Europe's Seven Deadly Sins
The terror attacks in Paris did not happen in a vacuum but are the consequences of deliberate and alterable governmental policies as well as social and political dynamics within Europe. Regardless of the rhetoric of war, François Hollande’s blustering about pitiless retribution, midnight vigils, and social media elegies, unless these policies and outlooks change, Europe is in for more of the same, and expecting otherwise is crazy.
Obviously at the top of the list are Europe’s liberal immigration policies. They are not as undoable as many would believe, since Europe’s generous cradle-to-grave social systems are hamstrung by fundamental demographic issues which require the importation of foreign workers to sustain. But compounding this longstanding policy are gratuitous asylum laws which serve little purpose other than to make Europeans, and particularly elites, feel good about themselves, and absolve the continent of its past sins. These can be reversed.
Europe’s embrace of secular humanist multiculturalism as a belief system in place of religion and nationalism will not go away anytime soon, if ever. If it persists as the dominant Weltanschauung Europe is likely doomed. Change, if it comes, will emerge from popular opinion among the non-Islamic European masses, and the movements and parties that represent them, like the National Front in France, or Pegida in Germany. This is something that the elites will battle vigorously, possibly with both police and military forces. Civil unrest and the repressive measures that they may provoke may weaken Europe further, undermine democratic principles, and possibly make things even easier for Islamic radicals. But if European elites will tolerate popular change without imposing authoritarian crackdowns, Europe has a chance in this regard.
Avoiding authoritarian crackdowns does not mean that European nations can continue to allow Islamic minorities to establish mini-states within European cities, where authorities fear to go, sharia law is applied, and terrorists can plot and sustain themselves. One of the oddities of the Paris attacks (both in January and November) is how afterward Paris looks like an armed camp, with bored and heavily armed police and soldiers patrolling streets, exactly where the terrorists are not going to strike. It is no accident that following the attacks on a media outlet and a Jewish store January (both of which got heightened attention from security forces) terrorists struck targets they knew to be unprotected with gunfire and grenades (restaurants and a concert hall) while striking the one protected site (the stadium) just with suicide bombers. Troops and police ought to be in Paris’ no-go zones, rather than at the Eifel Tower, which makes for good video but does little good otherwise. Conducting police raids is not enough. National authority must be reestablished in Muslim dominated areas.
Pacifism is directly related to this new European belief system, and just as destructive. It is pointless to speak of war and merciless ripostes, when European governments lack the means and the will to carry them out. Labelling pinprick airstrikes against ISIS targets as “massive” doesn’t help. ISIS knows they are not massive. France’s strikes against ISIS targets in Syria are a fraction of what the American, Russian, or even Israeli militaries can do. And France is perhaps Europe’s preeminent military power today (outside of Russia), with Britain and NATO generally having voluntarily decimated their own militaries. Europe’s military weakness can be corrected relatively easily. Doing so, by raising defense budgets and even reinstituting conscription, will not only objectively increase Europe’s ability to defend itself, but send important messages of deterrence.
Europe’s popular (media, public demonstrations, etc.) and governmental attacks on Israel are symptomatic of many of the foregoing problems, compounded by the idea that vilifying Israel somehow absolves Europe of its crimes against the Jews. Little noticed in the days before the Paris attacks was the European Union’s decision to label Israeli products produced in towns and villages in Judea and Samaria as from the “West Bank.” This had the specific intention of alerting European consumers to avoid them since they come from “occupied territory” a misnomer that still makes Europeans of all classes feel good, since it obfuscates their own guilt, not only against the Jews, but in abhorrent colonial enterprises that make Israel’s worst policies appear enlightened. How can Europeans feel sorry for themselves as terror victims, while expressing sympathy for Palestinian Islamists as they shoot, knife and blow up Jews? It is not only hypocritical and immoral, but illogical. This morally incoherent worldview won’t stand up against Islamists, who operate under a disciplined moral belief system with its own internal logic. More practically it makes it more difficult to sustain and strengthen vital security cooperation between the Jewish state and Europe. It’s also correctly seen by Islamists as appeasement, which only encourages further attacks.
In Europe, climate change and environmental nuttiness is much worse than in the United States (even under the Obama administration.) Germany will abandon its safe, prosperous and efficient nuclear industry because a tidal wave on an island half a world away damaged nuclear power plants there. Europe’s increasing rejection of nuclear power and coal drives continued dependence on the oil-producing nations of the Middle East, and also for Russian natural gas. Wahhabi Saudi Arabia is the ideological fount for much of the Middle East’s current radicalism. Though Saudis are a nominal Western ally, both Europe and the United States would be better served if the reactionary Saudi version of Islam could be marginalized, something which can’t happen so long as Europe remains wedded to ideologically pleasing but impracticable energy policies. Likewise, Europe is ill-situated to confront Russia in Ukraine, the Baltics or the Middle East when it is tied to Russian gas. Europe’s defense will be hindered so long as its energy policies are governed by irrational fears, rather than hard logic.
Europe shares blame with the Obama administration for the disastrous nuclear treaty with Iran. Sobbing over suicide bombs in Paris while giving the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism a free path to produce nuclear weapons is cognitive dissonance of the worst sort. Not only does this policy put European cities at risk of nuclear terror, it also inevitably will put Europe in the crosshairs of Iranian nuclear tipped ballistic missiles. Once that happens (likely within the next decade if not sooner) the ability for Europe to intervene forcefully in the Middle East (assuming it were to develop the military capability and the will to do so) will be neutered. Not only that, Europe will be subject to Iranian nuclear blackmail, whenever issues arise that impact Islam on the continent.
None of these problems is lost on Europe’s Islamist enemies, who are not nomadic cave dwellers but a sophisticated and determined foe already imbedded within European society, and in communication with support and logistic centers in the Middle East and Africa. While it is within Europe’s power to reverse course, as long as these and other weaknesses remain(this is certainly not a complete or exhaustive list), Europe as we know it will continue to be existentially threatened.