Thursday, March 30, 2006

Confidence, Power and the Price of Open Borders

Writing in the National Review, Mark Krikorian ably cuts through the sympathetic mainstream press coverage of the on going Immigration Bill protests by illegal aliens, correctly identifying the troubling message of the protestors.

This isn’t really about immigration, though — it’s about power.

What we’re seeing in the streets is a naked assertion of power by outsiders against the American nation. They demand that we comply with their wishes and submit our immigration policies for their approval, and implicitly threaten violence if their demands are not met. Far from being a discussion among Americans about the best way to regulate immigration, the illegal-alien marches have been marked by the will to power: ubiquitous Mexican flags, burning and other forms of contempt for the American flag, and widespread displays of blatant racial chauvinism and irredentism.

This is precisely the same kind of challenge that aggressive outsiders are making against other parts of the West, including Muslim immigrants in Europe and, in the most extreme form, Palestinians in Israel. Supremacist Muslims have demanded that Europe repudiate Israel, legally prohibit public criticism of Islam, downplay acts of violent Jew-hatred by immigrants, and not deport Muslim illegal aliens. And some Palestinians, of course, demand that Jewish state abolish itself altogether, actually cutting it out of maps of the Middle East (just as illegal-alien marchers in L.A. held signs of North America with the United States crossed out).

The admission of large numbers of illegal aliens into a country creates, merely by their presence and sheer numbers, the sort of street power currently on display throughout the southwestern US. Moreover, the numbers serve as a lure to meretricious politicians eager to build their own political power, careless to the effect on the nation. This is why strict border controls are a necessity in the maintenance of a functioning republic. Having permitted so many Mexicans to illegally enter the US, Americans now find themselves confronted by millions of people whose cultural identity is not American and who have little but contempt for American custom and law. Remember, these are people whose first act in the US was to break the law. What sort of attitude toward the rest of American culture can they be expected to display?

Krikorian attributes the brazen quality of these protests to "civilizational confidence," the notion that once a group of people come to perceive another group as weak, it emboldens them to press their demands with vigor. Even if the opposing group is actually stronger and could stop them if it chose. The US could expel all illegal aliens and could stop all illegal immigration if US leaders had the will. But they don’t. Too many profit from the cheap labor provided by immigrants (or their financial backers do, at any rate) and the remainder are too frightened of being called racist if they vigorously oppose immigration. The protestors understand this and feel confident that they can get away with mass demonstrations.

If nothing is done and the federal government caves to the illegal immigrant advocates, then the confidence felt by illegal immigrants and radical Hispanic activists will only be strengthened. That will lead to a dismal future dominated by increasingly radical Hispanic activists pushing ever more seditious demands. There will be no assimilation, because immigrants will feel no need to assimilate, and will argue (as some already do) that assimilation itself is fundamentally racist. The radicalism of Hispanic groups that seek to return much of the American southwest to Mexico may seem outlandish today, but then so did the radicalism of Wahabbi Muslim imams in Europe thirty years ago. No one is laughing at them today. If the US doesn’t act soon to close the door on the illegal tidal wave, in thirty years the radicals of Aztlan, Mexica-Movement and Stolen Continent won’t seem so outlandish either. In fact, they may seem all to moderate.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Why the "Fighting Them Over There" strategy may backfire

The Bush administration has floated so many differing reasons for invading Iraq, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction turned out to be an illusion spawned by lousy Western intelligence and Saddam’s bluffing (design to keep his enemies afraid of him). The idea that establishing a democratic government in Baghdad would magically transform the entire Middle East into a swarthier version of Minneapolis, appears to be foundering because democracy is incompatible with Arabic culture and because Iraqis seem more motivated by ancient sectarian hatreds than by national unity. Which leaves the weakest reason: that fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq keeps al-Qaeda operatives busy and unable to get on an airplane and come to the US. This argument assumes that the Islamic terrorists can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. After London and Madrid, its premises are more than suspect.

In the Washington Times, Arnaud de Borchgrave argues that, paradoxically, success in Iraq could actually compel al-Qaeda to attempt a WMD attack in the US.

