There was a chap on this morning who was born in Iran but grew up in America, talking about the Iranian determination to continue their nuclear program. The interesting side of the conversation was about how the west fails to understand Iranian thinking and how sanctions along with the attitude of the Bush administration had made them so much more determined to develop a nuclear capability. He was underlining how it wasn't a case of Ahmedinajad 'bad' and the reformers 'good' in this area, rather they were universally united in their desire to continue their program BECAUSE of the west's (and particularly America's) attitude to them.
It's interesting because over here, although we're ostensibly on the same side, special relationship and all that, I certainly see America as a threat to the independence and sovereignty of the UK, so how much more must they! If positions were reversed, and the UK was being threatened by a coalition of Russia and middle eastern nations how much would we want to do everything we could to be independent? It is very easy to imagine how they must view America in the way we viewed Russia when they annexed much of eastern Europe, with the military presence in Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq.
By KNOWING that we are 'right' we are in serious danger of misunderstanding or even ignoring what drives these people and why they are opposed to the west. Just simply viewing them as Islamic extremists and sponsors of terror out to kill the infidels may be the fatal mistake of our time.