It would appear that Europe is becoming “terrorism central” according to this entry at Strategypage.com. (Post dated February 4, 2005.)
Most people consider the Middle East to be the place where terrorist organizations find sanctuary and support. But SP points out that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for terrorists to operate there, not least because of anti-terrorism efforts by the governments in the region.
(As an aside, why are regimes in the ME cracking down on terrorists? The reasons are legion, but one that’s not getting enough attention is that they’re afraid to get on the bad side of the US. Another benefit of Pres. Bush’ policy of considering those who support terrorism as being enemies in the War on Terror.)
One place that’s becoming a major sanctuary for terrorists is Europe.
The reasons aren’t surprising to those who read the blogs. Europe has a large (and growing) Islamic immigrant population. Anti-Americanism is rampant in European media, and it’s a useful political tool for any party trying to get some votes. The generous Socialist welfare programs that the Europeans are so proud of have the result of supporting a population of young disaffected men who are sympathetic to terrorist recruiters.
But I think the most significant reason that Europe is becoming the new breeding ground for terrorists and their organizations is that most European cultures actively discourage assimilation.
This is definitely a problem, and one to which the Europeans should pay more attention. So far the American news media has focused on efforts which were clearly asinine, such as the French law which bans the wearing of headscarves or other items of dress with religious meaning. But more promising programs have been missed.
It will certainly be a shock to Americans who remember German justice minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin comparing President Bush to Hitler, but Germany has actually been struggling with the issue.
The main reason why they’re interested in doing this is due to the fact that Germany has a sizable immigrant population from Turkey. Germany is Turkey’s biggest ally in their efforts to join the European Union, and the German media has been working very hard to encourage native Germans to accept Turkish immigrants.
But there are still problems. One of the most controversial measures is a new law which will force immigrants to learn the German language. Those which oppose the law say that it’s racist to force people to accept elements of a culture if they don’t want to, and that it’s an attempt to destroy cultural identity.
I live in America, which is a land mostly comprised of immigrants. Here we’re exposed to elements from more cultures than anyplace else on Earth, and I’m convinced that every society has something positive to contribute. Even so, I don’t think that requiring someone to learn the language of a new home country is a bad idea. In fact, I think it’s a great first step, and it’s a darn sight better than banning head scarves.
The main question is: Will efforts like these aid or hinder terrorist efforts to find recruits and support? The answer is that it probably will be the most significant factor in eroding support for the terrorists, but it will take a very long time to see any results. Decades, at least. And progress will be so incremental that it will be difficult to measure. But that’s the nature of the war that’s been thrust upon us, and we just have to try our best.
7 thoughts on “Not News to the Blogosphere”
The marketplace of ideas isn’t all that open if we can’t communicate with one another – and the vote is more show than substance if big chunks of the population can’t share in the general debate.
There’s no comparison to be made between the United States and the European nations. They are ethnic states and you just can’t assimilate into that—you’re born into it or you aren’t.
Can they change that? Of course they can but not without pain. Look at the anti-immigrant riots here in the 19th century.
I doubt the Euros can change it. Look how hard it is for them to allow free migration of labor for their fellow Europeans. Now we’re talking about accepting a bunch of what appear to them to be fundamentalist religious wackos too? This film ends bad.
Europe has become terrorist central because terrorist can only operate in a free-democratic society.
To have any hope of being effective, terrorist need first and foremost a free media. The vast majority of terrorist attacks are so small scale that a country with a controlled media can hush up event. Without the media to spread news and images of the attack to the greater population the terrorist can’t terrorize anybody except those immediately at the attack site.
Second, terrorist need a police force limited by law. It is relatively simple for a police state to dismantle a terrorist network unless the support for it in the general population is rather large. In a democracy, a terrorist network with almost no support in the general population can escape detection for a long time.
Third terrorism can only change the policies of democracies. A terrorized population only serves any purpose if the population has some say on policy. In an undemocratic regime, killing random civilians would only draw the attention of the state without altering policy.
I find it interesting to note that while Mexico is supposedly a chaotic place with weak law enforcement and shares a porous boarder with the US, all the terrorist identified entering the country across the land borders have come from Canada. It think it far easier for terrorist to operate in democratic Canada than in authoritarian Mexico.
I think the most telling reason why Islamic terrorists will only increase their numbers in Europe is primarily due to the success of terrorism in Europe.
When America was attacked on our home soil by Islamic terrorists we rolled up our sleeves and went to where the terrorists were hiding and killed them.
When Spain, for instance, was attacked by Islamic terrorists, they fled like scared lemmings from Iraq in hopes of appeasing said terrorists.
With these two examples you can see that the recruitment of new disaffected muslims will only increase when they see that terrorism is successful in these lands. Look at the way the Dutch reacted to the murder of Van Gogh-they took the appeasement angle and ended up banning his movie from awards and such.
I agree wholeheartedly with Richard- this movie will end bad. And we may see a re-run of WWII when the Allies had to go in and clean up the mess again.
I think Shannon is onto something. If you look at history, check out where the leaders of the major terrorist states lived prior to taking over. Lenin was in Switzerland, Ho Chi Minh was in Paris, Khomeini was in Paris. Even Castro lived in the US. The men who crashed into the WTC and the Pentagon lived in Germany and the US.
In a free society the terrorists can communicate with each other in ways that they cannot in a state that is run by a dictator. They can also set up the sources of materiel for when they do take over while living in freedom.
The problem is how much are we prepared to do to stop the terrorists from having a haven? Are we willing to give up some rights if that keeps our country free or are we willing to give up some privileges for the same reason? Something to ponder.
The stand up comic Yakov Smirnoff used to say ” I could live in Sweden for twenty years and I wouldn’t be Swedish. I could live in France for twenty years and I wouldn”t be French. This is the only country where I can come to live and say I am an American.”
Not quite the only country which is a melting pot, and I doesn’t always go smoothly, but it is essentially correct. The europeans do not assimilate newcomers. Most don’t wish to. Some have stated policies which make assimilation less likely.
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