I'm still trying to understand the reactions to the Paris attacks. They were like
1. France bombs Daesh for 14 months with hundreds of tons of explosives
2. Daesh bombs France on one day with a few kilogram of explosives
3. Daesh attacked France! Everybody rally with France!
This was not exactly common behaviour in world history. The closest analogy that comes to my head was the great powers' treatment of China, where Westerners could be offensive to China at will, but the slightest hint of Chinese resistance was perceived as if barbarian thugs had massacred innocent white folks and intervention armies were shipped to China.
What's the detail that creates the perception that Daesh is free game and has no legitimate right to strike back?
Is it the fact that Daesh killed civilians directly instead of piling up even more dead civilians as "collateral damage"?
Is it the gruesome Daesh propaganda campaign?
Is it the fact that Daesh is no state?
Is it about disrespect towards Muslims?
Is it about disrespect towards Arabs?
Is it a misunderstanding about the (actually defensive) nature of NATO?
My best guess is that it's a different mix of these to different people. The outcome is the same. Step 1 gets ignored.
It is ultimately stupid to expect them to endure and not strike back (particularly since they were called "terrorists" more than a year before they attacked any Western country already).
It's also most disconcerting (at least to me) to see how the perception of NATO diverged towards a kind of 'the West bombs you united, not alone' club, away from a collective defence pact.
And then there's political correctness, of course. Hardly anyone dares to point out that France needlessly provoked Daesh for more than a year with bomb attacks as great power entertainment game, since now the only politically correct stance is to portray France as a victim of aggression that deserves our solidarity.
It's probably a Western great powers privilege to bomb other countries at will and still demand that counterattacks are considered to be illegitimate.
Would you have perceived a Sudanese bombing attack on a factory in the U.S. legitimate after the U.S. bombed a fertilizer factory in Sudan? How about an Iraqi air attack on an Israeli nuclear reactor post-1983? An Iranian invasion of Mexico in order to turn it into a theocracy after the U.S. attacked Iraq to (supposedly) turn it into a democracy? A Russian-enforced no-fly zone protecting Libyan civilians from "collateral damage" by Western bombardments? How about something as peaceful as Chinese navy task forces cruising all year off the coast of Hawaii and California? Iranian warships cruising 3.1 nm off the coast of Israel in a "freedom of navigation" patrol? Vietnam mining the harbours of the United States during the Iraq War without a declaration of war?