Thursday, November 10, 2005

Democrats Behind the Curve Again

Some Democrats in Congress have hit upon what they think is a way to explain why so many elected Democratic leaders voted for the War in Iraq: "We were duped." I't not their fault, they are easily fooled. In pursuit of this strategy they stepped up demands for the administration to "come clean" on their handling of pre-war intelligence, saying that the indictment of Libby "raises questions" on that issue.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are heedless of the way in which the increasing rioting in Paris is undermining their whole strategy. The worse things get in Paris the more anxious people here get about our national security in the face of worldwide radical Islamic belligerence. The American people see the proud French being humbled by a situation gone out of control and wonder if the same could not spread to the rest of Europe and to America.

In other words, the worse things look in Europe the more it looks like Bush has been right all along to take a tough stand. For, after all, here in America radical Islamic unrest does not threaten the peace and there have been no serious terrorist attacks since 9-11, unlike Europe, where despite the fact that governments have generally tried to appease the Islamofascists there and in the Middle East terrorist attacks continue and radical Islamic unrest threatens to put ordinary citizens and their property in danger in their own communities.

And, of course, the genesis of the rioting in Paris is complex and rooted in a raft of social problems, but talking about how rioters in France are the victims is going to win NO support from the American people.

Once again the Democrats have positioned themselves on the wrong side of events. They are working hard to gin up a case against the administration with the help of their friends in the mainstream media, but they may end up finding that the people are not behind them. They may find themselves in a tough position in 2006 if the people want tough talk tough about the threat of global and radical Islamic unrest.

Lefties fret about how the rioting in France only works to the advantage the right. Yeah, that's true, because the rioting is darn good evidence that the conservatives have been right about this all along and the lefties with their pacifism, multiculturalism and appeasement have been disastrously wrong.

Second of Two Views: The New World War

In 732 AD, Moorish forces under the command of Abd al-Rahman advanced from Spain toward the capital city of Paris. They met a force of Franks under the command of Charles Martel. Three days later the Islamic commander was dead and his much diminished army was heading back to the South. This was the Battle of Poitier, and if it had gone the other way it is likely that all of Europe would now be Muslim and history would be very different.

But in present day Europe the Islamic forces have advanced much further than Abd al-Rahman. In France there are Muslim communities where the police will not go, and now the violence from those communities is spreading into central Paris. In Belgium the police are told not to be seen drinking coffee during Ramadan. In Sweden there are communities where ambulances need a police escort to protect them from radical Muslim violence. In Spain Islamic studies are now taught in the public school curricula. In Denmark radical Muslim youths are burning cars and torching shops and threaten the lives of newspaper reporters and editors critical of Islam. In Holland the native Dutch are beginning to leave their own country in fear of the radical Muslim communities there that are no more integrated with Dutch society than they were three decades ago when they first arrived, members of which have murdered prominent Dutch critics of Islam.

It is a pattern seen all over Europe, all over the world. Radical Muslims move in, taking advantage of the liberal immigration laws, but won't integrate with the rest of society and eventually stop respecting the existing government. They form de facto governments of their own responsive to them and their own traditions and eventually press for seperation as an Islamic state, as was the case in Nigeria, or a complete takeover. And they are often murderously violent toward the host culture, seemingly unwilling to get along with their neighbors.

Of the dozen or so major conflicts in the world today, almost all of them involve Muslims who can't get along with their neighbors. And in almost all cases the Muslims are the aggressors.

It's a World War, and we are losing it. Our nominal allies, the Europeans, have in some cases already bowed to the inevitable and are suing for peace. Europe is descending into a new Dark Ages with permanent conflict.

The French government thought that a policy of appeasement, such as in refusing to join in the Iraq war, would win them peace and keep the problems confined to the ghettos, but the radical Muslims saw that for what it was, a sign of weakness. In fact, the violence has been going on for months now with 9000 police cars stoned since the beginning of the year and three dozen cars torched even on a quiet night. But now the violence has spilled out into Paris itself, and it will not stop in the forseeable future. The French police have already declared themselves overwhelmed.

