These past few days, there have been some «small fires» – small indeed – in the Brussels area, but today the fire brigade was lured into an ambush in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. There were no casualties, but apparently we'll have to see a few dead before it will be possible to reflect seriously on what is really going on in Brussels. The authorities did not want to confirm a connection to the fires in Paris, but did not dare to deny it either.Brussels is, of course, the very brain pan of the European Union, the factory of multi-culturalism, so it should be fully prepared to respond at a lightning tempo. None of your French dithering. Even now, I expect a dozen committees, quangos, special bureaux, and academic studies are developing more ways to encourage the youths to integrate with the city they are passing their time by trashing.
Speaking of Brussels, Paul Belien, editor of the aforementioned Brussels Journal, has some thoughts on the American election:
Americans can already see what their country’s future will be if they vote for [the dreaded potential House Speaker, Nancy] Pelosi and her band. They only need to watch Europe. That is what America will be like 20 years from now if the Liberals succeed in turning the U.S. into a European-style welfare state. The latter is the cause of all Europe’s problems. It has led to secularization, because people who are catered for from the cradle to the grave no longer need God. It has led to the immigration debacle, because Europe has attracted welfare immigrants who only come for the benefits and not to contribute to the host country’s wealth creation. It has led to the loss of the citizens’ ability to care for themselves, because they expect everything from the state.
However, the current American elections are relevant for Europe, too. If they lead to the American withdrawal from Iraq, Europe will face a widespread intifada. The withdrawal will be perceived as a defeat of the West and the Muslim “youths” in Europe’s cities will become even more arrogant. They utterly despise the Europeans, whom they perceive (not entirely without reason) to be men dressed up as ballerinas, and they hate America because it fights back. In a world ruled by men who only understand the language of power it is better to be hated than despised. If America withdraws the Islamist fanatics will despise America for it. They will take this as a sign that the West has been defeated and that the world is theirs.I think the world of Belien, and quite agree with the first paragraph above, but I have to dissent from the second. There is simply nothing left that we can "win" in Iraq unless, as he seems to imply, "not withdrawing" is a win. Maybe there once was a chance for a meaningful victory —I believed it at the time we went in and for a few months afterward — but if so that's now just one of history's countless "what ifs." Under the guidance of our presidential nation destroyer (in the United States) and nation builder (in Iraq) the whole wretched business has gone irrevocably pear shaped.
"The withdrawal will be perceived as a defeat of the West and the Muslim 'youths' in Europe’s cities will become even more arrogant"? Please. The Iraq debacle is already perceived as a defeat of the West, beyond anyone's poor power to add or subtract. That isn't to say that no good can still come out of it; we could partition the country into Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish areas and keep a hefty amount of firepower on hand (probably in the Kurdish territory) for situations. Frankly, I rather like the idea of millions of Muslims divided among themselves. The allies were quite happy to split Germany after World War II, as a further check against the Jerries getting sentimental about lebensraum again, and it worked out well.
But the biggest problem with Belien's analysis is his idea that the United States can, or should, keep the restless youths pacified. Every country in Europe has the means to get them to shape up or ship out. Even if we were willing, no act or example by the United States could solve the problem unless Europe locates its spinal column. It doesn't take more excruciating years in Iraq, squandering yet more resources, to deliver the news that the world doesn't belong to the youths for setting some fires.
Iraq is not the alpha and omega. There will be other times and places where we will need those resources, human and material, that we are casting into the Mesopotamian void.