Belmont Club

Le Kobayashi Maru

If there was any doubt that the world is now in crisis, the mass casualty attack on Paris a few hours ago should lay the question to rest.  In response to the assault, France closed its borders, declared a state of emergency and declared a curfew, a trifecta of measures unseen since World War 2. The wave of attacks is temporarily over. The period of damage assessment, which includes totaling up the doleful toll of casualties, and political posturing now begins.

This is the first time France has declared a state of emergency since the Algerian war, which took place between 1954 and 1962. It is also the first time a curfew has been imposed since the dark days of world war two in 1944.

It’s significant that the attacks occurred during a period of heightened alert associated with big soccer matches. French president Hollande himself was watching a game when he had to be unceremoniously shuttled to the safety of a government building.  That suggests that French security forces and intelligence were genuinely surprised by the attack and therefore there exist terror networks they don’t know about capable of large-scale operations. Scotland Yard and MI5 must realize this and will inevitably be burning the midnight oil tonight.

Hanin Ghaddar notes that only a few days ago ISIS launched a mass casualty attack on the Hezbollah stronghold of the Dahiyeh in Beirut to prove that there are no more safe spaces. “ISIS has demonstrated to the Shiites and the rest of Lebanon that Hezbollah cannot protect them, and that its ‘tight’ security plan in the southern suburbs of Beirut is a fantasy.”  Beirut came to the 10th arrondissement today.  It will come to other Western cities soon.

The scale of the Paris attacks sends the same message to the Western public that ISIS telegraphed to the Hezbollah:  French police alone cannot protect them. Not that the cops aren’t trying. Recently the Turks nabbed a French jihadist as he was having hair plugs implanted to disguise his appearance, the better to pass unnoticed. “Last week, police swooped on 20 IS suspects in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya, days ahead of a summit of world leaders from the Group of 20 nations, including US President Barack Obama and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.”  But that’s not nearly enough.

In any event, the bloodbath is likely to increase pressure on the EU to reinstate border controls. Already, Austria is erecting a fence on its frontier with Slovenia to slow down the migrant tide. Sweden has set up border checks for the first time in 20 years.

The dream of a “borderless Europe” has taken a body blow.  Now all courses run ill. The momentum of the migrant tide is already too great to simultaneously pacify public opinion and avert a human tragedy. A million people are on the road, strung out all over the place. Reuters reports that migrants are now making their way through the Arctic route, coming in through Norway via Russia clad in pitifully thin coats. “Ali left Syria to avoid the army draft and paid $2,500 all-inclusive for the trip to the border, which included flying to the Russian Arctic port of Murmansk via Moscow and Beirut. Like others reaching Norway, he cycled the final stretch, as Russian authorities do not allow travelers to proceed on foot.”

Ali may not be as welcome any more.  You can’t let them freeze and Paris can’t let them in. Like Syria itself, there are no easy choices left to the Europeans. EU efforts to bribe African countries into repatriating their citizens were met by a blank refusal.

The European Union has been forced to drop controversial plans to deport failed asylum seekers who do not have passports after African countries blocked the move.

European leaders offered more than £1billion aid in a bid to persuade their African counterparts to take back tens of thousands of illegal migrants.

But a migration summit in Valletta, Malta, descended into farce after the Africans rejected the EU plan to expel those who do not qualify for asylum using special papers.

The dilemma the West now faces is that it cannot survive on the basis of the platform which its elites have carefully constructed since WW2. They are being beaten to death with their own lofty statements. They must either continue to uphold the vision of open borders, multiculturalism, declining birthrates, unilateral disarmament and a growing state sector at all costs — in other words continue on the road to suicide — or retreat. As recent events at American campuses have shown, when faced with the choice of saving the Left and saving the actual world, the odds are that “the world” goes over the side first.

In attempting to survive on its own terms, the Left will tear itself apart. In its agony it will destroy much else. It may be that Europe will rediscover its culture; it is possible it will develop the will to defend itself; it is conceivable it will hold off extreme fascist movements; it could even plausibly reconstruct its demography. But it cannot do this without an upheaval that will leave nothing unscathed.

The good news is that the West must soon squarely face choices it has been avoiding until now.  The bad news is that nothing will escape unscathed.

Radical Islamism’s greatest challenge is it that ruthlessly exposes a  fatal flaw which has existed in the ideology of the West for the last 70 years. It is representative of a question that won’t go away.  Can it face the facts just as they are and think its way out of a jam? What Samantha Power called the Problem from Hell is really the Kobayashi Maru test of European civilization. Faced with a no-win situation, will the West find a path through?

The answer, as in most cases in history, is “maybe.” Maybe if we get it right, if we think out of the box, if we are lucky then perhaps we will survive. In a world accustomed to “safe spaces” and guarantees, this may seem unsatisfactory.  But each past generation was offered no more than this, from the hunter gatherers who ventured out of Africa to the fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain.   That is all that is on offer. Take the maybe or walk away empty handed.

The biggest psychological barrier that the current orthodoxy has to overcome is the realization that humanity is actually free. Nothing is written, especially not the PC text. But you must face the facts, no matter the trigger, no matter the micro-aggression. One thing for sure, the West will fail surely and the world descend into chaos if we continue as before.

If one thing is plainly evident, it is that the same old, same old isn’t going to work.

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