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Hearts Without Minds By: Michael Radu
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, April 02, 2007

Common sense and experience have confirmed, time after time, that making concessions to terrorism and barbarity produces more of each – a lesson repeatedly unlearned by the same Europeans who so enjoy condemning President Bush's "cowboy" policies. Considering the frequency with which one European government after another makes concessions to the international criminal elements, one could only conclude that, in the particular case of the British sailors kidnapped by Iran, there is indeed only one "Europe," and it is neither responsible nor reliable. This is a tremendous problem for Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who seems to be relying upon the mythical "international community" to fix a self-inflicted problem.

Why were those soldiers captured in the first place? Because, as the former First Sea Lord Sir Alan West said, British rules of engagement were "very much de-escalatory, because we don't want wars starting ... Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away."

This is worse than poor judgment – it is political correctness taken to preposterous levels. Are "Sinking everything in sight" and meekly surrendering the only options? Of course not - except when unilateral disarmament makes them so, as is the case with the recent decision to transform the once impressive British Navy into a small coastal defense force.

In all fairness, the Brits are not the only Europeans unwilling to respond adequately to terrorism – and most wouldn't be able to if they were willing.  The Italians seem to have made it a policy to capitulate to terror.  When one of their incompetent journalists was kidnapped by the Taliban, Rome forced the Afghan government to release five top terrorists – never mind that his Afghan driver was beheaded because nobody helped him.

The Germans did the same thing in the Sahara, and the Spaniards went even further: they voted their government out of office because terrorists claimed that by sending troops to Iraq, Spain had "provoked" a jihadist attack that killed 192 people in Madrid. And, Palestinian hoodlums attacked Danes over the Mohammed cartoons, and the Danes still send aid to the "Palestinian people."

Meanwhile, Europeans are all upset over the "mistreatment" of jihadis at Guantanamo. The European Parliament voted to condemn governments that cooperated with the CIA because they did not provide evidence that they did so. German and Italian judges and prosecutors want to put CIA and their own intelligence operatives on trial for sending terrorists or their enablers back to their own countries.

These cases are not just hypocrisy.  Even when threatened at home, Europeans have problems dealing with terror.  The Spanish Socialists capitulated to a Basque murderer who blackmailed them with a hunger strike.  The Dutch and German courts consistently find it hard to convict jihadis, often because, after declaring counterterrorist intelligence illegal or unacceptable, they refuse to accept it in trials.  In Britain, Abu Hamza, a major ideologue and recruiter of Islamist terrorists from Algeria to Yemen, polygamist and illegal immigrant, was sentenced to just seven years for his crimes.  And, it took Britain a decade to extradite Rashid Ramda to France, where he was accused of financing terrorism in Paris, because of the possibility of mistreatment by those barbarians across the Channel.

Meanwhile, the true barbarians of Tehran were seen as worthy negotiation partners by the UK, France and Germany, mostly in order to protect them from the cowboy in the White House. And now, the "international community" faces a soon-to-be nuclear Iran.  Iran is already getting away with repeatedly capturing British soldiers and subsidizing terrorism now; imagine what they could do with nuclear weaponry at their fingertips.

The same "international law" advocated to protect Islamist murderers at Guantanamo or to declare Saddam Hussein's trial "unfair" should also condemn the kidnapping and humiliation of soldiers and attacking diplomats. However, no serious response is being contemplated at the moment.  On the contrary, judging by readers' letters to British newspapers, Britain brought this upon itself.  A certain Dr. Izhar Khan from Aberdeen thinks, "We need to show some contrition. At least these sailors were not hooded with their hands tied at the back and them being made to adopt the stress position."  Thank God the Iranians are not as brutal as those damned Americans.

Weakness in the face of foreign criminality is not limited to Iran, Gaza or Lebanon.  It is manifest at home as well.  When an illegal Congolese is arrested for jumping a turnstile in Paris' Gare du Nord and "youths" rampage and break into a Foot Locker store of running shoes and sports clothes, the Socialist presidential candidate blames the police.  In 2005, when gangs of immigrant hoodlums wreaked havoc throughout France, the elites blamed the language of the Interior Minister, not the "disadvantaged youths."

These facts are not simply coincidences – they are the inevitable results of a European culture that has completely lost its ability to distinguish between friend and foe, freedom and anarchy, tolerance and capitulation, negotiation and surrender.  Large segments of the European public have lost both the capacity to defend themselves against barbarian threats.  Most don't even recognize that a threat exists. There is one word that sums up this phenomenon – and it is the one thing that ultimately brought the Roman Empire to its knees: decadence.  How long will it take for Europe to fall from this self-induced affliction?

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Michael Radu is Senior Fellow and Co - Chair, Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism, at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

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