Having spent September 10, 2001 in Italy celebrating his birthday, renowned biologist and essayist Stephen Jay Gould was on his way to his home in Manhattan, less than a mile from the World Trade Center, when the September 11 attacks felled the Twin Towers.
In Halifax, where he ended up spending the next five days after his plane was diverted, it occurred to Gould that if the spires had fallen horizontally they might have landed on his home, across the water from the same Ellis Island where his grandfather arrived from Hungary exactly on September 11 of the previous century.
And having had this thing with dates – the historian of science had just wondered in a book titled Questioning the Millennium
whether the one approaching will begin 1 January 2000 or 2 January 2001 – Gould now said that just like the 20th century began neither in 1900 nor in 1901, but in 1918, so “I suspect future chroniclers will date the inception of the third millennium from September 11, 2001.”
It was one of the very last things Gould wrote, having died of cancer at 61 soon after penning these lines. Even so, 14 years later his insight seems undebatable.
The year 2001 is when the millennium began, because that is when World War III began.
The millennial milestone Gould detected marked the beginning of Islamism’s attack on the rest of the world. It is a world war not in terms of the number of its soldiers or casualties, which fortunately remains but a fraction of previous world wars, but in terms of its attacks’ reach, which is global, and its ideologues’ quest, which is universal and timeless.
BY THE SAME TOKEN, 2015 looms as a turning point in this war’s evolution.
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Islamism tested its fire before 2001, with bombings of American and French targets in Beirut in 1983 and of the Paris metro in 1995, but those were not clearly part of a quest to seize history and subdue the world. The September 11 attacks were.
Having that day taken its attack as deep into enemy territory as it could possibly imagine – crossing the ocean and reaching for the sole superpower’s political, financial and military nerve centers – Islamism soon kindled fires around the globe: from Madrid (2004), London (2005) and Moscow (2010), to Bali (2002), Ottawa (2014) and Timbuktu (2015).
In this regard, the elapsing year’s 11 attacks in France, Denmark, Australia and the US; a 12th on a Russian civilian flight; and about a hundred others in Nigeria, the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan, don’t constitute a turning point, since they merely intensified what had been long under way. Rather, the turning point was psychological.
The year that began with the murders of journalists in their Parisian office and ended with massacres of Californian health workers and Parisian rock fans, pedestrians and café sitters has made millions this side of the war understand their role in it: they are targets.
This realization was underscored by the war’s procession from the air, where it was announced in 2001, and the land, where it subsequently spread, to the sea, where a Muslim multitude fleeing a burning Middle East now approached Christendom’s shores.
Conspiracy theories, that this migration was masterminded by Islamist strategists, are far-fetched. Moreover, the exodus is the historic fault of post-colonial Europe, which ingratiated the Arab autocrats who let their societies degenerate and their economies rot.
In 2015 the victims of this legacy came knocking on Europe’s doors only to be suspected as agents of the Islamist wrath that European passivity had helped breed.
That this is ironic is immaterial. What matters is that in 2015 millions concluded that the Islamist assault’s original mixture ideology and violence was now being further stirred by demographics.
THE SPREADING SENSE of alarm was joined by leaders, whose actions in 2015 will also mark it as a turning point in World War III, in two realms: geography and money.
In 2015, World War III re-divided Europe along the same fault line that once shouldered the Iron Curtain.
Unlike previous wars, whose battlefields were usually sparsely populated expanses where conventional armies could maneuver comfortably, the Islamist war deliberately targets populations, and therefore urbanity. The battlefield thus sprawls from the airplane to the subway car and from the soccer stadium to the concert hall, and anywhere else where civilians crowd.
Since such a strategy can be helped by the presence of large Muslim populations in non-Muslim lands, East Europeans this year decided – some, like Hungary, through incumbent governments, others, like Poland, by changing them – to block the Muslim migration.
Driven by historic memories – Hungarians, Romanians and Serbs recalled centuries of Ottoman occupation, Poles recalled Gen. John Sobieski’s defeat of the Ottomans at Vienna’s gates – East Europeans this year told West Europe that they will pass on the war they did not help cook.
The West Europeans, for their part, began preparing for the war whose approach they had previously denied.
In Brussels, the European Union allocated €322 billion for the creation of a new anti-immigrant border force.
Britain, which entered 2015 in the last phases of a five-year, 20-percent downsizing of its army, emerged from the year recruiting 1,900 new detectives and spies and budgeting an added £2b. for the war on ISIS and £1.9b. for cyber security.
And French military spending, which also entered the year in the middle of a weight-loss program, emerged from it 10% bigger while recruiting 25,000 more soldiers, 5,000 new policemen, and 3,000 more prosecutors and border inspectors.
“France is at war,” President François Hollande told a joint session of parliament in November, as if taking a line from Neville Chamberlain’s statement on September 3, 1939, “this country is now at war.”
Chamberlain’s statement, incidentally, was made 11 months after he signed the Munich agreement with Germany. Hollande’s came four months after he and the rest of the Islamist war’s targets inked their nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.www.MiddleIsrael.net
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