Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Europe's Disconnect With Terrorism

Outside The Beltway notes this article in the Chicago Sun-Times, on Europe's failure to grasp the scope of Islamic Terrorism:

Within that general objective, they have a more specific agenda. Sometimes that agenda is a mirror image of what the West wants -- such as proudly wearing Islamic symbols in French schools. On other occasions, it is something entirely mysterious to us -- such as restoring East Timor to the House of Islam. But it is an extremely ambitious agenda that includes regaining those parts of Europe -- including Spain, Austria and Eastern Europe -- that used to be ruled either by the Moors or the Ottoman Empire.

Most of Europe still clings to the Pilger view. As last week's poll for the German Marshall Fund demonstrated, Europeans are more likely to regard Islamist terrorism as something that the United States invited by such actions as the war on Iraq and less likely to approve of independent and preemptive retaliatory force unless the U.N. OKs it. (Interestingly, the views of most Europeans closely mirrored those of Democrats in the United States.)

But this balance of opinion is likely to change as events like Beslan continue to occur. We are at the start of a long war against revolutionary Islamist terrorism -- a war akin to those against the French Revolution and against Nazism.

At the start of all such wars those who advocate strong forceful resistance to the revolutionaries -- men such as Burke and Churchill -- are seen as extreme, unreasonable and too violent in their proposed solutions. Most politicians believe that the revolution can be appeased or that the revolutionaries can be directed to other nations and their own spared.

But the Burkes and Churchills gradually convert others to their point of view when it becomes clear that the aims of the revolutionaries are essentially limitless, that they can be diverted only temporarily, and that nations under attack must therefore hang together or hang separately. Americans learned this lesson early because Sept. 11 was plainly directed at them. Europeans will learn it in the future as it becomes clear that Sept. 11 was the first installment of an attack on the entire West.
I have said it many times on this blog here, Spain's Socialist party's idea of the March 11 attack as a reprisal of its support for the United States, and its subsequent return to normality (skipping over the foiled attack on the country's high speed train link between Madrid in Sevill, after Zapatero won the elections and announced the retreat from Iraq), is leaving us here in Spain unprepared for the next attack.