Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why Paris?

I just read this article: Why Paris? at the Times of Israel and had to react. So here we are again after a two year hiatus.

The answer given in the article to "Why Paris?" assumes that the attacks were symbolic rather than strategic. I believe this assumption is both false and dangerous. The strategic considerations offer a far more realistic explanation than the symbolic explanations. I would posit that the Paris attacks were strategically planned to destabilize France with the intention of eventually installing an Islamist government in Europe. As incredible as this seems, it is entirely possible for a number of reasons.

First of all, France has the highest Muslim population in Europe. In other words, the Islamic community has political power and large, insular communities. The large insular communities fulfill a strategic objective for Islamist movements, including, most notably ISIS. The first of these objectives is to insert militants into the host country. Especially with the new wave of refugees, ISIS was easily able to move its operatives into France and have them essentially disappear into the fabric of an existing community where they could work on recruitment and indoctrination. The geographic insularity of these communities decreased the reliance of these operatives on electronic communications as strategy sessions can occur in cafes and on streetcorners. Furthermore, because these communities are largely insular, the presence of intelligence agents is more easily detected. Accordingly, France is an easy place for militant Islamists to muster and to organize.

Secondly, France is a liberal democracy with high regard for individual rights. Like most western countries, it would be inappropriate to label or mark wide swaths of the population as suspect or to take prophylactic measures like preventative arrests of high risk individuals.

Third, France's rampant, sometimes unrestrained, antisemitism empowers Islamists both in France and across the globe. Israel is the western world's sole outpost in the middle east. In France there has been no political will to defend Israel unequivocally even against such petty attacks as food labeling in the EU, or even to acknowledge that attacks on Israel are attacks on the western world. Their misguided national consensus when it comes to Israel is that the terrorists "have a point." [Our own President falls into this trap, though he is very "between the lines" about it.] This mentality encourages all of these attacks on the west. The "Palestinians" and their allies repeatedly reject peace and sustain a terror campaign for decades against a far more powerful adversary. France has, with a fairly unified voice, been willing to reward those acts of terror by demonizing the attacked entity and its Jewish population. This, "you have to understand where their coming from" mentality infects the liberal and educated elements of French society. How then would French liberals reconcile their hatred of Israel with France's newly created consanguinity with the problems Israel has faced for decades? The only way is for it to react to this terrorism in a manner opposite to what Israel does: that is, to give in to what the terrorists want rather than to fight against it.

On the other hand, France's anti-semitism is also apparent in its growing nationalist movement as evidenced by the rise of Marie Le Pen as a viable candidate, which leads to reason Four: The coming election will likely attract reactionary, nationalistic voters who stand to elect reactionary, nationalistic leaders. Because France is a liberal, western, and open society, the election of such a leader would necessarily cause unrest and political instability. Even if France "goes the other way" as the United States did after 9/11 and elects a liberal, progressive leader, there will still be instability. Look how shackled the U.S. has been on foreign policy since 9/11. 9/11 caused the U.S. to factionalize to the extent that we are now politically incapable of pursuing any political agenda. France is even riper for factionalization. The French economy is already crippled by unemployment and will now be further hobbled by declines in tourism and travel after these attacks. A politically destabilized France that splits the electorate will create opportunities for Islamic political power if the Moslem communities act in a united fashion.

So, no, I do not believe that the attacks were symbolic. I believe they were strategic and I believe that the strategy will bear fruit. France will become unstable in three to five years, will have Islamic leadership within ten years, and will become and Islamist base in 12 years.

Sun Tzu told us what to do some 5000 years ago. We need to recognize and attack the enemy's strategy. Pretending they don't have a strategy is a sure way to lose this war. As to how to attack their strategy, I am not certain it can be done palatably.