What's behind France's weird behavior lately, opposing the United States
and Britain, and siding with Iraq and the Arab world? France, as opposed
to 35 other countries -- what President Bush called 'the coalition' in his
speech announcing the beginning of the war in Iraq -- has done everything
it could to stop the US disarming Iraq of its Weapons of Mass Destruction
and its liberation from Saddam Hussein's dictatorship.
The simple explanation is that France is using the Iraq war issue in an attempt
to regain its glory days of being an international power broker. France sees
the European Union as a potential counter-balance to America, the sole superpower.
It also conveniently deflects attention in France from the prolonged economic
downturn there. Jacques Chirac has been blaming the fear of war for weak
investment and consumption, hiding his lack of a policy to stimulate growth.
Don't forget, of course, all the economic interests France has in Iraq and
the Arab world. Makes sense, sort of?
But this is the simple way of looking at the situation. Such a serious issue
cannot be resolved with such a superficial analysis as this. One must dig
deeper to uncover the underlying reason. Penetrating analysis must be employed
to view the larger implications of the problem. Only a more holistic view
of the pathology will help in curing the disease. Nursing France and others
in Europe back to health -- the rejection of support for 'Crazy State' behavior
by Iraq and Iran -- can help return them to the family of sane and peace
During the late Cold War period, many spoke of the Finlandization of Europe.
Finland, neighbor of the former Soviet Union, fearful of occupation as the
Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania were after World War II,
was effectively neutralized. In return for their 'freedom' they took a neutral
political line during the post-war superpower rivalry. By the 1970's many
felt that this process was expanding to other parts of Europe. Although technically
part of the Western Alliance -- NATO -- there was great pressure on European
governments from some of its citizens to take a more neutral position between
the US and USSR. This fear of being on the front lines, leading to near identification
with the enemy, a sort of 'Stockholm Syndrome' -- the identification of a
victim with their terrorist capture -- on a national scale, concerned American
policy makers and their more stalwart allies. Was Europe going to be neutralized
This is exactly what is happening today with France in particular and other
parts of Europe more generally. With more than 15 million Arabs and Muslims
in Europe today, and at least 5-6 million of them in France alone -- about
10% of the population, some say as much as 20% -- actively building mosques
and missionizing Europeans; with one eye focused on trade with the Arab-Islamic
world, and another greedily eyeing the oil supply, France and others in Europe
are succumbing to creeping Islamicization.
Europe, for the most part post-Christian, has a spiritual vacuum to fill.
Unlike America, a country founded on the principle of 'Freedom of Religion'
not 'Freedom from Religion'; European political modernization -- the rise
of secular democratic states -- was a direct consequence of the rejection
of the Church and the divine right of kings. Following the Protestant Reformation,
the end of monarchy and the rise of the modern nation-state, secularization
of society has led to this weakness in the spiritual immune system of Europe.
America was founded by religious and political renegades who constructed
a system that both separated religion from state and allowed it to flourish
independent of state support. Modern Europe, in contrast, largely revolting
from state supported churches, has left the back door open to this Islamic
tidal wave, carried initially by its new immigrants from North Africa, Turkey,
the Middle East, and Asia.
But today, it's largely being sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Iran -- the dual
axis -- of spreading the 'gospel' of Islam throughout Europe. Not so dissimilar
from the role of the Left, Euro-Communists, and Greens, in Europe's not so
distant past, Euro-Muslims are spreading the 'Truth' of Islam. But, it's
not just 'Islam'. It's a revolutionary, highly political and missionary Islam,
whether Wahabbiist or of the Khomeini variety. Jihadist Islam is exerting
its influence in Europe, and on European foreign policy -- note their strong
shift towards the Palestinian cause -- even minimizing suicide bombings in
Israel lately. Stockholm Syndrome, on a national scale, is beginning to grip
parts of Europe. Combined fear of terrorism at home, the consequences of
war, cultural confusion, and the fifth column of Islamists within, is leading
France and others in Europe inextricably toward neutrality and "Franco-Islamicization."
Whether France or other European states 'convert' to Islam officially is
of little practical consequence. Euro-Muslims and their fellow travelers
are already winning. Franco-Islamicization, the neutralization of Europe
in the War on Terror and its latest focus Iraq, the turning of European foreign
policy fully toward the Palestinians, the infection of the European body
politic in a morally debilitating way, is taking place slowly, almost imperceptively,
yet taking place nonetheless.
Let's get things straight. The 'War on Terror' is against a political behavior
-- terrorism -- rejected by western democratic civilization, and some Asian
countries with Islamic majorities might come aboard, fancying themselves
evolving democracies. But, wherever Muslims live, they are susceptible to
the plague of Jihadist Islam. Islam started as an Arab imperialist movement,
and at its core aspires to world domination. Unlike the Judeo-Christian created
western democratic paradigm -- live and let live -- Jihadist Islam, like
the 'old time religion' Communism, is totalitarian and missionary in nature.
The term 'War on Terror' is an attempt to define the problem in the narrowest
possible way, to ignore the cultural or religious implications of the issue.
But until the equivalent of an Islamic Reformation takes place -- and a dominant
peaceful version of Islam emerges, ready to live with the rest of the world
-- discussion of democracy and tolerance in the Arab-Islamic world will prove
fruitless. Don't forget that these Islamic radicals are generally supported
financially and otherwise, in their communities, whether in Europe, America,
Analyzing the problem of terror on the individual or small group level, such
as by al-Qaida, or even state supported, such as by Iran, Iraq, Syria, or
in the Palestinian Authority, but deliberately ignoring the civilizational
aspects of the present conflict with the Islamic world, reduces the discussion
to an analogous rejection of a commune here or there during the Cold War.
But a conflict of two world-views existed between the US & USSR, each
with competing systems of economic, social, and political organization; it
wasn't a fight over a commune or two.
The 'War on Terror,' unless used as a code word for civilizational conflict,
disarms the western democratic public. Psychologically unprepared for this
war, western societies, as evidenced by the 'Anti-War Movement', strongest
in Europe -- aside from Saddam's natural allies, Islamic societies -- are
slipping into Franco-Islamicization.
American leadership under President Bush and Secretary of State Powell, with
the best of intensions, has missed the point. Functioning on the individualist
paradigm of democracy and not wanting a direct conflict with its allies in
Europe and the Arab states, has by default contributed to the confusion.
Israel's leaders, dealing with Palestinian Islamic terror -- suicide bombings
and the like -- aren't far behind. Blaming 'terrorists' rather than
seeing it in civilizational terms leads nowhere. Without recognition of the
symptoms, without understanding method of transmission, and without proper
diagnosis of the disease, its cure is next to impossible.
The symptom is Franco-Islamicization. The method of transmission is
radical Euro-Muslims and their fellow travelers. The disease is Jihadist
Islam. Israel and the West need to recognize this. If a cure isn't found
soon, we'll all be awakening to the call of the Muezzin - Islamic prayer
call blasting out of Mosques. Is that what you want for yourself, your children
and grandchildren? I know that's not what I want!
Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant.
He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis.
His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites,
in newspapers, and can be read at:
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