The Bullies Have Found the Soft Mark---Europe
Victor Davis Hanson, in Realclearpolitics.com, asks some pointed questions to Europeans after we all witnessed the Muslim reaction to little Denmark's satiric cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Hanson asks:
If the most liberal and tolerant states in Europe such as Holland and Denmark have the most problems with Islamic radicals, then what does that say about the continent as a whole? Why were not the calculating jihadists singling out a more unapologetic Catholic Poland that has larger contingents in Iraq and is far prouder of its Christian roots?
Do the Europeans sense that the more open, free-wheeling and non-judgmental the culture, the more it is hated by the jihadists? If Europe as a whole is more pro-Palestinian than the United States, disapproved of Iraq, and yet is still hated as much, is magnanimity at last exposed as appeasement—earning only contempt from an emboldened enemy?
We have been saying it for a long time in this blog. The bullies of Islamic radicalism seek the weakest in order to spread their territory. American was perceived as weak by Bin Laden due to over a decade of soft responses to serious attacks. The strategy went that America would never react with might and one big blow like 9-11 would send the giant into an isolationist cocoon. That strategy worked against a large percentage of Americans. Bin Laden just misread Bush and some 55% of his fellow Americans.
However, the second part of the strategy may be working. That second facet of the global jihad is the long war of attrition that continues to bring down, not only “the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot”, but the "panickers" who showed support initially but were waiting for any negative sign in Iraq and any lessening of support at home to call for troops to return home (this was written about so eloquently by Norman Podhoretz in Commentary last month). This second phase has striking logic when one sees the ideological assistance provided by academicians, the MSM and a major wiing of the Democratic Party.
Borrowing from Podhoretz a quote from Thomas Paine:
’Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. . . . Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses . . . . [T]heir peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain for ever undiscovered.
Back to Europe, such attrition looks to be more successful as the Islamists see a people with little stomach (and a minimalist military) to defend itself. Hanson sees Europeans as further cowering at the thought that US troops will be pulled from their NATO perches. Now, the anti-Americanism has toned down by the governing elites. But, will they have the will and ability to defend themselves?
Or have the bullies found a weak enough target for success?