Before Friday France had not been taking the lead in the war on Islamic terrorism. It has a very large Muslim population, close to ten percent of the population. Its second largest city, Marseilles had a Muslim majority. And, sad to say the favorability ratings for ISIS were only slightly lower than those of President Hollande. The Socialist president had been elected with almost all of the Muslim votes.
Francois Hollande’s firm and decisive response to Friday’s terrorist attack was a welcome act of political courage. Readers of this blog were not surprised to see the French military bomb the ISIS capital of Raqqa yesterday. Apparently, it flew 20 sorties and destroyed training camps, arms depots and command and control facilities. And no one should have been surprised to see that French paramilitary forces had conducted raids throughout the country.
20 sorties in one day is not very many, but considering that the Obama military had been flying around 5 sorties a day, it was a step in the right direction. One notes that the American effort was too weak to be effective. It was a PR ploy to make it look that the administration was at least doing something. By way of comparison, during the first Gulf War the Bush administration was flying around 1200 sorties a day into Iraq.
As we would expect, the Obama administration is leading from behind, if it is leading at all. It stepped up its bombing of Syria yesterday, destroying a convoy of oil trucks. And it provided intelligence to the French military to help it to target ISIS in Raqqa. Of course, this raises the question of why Obama had not done any of this before, but such is his submissive approach to Islamic terrorism.
In a sign that the administration still suffers from incompetence, yesterday it released 5 Yemeni terrorists from Gitmo. Of course, it put out the word that these were unimportant terrorists, but, one might ask, if they were unimportant why had they spent over a decade in prison?
Then the administration declared itself ready to receive more Syrian refugees. Instead of having the Secretary of State or the National Security Advisor represent it on the Sunday talk shows, it chose the latter’s communications director, Ben Rhodes, to explain that when Obama declared that ISIS was contained he only meant “geographically.”
While Francois Hollande has been firm and decisive, Barack Obama continues to dither. Even with seven years of on-the-job training Obama still looks like an amateur. A submissive amateur, at that.
Andrea Peyser offered a relevant comparison:
It’s beyond surreal that the president of France is making the American president look like a cheese-eating amateur.
The terror attacks in Paris Friday took scores of lives and thrust the entire civilized world into paroxysms of grief and despair. Then something unexpected happened.
French President Francois Hollande stepped up to the soccer goal. And he displayed the kind of leadership one normally does not associate with the randy politician presiding over the land of vintage Champagne and brie.
No sooner had ISIS claimed responsibility for the butchery than Hollande got in front of TV cameras and told the traumatized public that the savagery was an “act of war.’’ He vowed to pound ISIS into submission.
Compare that to the American president’s initial reaction. President Obama, who once ridiculed ISIS (or “ISIL,” as he calls it) by comparing it to a junior-varsity team, was loathe to point fingers. “I don’t want to speculate at this point in terms of who was responsible for this,” he said.
One notes that Francois Hollande is a professional, career politician. So are all members of his administration. Barack Obama is an amateur, in over his head when facing a crisis, unable to provide leadership because he does not understand what is going on.
During Saturday’s Democratic candidate debate Hillary Clinton suggested that what happened in France was not our fight and Bernie Sanders declared that it was all about climate change. Obviously, Hillary does not understand that an act of war committed against one NATO member nation is an attack on the others.
Barack Obama ran against the Bush administration War on Terror. He was running away from all military engagements. The American people voted for him on that basis. Now we are reaping the results of that policy.
Need we even mention, not one of the Democrats, and certainly not their president dared to pronounce the name of Islam in the context of the terror attack. One notes that Francois Hollande has never hesitated to do so.
Of course, we are involved in a war between civilizations. Some do not want to see it, but the evidence is perfectly clear. Worse yet, the West has embraced policies that signal cultural weakness and decline. As I and many others have pointed out, it has wallowed in decadence and embraced the folly of multiculturalism. Tolerance has morphed into appeasement.
Notable economic historian Niall Ferguson explains it well:
Let us be clear about what is happening. Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defenses to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.
And Europe, terrified of being considered racist and wanting to live down its racist past has opened its doors to more and more Muslims. France has been doing so for decades.
So, has Germany. Since German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken the lead in opening her country to Muslim immigrants, she has no credibility to lead a war against Islamist terrorism.
Ferguson defines the problem posed by such large numbers of Muslims:
It is conventional to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent, and that is doubtless true. But it is also true that the majority of Muslims in Europe hold views that are not easily reconciled with the principles of our modern liberal democracies, including those novel notions we have about equality between the sexes and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities.
Today, Europeans are debating the wisdom of multiculturalism. But, is it too little, too late? The barbarians have breached the gates; they are in the cities, the towns and the countryside. We don't know how it will end, but we should know that it is not going to end soon.
From the Telegraph:
Mr [Davis] Lewin of the Henry Jackson Society, warned that unless liberal governments were more open about confronting the threat posed by militant Islam to European societies, they risked losing the argument to the real hardliners.
“It’s all very well to have a compassionate, multi-cultural vision in principle, but in practice we do not seem to know who is among us, and whether they share our values.
“The political classes cannot keep saying – as Merkel is saying – that ‘there is nothing to see here’, that the problem is not related to Islam, when everyone can perfectly well see that it is.
“If mainstream governments keep letting cultural sensitivities stand in the way of a robust assessment of the situation, then the far-Right will only exploit this issue further, and turn to ever more reductionist and populist solutions.”