“Neville Again” was the punch line of a Mark Steyn piece in the Telegraph last year on how Europe has returned to the Neville Chamberlain-style appeasement which marked the 1930s. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Pete Du Pont agrees with that assessment:
Simply put, Old Europe’s thinking today is that of 1930s, when the Oxford Union voted “under no circumstances [to] fight for King and Country,” and British PM Neville Chamberlain believed appeasement should be the policy and “peace in our time” the goal. Winston Churchill had the better understanding: “You ask what is our aim? I can answer that in one word, victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.” He was talking of Hitler and Nazi Germany, of course, but without victory there will be no survival against Islamic terrorism either.
Du Pont adds:
Old Europe may be falling apart before our eyes. This is a suggested by the opposition of Western Europeans to the American military action in Iraq as well as the defeat of the European Union Constitution in France and Holland last spring and the economic decline of European socialist economies. In any case, Old Europe has neither the political will nor the economic strength to combat terrorism. Without the United States, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq would be terrorist-controlled nations. Once again it will be up to America to defeat an assault on Western civilization, just as it was left to the United States to rescue Europe against Nazism and then against the global assualt of communism.
Within the European continent thousands of trained terrorists live and travel freely. Historian Walter Laquer reports that security authorities estimate more than 600–perhaps several thousand–British residents are actual graduates of Osama bin Laden’s training camps. Dr. Hani al-Siba’i, the director of the al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies in London was quoted as approving of the subway bombings as a great victory, for it was legitimate to target civilians since “the term ‘civilians’ does not exist in Islamic law . . .” The Islamic fanatic who killed Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh told the court: “I acted purely in the name of my religion,” and that “one day, should I be set free, I would do the same, exactly the same . . .”
But none of this means continental Europeans or the British establishment are prepared to criticize terrorism. Christophe Chaboud, France’s antiterrorism coordinator, said last week that the war against Iraq–evidently not the blowing up of Spanish or British trains–is making Europe dangerous, and the BBC forbids the use of the word “terrorist” in its coverage of the London bombings.
France, Germany and their European allies believe the welfare state economic model–high taxes and welfare benefits, shorter work weeks, strong restrictions on hiring and firing of workers, huge government subsidies for industry and agriculture, and suffocating regulation by a massive bureaucracy in Brussels–is preferable to Anglo-American democratic capitalism and will lead to prosperity. But it hasn’t and it won’t, and without economic strength the military strength needed to fight terrorism becomes impossible to assemble.
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Al Qaeda understands that in the end the United States is what matters. The United Nations is irresolute and corrupt, and important European nations are indecisive and vulnerable. So drive the United States from the Middle East, establish control of all its nations, and then force the Western European nations to appease and accept an Islamic, theocratic global society.
Combating terrorism is thus the modern version of war–no huge armies, but nevertheless a real war–and winning this war is no less important to global freedom than winning the World War II and the Cold War.
America can win the war against terrorism, but it will take time and resources and a considerable intellectual effort. The Bush administration will continue to provide military and intelligence resources, but it must also continue the intellectual debate.
One consolation: Du Pont is at least hopeful that civilization will, in the end, win.