The problems facing Europe

Spain’s former Prime Minister José María Aznar, who was a staunch ally of the US in the war on terror, has penned an interesting piece regarding the problems he feels Europe is facing – and he slams Europe for their penchant for anti-Americanism (especially over the last five years) here:

Another widely held belief, especially among Europeans, is that the allegedly simplistic, aggressive and imperialist reaction to September 11 by President George W. Bush’s administration has only served to fan the flames of anti-Western resentment and violence. Advocates of this view also believe that poverty is the result of the American system’s Wild West-style capitalism. What is more, they claim that if the United States had acted with the wisdom and tact that characterizes Europeans-supposedly acquired through centuries of internal squabbling and intrigue-the situation would be better today. These views are also grossly mistaken.

I hardly need to point out the fact that Bin Laden’s crusade dates back to long before President Bush entertained any presidential ambitions, although this matters little to anti-American minds. The current occupant of the White House represents to them nothing more than an evangelical radicalization of Bill Clinton, being the representative of the supposedly ultra-conservative American heartland.

In reply, I have only this to say, and it is something of which I am entirely convinced: Weakness only encourages terrorists to continue perpetrating their atrocities. And let us not forget, there is no greater success for terrorists than that of being able to continue their operations. The weak responses of the 1980s and 90s consisted of reacting to one Islamic terrorist attack after another with gestures rather than firm measures. We Europeans have always preferred to look the other way, in the false and comfortable belief that Bin Laden and others like him are punishing the Americans for their policies, rather than for what they are and what they represent. During the Cold War, we told ourselves that if a nuclear confrontation should actually take place, it would pass over our heads and scarcely affect us. Something similar has happened in the case of Islamic fundamentalism: all of its venom is directed against America, so we imagine that we can again sleep easily.

In reality, Islamic terrorism has created a new bipolar conflict: them against us, in a global war in which our very way of life is at stake. On March 11, 2004, Islamic terrorists living in Spain attacked my country; last July 7, and again on July 21, other Islamic fanatics struck at the heart of London. So we can see that Europeans are not safe from the terrorist threat. And, to answer those who claim that everything is simply a product of U.S. policies, we should point out that Europe has taken a non-confrontational approach when it comes to handling Islamist radicals, both at home and abroad.

Indeed, far from generating further terrorism, the United States has taken three very important steps: first, it has beefed up national security, both by strengthening its borders and by passing the Patriot Act; second, it has brought terrorists to justice, wherever they may be, striking at them in their safe havens; third, it has sought to extend the boundaries of freedom and democracy within the Arab world, which is the best way to alleviate the conditions that encourage fanaticism and terror. These measures have all been strongly criticized in Europe. However, the proposals currently being considered by Tony Blair are not very different. The fact is, there is one and only one strategy when it comes to tackling terrorism: to ensure its defeat.

The foreign minister of an important European country, when asked at the beginning of 2003 whether he favored the United States or Saddam Hussein to win the Iraq War, replied with a resounding silence. Five years on in the war on terror, and three years on in Iraq, we should have learned something-namely, that when it comes to defending their national security, Americans are more steadfast and consistent than we might have thought. The re-election of George W. Bush is another good example of this.

He not only addresses the anti-American sentiment in Europe, but he also offers some solutions for the issues they face today. Make sure and read the whole thing. Makes you wish all over again that he was still Spain’s PM. (Hat tip: Outside the Beltway)

On a related note, Mark Steyn writes about how he feels the West is in danger of extinction. (Hat tip: John Hawkins)

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