October 6, 2010
The Left's Terror FollyBy Adam Shaw
The reported planned attacks on France, Great Britain, Germany, and Belgium destroy the left-wing narrative about radical Islam and terrorism. It is vital that left-wing governments learn from their mistakes.
The left-wing narrative on Islamic terrorism is often nothing more than a rehash of left-wing beliefs on American foreign policy in general. The narrative is that aggressive, interventionist foreign policy, advocated by demons such as Cheney, Bush, Palin, and Krauthammer, has upset and isolated enormous chunks of the usually moderate Islamic world, who in turn have turned against America. As a consequence, they say this has led to the flowering of Islamic extremism that we see now [i].
The left-wing solution to the problem of Islamic extremism -- as championed by the foreign policy of various European countries and, more recently, the Obama administration -- is to make nice with the Islamic world as a whole, apologize and distance ourselves from our shameful, imperialistic policies of the past, and give into as many radical demands as the electorate can bear.
As with all left-wing narratives, facts do not support the assertions made. This is why Obama's "nuanced" approach has been met with hate speech from Ahmadinejad, as well as no letup in the continued terrorist threat to America despite the conclusion of the war in Iraq, the Cairo apology speech, a muddled Afghanistan policy [ii], and the diplomatic move away from Israel.
However, the narrative has been destroyed completely by reports of the latest terror threat -- attempted Mumbai-style shootings in Britain, France, Belgium, and Germany, and maybe even Sweden and Italy. That Britain is a target may not be a surprise due to Britain's special relationship with America and the support of American foreign policy during the Blair years, but this cannot be said for the other European countries. Although Germany and France have provided a relatively substantial force in Afghanistan, neither sent troops to Iraq, nor did Belgium or Sweden. In fact, the strongest voices against the Iraq war came from many of these European countries, especially the French.
In addition, all these nations are key members of the European Union -- an organization that has consistently bent over backwards to accommodate radical Islam [iii], and one that has expressed anti-Israeli and anti-American views time and time again. With the exception of limited involvement in the Afghan conflict, the continental European countries have played almost exactly by the left-wing playbook of appeasing radical Islam and should therefore be exempt from the wrath of the radicals -- yet they are still targeted.
At this point, our left-wing friends might gesture towards France's recent banning of the burqa and niqab as reasons for why France is targeted. However, it appears that bin Laden gave the go-ahead for the planned attacks over a year ago, well before the legislation was voted upon in the French Senate, ruling it out as a motive.
However, even if it was the anti-veil legislation that triggered the terrorist response; it raises the question -- "Is that all it takes to be a target for Islamic extremism?" France has followed the left-wing guide to appeasing radical Islam almost to the letter, and yet the moment they step away from that, radicals instantly assign gunmen to slaughter their citizens? Surely this cannot be the basis for a workable foreign policy.
The lesson from these attempted attacks is clear. Islamic radicals are trying to kill us not because of the policies of George W Bush or Tony Blair, or because there aren't enough U.N. or EU resolutions condemning Israel, or any other grievances the left are trying to project upon our enemies. The reason America and Western Europe are being attacked is because radical Islamists hate the Western way of life. They hate that we are not enslaved to their extremist version of Islam, and they hate the freedom and prosperity that we enjoy in the West.
The left are dead wrong on this issue -- the choice is not to fight or appease, but to fight or surrender. Radical Islamists will try to attack our countries whenever we refuse for a moment to give in to their demands, whether it be by removing a dictator from power, by refusing to throw Israel to the wolves, by banning a certain type of clothing, or even just by insisting on remaining free from theocracy -- we in the West will always be a target for radical Islam.
The methods for preventing radical Islam from taking root in the first place can be discussed and debated -- I would, for instance, point to the work of Iranian-American scholar Vali Nasr, who suggests that the defeat of radical Islam will come with the growth of globalized capitalism in the Middle East -- ultimately leading to a moderate Islamic middle class [iv]. However, once radical Islam has taken root, there is no negotiating or fruitful dialogue to be had -- it must be rooted out and destroyed.
The Obama administration, as well as many European governments, has treated radical Islamists like disaffected youths who are simply angry at a handful of "imperialistic" and "arrogant" American policies and who can therefore be satiated by apologetic rhetoric and policy reassessments. However, the attempted attacks on continental Europe show that such people do not care whether you are offering an open hand or a clenched fist, because ultimately, they are aiming for your throat.
The latest attacks will, and should, come as a shock to those on the left who believed that radical Islam was angry onlyl because of Cheney-esque American foreign policy. The left's discovery that even good, "understanding" nations like France and Belgium are still in the firing line, as well as the fact that Obama's new America is still threatened as much as ever, might jolt them out of their inertia.
Governments like the French government and the Obama administration, who have tried to appease radical Islam by assuring them that they are not like Bush and are therefore not the enemy, have wildly missed the point. If they wish to protect their nations and get rid of radical Islam, then they need to wake up quickly and realize that Islamic radicals do not care what "nuanced" approach the government takes -- nor do they care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, a dove or a hawk, a moderate Muslim or a Christian, British, American, or French.
We in the West are still at war, and the question is who will win -- us or them? Will we fight or surrender? We on the right have made our intentions clear; it is time for the left in America and Europe to do the same. Destroy or be destroyed -- there is no nuanced third way.
Adam Shaw is a British-born conservative writer. His blog is The Anglo-American Debate, and he can be contacted at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ACShaw
[iii] For an excellent treatment of this subject, I recommend B Bawer, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within (Doubleday, 2006).