The arrest of a suspect on attempted terror-bombing charges in Times Square, New York, has sharply escalated Pakistani-specific pressures in the US. Bluntness has replaced politeness. Some gaps are revealed in two key prongs of the existing strategy. First, is over-reliance on a violent mode. Second, is over-reliance on the favoured 'moderate Muslim ruling classes. Neither approach is really working. Both, in fact, have actually fuelled the fires and furies of militancy. Common to both the West and the Muslim world is one key factor: elements of the Muslim youth, either in the West or residing in their own homelands who are, in a sense, marginalised, frustrated, and excluded. They dont have a sense of ownership of their environment, nor do they have a place at the table. Their lack of belonging and sense of social insignificance make them prone to nefarious exploitation. The thievery of the Muslim ruling classes adds to the Robin Hood lure of militancy. Within Muslim societies, the moment is ripe to accurately identify and rectify what is wrong. The ruling classes have conclusively demonstrated that they neither have the learning, nor the yearning to grapple with the size and scope of the challenge. Policies have been rushed through without being mindful of their repercussions. Within the US, they have helped instil and spread a culture of irrational fear and false alarm. The focus on short-term tactical benefits has created long-term strategic burdens. It has not been adequately weighed that the upsurge in militancy is one by-product of the intensity of US military engagements in the Muslim world, which additionally assists in providing a theological justification for the militant narrative. A common refrain permeates the militant narrative: the Palestinian problem and the Kashmir conflict. Yet, this issue is being swallowed without a serious diagnosis. Thus far, the US has failed to meet the militant ideology with a persuasive counter-ideology. Without fairness and consistency, the management of such message is difficult. The pitting of the Christian West against the Muslim East is a mutually ruinous rift which only seeks to benefit those who would profit from it by witnessing this tamasha. Instructive here are the examples of Egypt and Pakistan. Both countries are technically allies of the United States. Both are pivotal in the Muslim world. Both set ups are attempting to perpetuate a dynastic order. And both have become a cradle for militancy. The masses of both these countries harbour deep disquiet over US intentions. By relying on ruling elites, the US is only ending up with false friends and genuine foes. The present-day ruling clique bears close resemblance to the moral decay of the Whitehall-backed King Farouks rule 60 years ago in Egypt when praetorian shadows were lengthening. Washingtons trend to seek conformity and compliance in the Muslim world has produced sycophants but not friends. The short-cut American penchant for lets-make-a-deal with parasitic local elites is not working. The voices of sanity and serenity need to be equally weighed. The West has not fully examined the heavy toll that wars in the Middle East have taken on Muslim psyche and self-esteem. One key lesson of the post 9/11 era is that the destinies of the Western world and the Muslim world are interwoven. Therefore, each episode of attempted or executed terror is also an opportune moment for more comprehension and outreach. It would be prudent to brace for more such episodes. They will not be deterred by more screening at airports or by more xenophobic scrutiny of Muslims in the West. The strategic folly of doing more of the same needs to be re-examined. The writer is a barrister and a senior political analyst.