Assuming the Bush administration is successful in midwifing democracy out of a near-civil war situation in Iraq, the WMD threat level will remain unchanged. High, that is.

Paradoxical though this may seem to Washington's armchair strategists, the defeat of the al Qaeda-Sunni insurgency in Iraq would actually heighten, not lessen, the danger of a September 11 CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) attack. Defeated by the U.S. in Afghanistan and again in Iraq, al Qaeda would have to conclude its strategy of forcing the U.S. into a humiliating, Vietnamlike retreat has failed.

Arabic-speaker Professor Gilles Kepel, one of France's leading experts on al Qaeda, published last week "Al Qaeda dans le Texte," an analysis of the public and (intercepted) private utterances of the two Z's -- Ayman al-Zawahri (Osama bin Laden's No. 2) and Abu Musab Zarqawi, al Qaeda's insurgency honcho in Iraq. Stripped if its complexities, al Qaeda's strategy, Mr. Kepel explains, is to defeat the U.S. in Iraq, use this victory to roll over traditional oil-rich regimes in the Gulf that are security wards of the U.S., and then focus on Israel. But there is now an obstacle even greater than the U.S. -- Iran. Tehran, as seen through Zawahri's geopolitical viewfinder, is already calling the shots in large parts of Iraq. Whether the U.S. stays or leaves Iraq, concludes Zawahri, it's still Iran's ballgame. Which brings al Qaeda back to its WMD-in-America strategy.

al-Qaeda’s desperation to score a major, devastating strike against the US, will grow even more fevered as it encounters setbacks throughout the Middle East. That desperation, and the high goal of topping 9/11, is likely to push the already fanatical associates of bin Laden to try for the ultimate blow to the US, a WMD attack. US awareness of the Islamist threat is likely the only thing that has prevented another al-Qaeda attack on US soil thus far. But the administration’s complete and willful failure to secure US borders or to truly reform the US intelligence apparatus (as oppose to handing out medals to those at the helm during the worst intelligence failures) should give Americans no illusions about how safe the US actually is.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Quivering in Europe

Today’s TCS Daily carries a short article by J. Peter Pham & Michael I. Krauss noting the extent to which Europeans cower before Muslim intimidation inside their own countries.

In Copenhagen's public schools, the only food available to students -- regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof -- are Halal (prepared according to Islamic dietary requirements). In Denmark, a country which enjoys well-deserved praise for the courage with which citizens came together to save its small Jewish community during World War II, Danish Jewish students today cannot attend certain public schools because their very presence is viewed by administrators as "provocative" to radicalized Muslim peers. The country's only Jewish school, Copenhagen's 300-pupil Carolineskolen, founded in 1805, nowadays is constrained to operate behind a double ring of barbed wire.

Naser Khader, the Damascus-born son of a Palestinian father and Syrian mother who has served as a Danish parliamentarian from the Social Liberal Party since 1994, now lives under round-the-clock police protection because he committed the "crime" of giving his daughter a kafir ("infidel," read "Western") name. Compounding his "apostasy," he founded a moderate Muslim group with over 700 members, Democratic Muslims, after the outbreak of the "cartoon jihad" to campaign against Islamic establishmentarianism. Imam Ahmad Abu Laban -- the same character who instigated Middle Eastern anti-Danish riots with his portfolio of doctored cartoons -- then labeled Mr. Khader and his supporters "rats in a hole." One of the members of Khader's new group, Iranian refugee Kamran Tahmesabi, recently told a Belgian newspaper, "It is an irony that I am today living in a European democratic state and have to fight the same religious fanatics that I fled from in Iran many years ago."

This is the concrete manifestation of the self-hatred spawned by multiculturalism, and its desired result (the negation of European civilization), if not the originally intended beneficiary. It should also be a warning sign to Americans, who over the weekend had a chance to see the flexing muscles of the foreign army that has been allowed to take up residence throughout the US. Appeasing aliens now, disregarding domestic laws, and failing to defend one’s culture at the first show of assault only pave the way for catastrophe down the line. Observe Europe and see America’s future.