Paris (twice in ten months), San Bernardino, Brussels, Orlando, Nice, Ansbach, Munich, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray: Hundreds of people blown up, pulverized, shot, knifed. Who is next?
That such attacks will continue is certain. That the political class has no strategic blueprint for dealing with the scourge of jihad terrorism is obvious. That all Western security services have no operational tools and procedures to anticipate and prevent such attacks is extremely alarming for hundreds of millions of people on both sides of the Atlantic.
The key problem is the absence of a coherent Western strategy in what is clearly a war. As in any other war, three timeless Clausewitzian principles apply: the need to identify the enemy; the necessity to apply violent force to make that enemy succumb to one’s will; and the moral determination to mobilize one’s own resources to prevail decisively and permanently.
The enemy is Islam, a supremacist ideology of permanent conflict and conquest, which is and has always been structurally unamenable to compromise with non-Islam. It has a highly developed legal, political, and moral doctrine, rooted in its core texts, which denies the legitimacy of any other belief system and form of social organization. Its exponents are state actors (most notably Saudi Arabia), groups with some state attributes (ISIS), decentralized terror networks (Al Qaeda), and self-starting “radicalized” cells and individuals in most Western countries that have a sizable Muslim diaspora.
Accordingly, the force that needs to be applied would have multiple objectives, diplomatic and military. We should stop state actors (primarily Saudi Arabia and Qatar) from exporting Islamic ideology, aiding and abetting terror networks (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan), and deploying or threatening migratory deluges of Muslims into the non-Muslim world (Turkey). We should relentlessly seek to destroy those networks wherever they exist, relying on non-Islamist regimes (Egypt, Syria, Algeria) and nonstate actors (Syrian Kurds) to provide the boots on the ground. Last but not least, we should neutralize the domestic threat by robust action aimed at halting immigration from the Muslim world and actively encouraging its reversal.
Resolute action should include the preventive internment and involuntary repatriation of all those with known jihadist links to their countries of origin, regardless of their immigration status. To wit, one of the church attackers in Rouen had tried to go to fight in Syria in May last year, but was arrested and subsequently released, placed under police surveillance, and made to wear an electronic monitoring tag. Had he been interned instead, 85-year-old Fr. Jacques Hamel might still be alive. (Pope Francis deplored the priest’s “senseless” murder, thus displaying his terminal refusal to see perfect “sense” in the ritualistic jihadist outrage.)
The third element in Clausewitz’s equation presents the biggest obstacle, but it is not as insurmountable as it seemed a year ago. While the ongoing moral and spiritual collapse of the Western elite class seems irreversible, its monopoly on public discourse is no longer absolute. Its stranglehold on political power is being actively challenged. With each new mass murder, its attempts to separate the perpetrators from jihad ring increasingly hollow. One attacker was a closeted gay, another was a bad driver, yet another was inspired by Breivik, or bullied by non-Muslims, or unjustly denied asylum, etc. But millions of ordinary people no longer take any of this at face value. The instinct for self-preservation is taking over.
The first test will come in Austria on September 22, when Norbert Hofer is likely to win the Austrian presidency of which he was fraudulently robbed by the establishment politicians last May. The post is largely ceremonial, but it may confer on a “far right” candidate the legitimacy that the cognoscenti have tried to deny him and like-minded candidates everywhere (Marine le Pen, Geert Wilders, Heinz-Christian Strache) for many years. The omens are good: Brexit was fundamentally about immigration and sovereignty, and it has shown the vulnerability of the traitor class. Hofer’s likely victory would show that Europe is not as yet reconciled to her civilizational demise and eventual population replacement.
The real test will come in the United States in November. Donald Trump may still lack an integrated, comprehensive plan for national security (see July’s American Interest), but his campaign strongly suggests he knows that what Hillary Clinton stands for is a mortal threat to this country’s cultural identity and survival. His proposed “pause” on Muslim immigration is a crucial first step, long overdue and belated, in what will be a long-haul struggle to recover the ravaged ramparts of the best and greatest civilization the world has known.