paper would probably be a big seller, too, even in paperless cultures. Not a pretty picture.
Extremists know what is sacred to Americans and you can bet good money that the tit-for-tat response to an insult to the Qu'ran is going to be an insult to the flag, for which we have an inordinate devotion compared to other countries. But things could and probably will be worse.
I have heard from Gen. Petraeus and President Obama that the Qu'ran burning would endanger our troops. It seems that since the troops are already endangered because we sent them to a war that will soon equal the siege of Troy in length, this is not a surprise. However, the sacred book burning - even if not carried out - is an outstanding marketing opportunity for the Taliban and al Qaeda, who are as masterful at manipulating public sentiment as any Madison Avenue ad firm.
As their recruitment increases, the sacrifices our troops have made and are making on two fronts are nullified.
There is no reason to believe that anti-American sentiment is limited to a single region that can be isolated and treated like some tumor. We're probably looking at metastasis now. It means that instead of "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here," we'll be saying, "We have to fight them there and there and there and there..."
Hatred and fear and insults: gifts that keep on giving.