Are we next?

The EU is in deep trouble. The US can either repeat its errors or learn from them. That choice hangs heavy over the forthcoming election.

A MOSQUE in Berlin, Germany. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A MOSQUE in Berlin, Germany.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A weekend of Islamist terrorist attacks in Minnesota, New Jersey and New York city last month raised three thoughts across America. First, relief that as horrific as the attacks were, they fell short of their full devastating potential and intent. Second, memories of past attacks that were indeed more horrific.
Third, fear that we are but a few years behind Europe, where Islamist brutality, rape and murder are becoming parts of everyday life.
The memories can be particularly poignant: a semiautomatic weapon emptied into a van driving across the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994. The 9/11 attacks in 2001.
The London train bombings of 2005. The Paris, San Bernadino, Brussels, Nice and Orlando massacres of the past year. All evidence of a terrifying trend that is accelerating rather than abating: radical Islamists living free, comfortable lives in Western countries are waging war on us, their hosts. Our leaders are failing badly at their most important job: protecting their nations and us, their citizens, from foreign threats.
It is hardly a coincidence that immigration has taken center stage in the 2016 presidential campaign. Though Mexican walls may draw the headlines, the constant subtext surrounds American attitudes toward the seemingly endless flows of Syrian refugees – overwhelmingly young Muslim men – that are already destabilizing Europe. Since German Chancellor Angela Merkel swung open the EU’s gates and chastised as racist anyone who questioned her wisdom and compassion, rape gangs have become commonplace in Germany and Sweden, entire towns have seceded from European culture and history, Islamist bloodbaths have visited Paris, Brussels and Nice, and smaller-scale Islamist attacks have begun to proliferate.
Europe’s masses are rebelling against the elites who imposed this situation. The Brexit vote – which stunned those elites – was probably overdue. Provincial elections in Germany drove the point home even further. The humble masses of the West are fighting to preserve our national institutions and Western culture from the dual onslaught of barbaric Islamist butchers and enlightened Western elitists.
Western elites truly believe that, having eliminated from their lives traditionally contentious concepts like religious motivation or “the other,” the rest of the world shares their greater wisdom and tolerance. Thus, a continent whose traditional Christianity now plays no discernible role in law, governance, ethics, family structure, community, or culture cannot conceive of people who elevate commitment to faith above economic welfare or recreational opportunities. People who have rejected their grandparents’ supremacism cannot fathom how those from other cultures might see themselves as superior.
Many immigrants from the Islamic-majority world arrive in the West fully committed to Islamic culture, motivated strongly by God’s will as they see it, believing deeply that they are superior to their non-believing hosts and intensely resentful of the opulence and decadence in whose midst they have landed. They have no interest in integrating, assimilating, or absorbing Western culture, and no desire to substitute Western values for their own. Their hosts, no longer confident in the soundness of Western civilization, believe that it would be immoral to impose Western values on non-Western arrivals.
This unchecked immigration poses an indirect threat to our safety as well as a direct one: it alters the demographics of, and injects radicalism into, Western Muslim communities. The smart strategic move for the Islamists would be to seed the “refugee” flows with recruiters, not fighters. A single Islamist recruiter can generate many “home grown” fighters, serving the caliphate’s goal in full while allowing advocates of unchecked immigration to pretend that the new arrivals are not a problem.
Recent events suggest that they have deployed precisely this strategy.
The EU is in deep trouble. The US can either repeat its errors or learn from them. That choice hangs heavy over the forthcoming election.
America’s progressives look to Europe as a model. They seek to transform America’s thinking and its self-conception to align more closely with the European elite.
They disdain expressions of nationalism, faith, or the superiority of Western culture. Traditionalists, conservatives and populists take a different view. They value American exceptionalism, traditional Judeo-Christian morality and the accomplishments of the liberal West.
Traditionalists also understand the pain of those who have survived terrorist attacks, the pain of grieving children, parents and siblings whose families and lives will never again be whole thanks to the violence that Western elites seek to accommodate with open arms.
On that van riding across the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994 was a young man – a boy of 16 – named Ari Halberstam.
The pain of his loss never subsides; the desire to secure the safety of other children burns bright.
America’s choice is about far more than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. It is about progressivism vs. tradition, about the preservation of Western civilization against the onslaught of Islamist violence.
Europe has made its choice. It is just beginning to pay the terrible price. America must choose more wisely.
Devorah Halberstam is a recognized expert on terrorism and is responsible for anti-terrorism legislative initiatives in New York and nationally. She works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement and trains anti-terrorism personnel as a lecturer for the FBI and other agencies.
Bruce Abramson, a technology and IP lawyer in private practice, holds a PhD in Computer Science from Columbia and a JD from Georgetown. He is widely published on a range of topics at the intersection of technology, business, and law.