First of Two Views: France's Problems

Is France a socialist state? The definition of socialism usually includes the central ownership of the means of production and control of the economy, and France is not to that point yet. France still has a strong element of capitalism and reliance on markets despite the chunk of the national product gobbled up by the government and redistrubuted as various services and benefits. All democratic nations have to decide how much of their resources are going into the government and how many services the government will provide, and France certainly has more of that than America, but that doesn't make France socialist. It may be more correct to say that France has some characteristics of socialism in that the government does control a big chunk of the economy.

But because France is not really socialist doesn't mean that it's the residual capitalism that's to blame for France's social unrest, either. It's not capitalism that's at the bottom of that unrest, quite the opposite, and a more vibrant econonomy and less reliance on government transfer payments may turn out to be the best solution to the current set of problems.

But no system of government is going to work without basic social fairness.

Despite all the social programs what is missing from the French approach to dealing with minorities is a means of making sure that they are treated fairly in terms of access to jobs and education and in integration to the rest of French society.

The French government, secular and afraid of religious expression, has attempted to impose standards of conformity on the immigrants in terms of being more French, but they have not encouraged the blending of immigrant populations and native populations. They want the immigrants to be more French and to share French values, but they want them to do it in the ghettos, away from the rest of French society. The French government has combined the worst aspects of socialism -- disrespect of traditional values and beliefs and excessive government intervention that breeds dependence. Coupled with the overall poor performance of the economy which further stifles the dreams of young generation Muslims.

The idea that because the French government is racist and intolerant of social diversity that it is therefore really "right wing" is silly. Socialism and racism are hardly mutually exclusive, and every leftist government that has ever existed has included a strong element of racism and has been intolerant of cultural diversity, especially when it comes to the expression of religious beliefs. French elites seem to think that since North African immigrants are housed and fed by the government that they are being treated fairly and France is a grand and big hearted country. The immigrants themselves know that's not the case.

The immigrant communities around Paris have been deeply alienated from French society for many years. They consist of miles and miles of depressing concrete public housing where the police have long since stopped policing. Muslim young people have long known that they don't dare venture into central Paris for fear of being picked up and beaten or killed by police. Most of the young people there know that they have no chance of ever getting a good job or of moving up in society because of deeply ingrained French racism, the same racism that led Chirac to sniff that America is wasting it's time trying to establish democracy among a people incapable of it.

In the 70's and 80's these communities were communist, but now communism has become less attractive with the fall of the Soviet Union. Islam has to some extent filled the vacuum created by the end of the Cold War.

What a lot of Americans don't understand about the French newspapers and newspapers in many other European countries is that they don't have the same sort of adversarial relationship with their own countries that newspapers in the US do. If something is an embarressment to France then they just don't cover it or report it. And the existance of these ghettoes created mostly by the poor attitude of the French toward these immigrants is a big embarressment to French intellectuals, especially those fond of looking down their noses at other's problems.

This violence is not new. It has been going on for decades. Dozens of cars were being burned in an average week even when things were supposedly peaceful. The only thing new is the larger scope and range of the violence.

The unrest in France may indeed be taking on a more radical Muslim aspect, and it would be naive to think that this does not play a part, but this would never have started if not for the seperation of the cultures in France that has grown worse with every decade. In those countries where Muslims have a decent chance of bettering their lives within the existing culture there has been much less trouble.

Nevertheless, the point at which the problems go from being mainly about French policies and more about a global war on Western culture is hard to pin down. Clearly, the Arab youths who leave the dispossessed communities of Saudi Arabia to fight in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and even Spain and the US have made it a global war. It is not clear that this sort of thing has happened in France yet, but the radicals are certainly out there to push this process along.

In America, once the problems of racial segregation were recognised and aired out, the majority of whites got behind the effort to make reforms, to promote civil rights. Even Republicans, or more especially Republicans, got behind this effort, because even if they didn't think much of minorities they knew that fair is fair, and unfairness is ugly and evil regardless of all else. The same could happen in France where people are no less offended by unfairness than Americans, but they will first have to stop hiding the problem.