Jochen Bittner is the political editor of the German magazine, Der Zeit. In a New York Times op-ed he evaluates the European solutions to the problem of Islamist terrorism. As we examine it we will be asking ourselves whether it is a symptom or a solution. Serious European thinkers, aided and abetted by seriously intellectual politicians have created the mess. Let’s see how they are analyzing it.
European states, Bittner explains are afraid:
They fear that the union is being pushed into chaos by Germany, its de facto leader, whose bounteous generosity toward migrants is attracting the terrorists of today and tomorrow.
What took them so long? If you prefer a long, detailed and excellent analysis of the German role, especially Merkel’s politics, I recommend Wolfgang Streeck’s article in the London Review of Books.
Some European nations have drawn a rational conclusion from the German/Belgian/Swedish experiment. Bittner disapproves, but he does not have a better solution either. In any event, here is what some other European countries are doing:
Everyone has his own solution, none of them good. Eastern European leaders have come up with an easy equation: No Muslim immigration equals no terrorist attacks. On Wednesday, Poland said it was shutting its doors. Why, these countries ask, should we be forced to repeat Western Europe’s mistake: preach religious tolerance, embrace multiculturalism and end up with hate-breeding parallel societies?
There is nothing intrinsically crazy about this idea. It makes perfectly good sense.
Like it or not, shutting down borders also makes sense, even if it means withdrawing from the European Union. Bittner does not approve of that either:
The skeptical British, meanwhile, wonder why they should have to fund, and depend on, Europol, the union’s weak security agency — and have to work with countries like Germany, which seem allergic to any sort of surveillance. Better, they feel, to leave the union, retake control over their own security, and rely instead on the world’s most powerful intelligence alliance, the American-led “Five Eyes.”
What’s wrong with these solutions, and, incidentally what’s wrong with a full crackdown on Muslim extremists in European countries? Well, Bittner worries about the dissolution of the European Union. He is against that solution because he believes that that is what the terrorists want:
In a way, the very question shows the disproportionality of the thought — unless you think it’s worth sacrificing 60 years of peace and international cooperation to the depredations of terrorists. It’s what they want; European disunity, confusion and extremism put them a step closer to the all-out war between Muslims and non-Muslims they so desperately seek.
It is common for people to float this piece of absurdity: we must not do it because that is what the terrorists want. Why are we so concerned with not giving them what they want? Many of them want to die. Should we deprive them of this glory? If they want an all-out war, why not give them what they want? They cannot win the war. They tried to have an all-out war against Israel and how did that work out for the forces of Islam. Perhaps losing an all out war in ignominy is required to make them come to their senses.
In the meantime, the terrorists do not much care about how Europeans live. They really, really want to Islamize all of Europe, to establish a Caliphate in Europe and to see all Europeans submit to Islam.
Islamist terrorism is motivated by successful operations, by body counts and also by weakness, decadence and mealy-mouthed attacks on Islamophobia. In truth, Barack Obama’s America is following Europe down this treacherous path… because it has no notion what makes terrorists terrorists.
Bittner tries to draw a less accommodating lesson. I am not sure who “we” is, but clearly serious European thinkers have been following a policy of appeasement, dating to the time of 9/11. Now, he has discovered that the religion of peace can serve to produce terrorism. What took him so long?:
For the sake of social peace, after the Sept. 11 attacks, and later after the Madrid and London bombings, we told ourselves that Islam and Islamism had nothing to do with each other. But sadly, they do. The peaceful religion can sometimes serve as a slope into a militant anti-Western ideology, especially when this ideology offers a strong sense of belonging amid the mental discomfort of our postmodern societies.
If you have something to say, why not say it clearly and forthrightly. As for social peace, he must be kidding. It was raw fear that caused the Europeans to cower in the corner and to try to appease Islam. They failed and continue to fail to recognize that militant Islam is unappeasable.
Bittner feels most comfortable with a weak-kneed approach… one that promotes social, political and cultural integration:
There are serious grounds for the alienation between the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her European partners. There are many practical things she can do in response, but also some big-picture steps. She should speak honestly about Europe’s illusions, past and present. She should lead Europe past its outmoded data-protection concerns and push for coordination among security services. And she should make integration and opportunity a common value for everyone in Europe — a European dream that is more appealing to immigrants than any afterlife kingdom could possibly be.
Frankly, I find this pathetic. There is nothing Christian Europe can offer that is remotely as good as the Muslim afterlife. The notion that Muslims can be integrated has been disproved by decades of effort to integrate Muslims into European societies. In truth, Muslims do not want to integrate. They do not know how. They do not have or wish to acquire the skills necessary to do so.
When incipient terrorists read such tripe they conclude that Europe is weak and about to fail. They conclude that the decadent West will soon submit to virile Islam and that they need but keep doing what they are doing. Because they see it working. It is changing hearts and minds toward Islam, bringing their religion new respect and moving one step close to the Caliphate.