We're all aware of the scramble some countries are making to go nuclear. North Korea and Iran are foremost. Others, like Pakistan and India, already achieved the goal. A few of the former republics of the Soviet Union also inherited atomic weapons. We are also worried that terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and others yearn for a bomb to explode in Israeli or American cities. But there is another way that the radical Islamists may come into atomic weapons, albeit long-term: they may simply procreate their way into power and take over a nuclear weapons country. Who would allow such a ridiculous scenario to develop? The sick truth is: One candidate is France.
If there is any consistency to France, it is that as a country it can be fickle, ungrateful, and totally self-serving. As Tallyrand is reported to have said, "France does not have friends; France has interests." Fair enough. In the post-WWII days, General Charles de Gaulle made himself sufficiently acerbic and opportunistic that it was considered necessary by the U.S. and Great Britain to humor him. As a consequence France got a piece of the divided Germany, a veto-wielding seat at the new United Nations, and a key role in NATO.
It was considered necessary at the time to award France these concessions despite the fact that it had been a Vichy collaborator (with minor contributions at best toward the Allied victory), because the internal communist movement had grown so strong within France that its post-war government teetered on collapse. There were those who worried with cause that a communist takeover might presage a strategic alliance between a newly communized France and the highly aggressive post-WWII Soviet Union. While the Soviets were gobbling countries like M&Ms in Eastern Europe and fermenting uprisings in Greece, Iran, and Italy, it was all the Allies could do to confront them there. Having France flip into the Soviet sphere would have exposed America, Great Britain, and their allies to a strategic flanking movement that probably would have made Central Europe indefensible.
Hence, France was treated as a greater power than it was. In ensuing years, France, under de Gaulle and his successors, established a firm reputation as a thorn in NATO's side. At one point, de Gaulle decided to go it alone. He announced formation of his "force de frappe" that signaled France's independence from the American defense umbrella, and announced that France would have its own nuclear capability. Testing was conducted in its South Pacific Island colonies. Additionally, France tossed out American forces. President Lyndon B. Johnson famously instructed his representative to ask de Gaulle personally, "When you say you want all American soldiers out of France, General, does that include the ones who are buried here too?" De Gaulle snorted, spun on his heel, and walked away. Score one for LBJ.
The ultimate result is that France remains a nuclear power. In the ensuing decades that has not been an issue. France is a democracy, albeit an eccentric one, and has not threatened its neighbors with atomic weapons unlike Kim Jong Il or the mullahs in Teheran. But France has exposed an internal flank to a persistent enemy, and may not even be savvy enough – or sufficiently introspective - to perceive the danger. For the past 20 years, France has permitted virtually unlimited immigration of Muslims. Most have come from Algeria, a former French colony. Others have come from different parts of the Muslim world. They came as workers for the agricultural, industrial, and manufacturing sectors of the French economy. They filled many service jobs: taxi drivers, clerks, waiters, food preparation, janitors, and other manual, menial laborer tasks. Few professionals were among these immigrants.
The immigrants intentionally chose not to assimilate into French culture. Rather than try to "become Frenchmen," the Muslim immigrants established enclaves -- literally states within the state -- that were exclusionary to non-Muslims and held to the ways of the old country. An ingenious system of arranged marriages acted as a catalyst to increase immigration dramatically. Brides and grooms would be selected from families that remained in Algeria or other Arab countries. After the marriage, the entire extended family of the newly married person would now be eligible to move into metropolitan France and become citizens. Further exacerbating the issue, France has an asylum policy that encourages dissidents to flee to France. Few are actually granted asylum, but none are ever deported.
Into this fertile, disaffected immigrant soil came Saudi Arabia with its proselytizing, aggressive wahabbist ideology. Wahabbism is vitriolic, anti-Western, xenophobic, and jihad-oriented. It encourages hatred of and actions against those defined as "infidels" and "non-believers." The Saudis continue to pour uncounted hundreds of millions of dollars into Europe, including France, to promulgate this offensive ideology. The result is that Muslims in France are highly radicalized, anti-French, anti-Western, and bent on ultimate conquest of their hosts. Texts from mosques in France -- issued by the Saudi public affairs office -- refer to Muslim residents in France as "living behind enemy lines" and "representing a force for the ultimate conquest by Islam of the infidels." Muslims are taught to hate their Christian, Jewish, and secular neighbors and to work assiduously to undermine the government. More than one thousand of these Muslim enclaves exist in
France. It is said that French police will not enter 400 such communities.
While demographers bemoan the rapid, perhaps irreversible, decline in the ethnic French population, the Muslim immigrant population is exploding. Within just a few years it is conceivable that the Muslim immigrant community may be able to establish itself as a key if not controlling bloc in the French government. They may not have sufficient power to be kings, but they can certainly be kingmakers. At what point will the scales tip sufficiently into their hands that the French constitution could be re-written to mimic that of a theocratic state? At what point will Islamist interests be strong enough to control the military forces, including its nuclear weapons?
These are not idle questions, because the nation's demographics may be out of control. And the French public seems totally unconcerned about the situation, making it even more frightening. And in the meantime, they seem unconcerned about the issue of nuclear proliferation, having sold Saddam the Osirak nuclear reactor in the 1980s and pursuing hopeless "inducements" for Iran to abandon its nuclear program. But in a generation or two, France -- where Ayatollah Khomeini took refuge in the 1970s -- may be ruled by those seeking to hand Islamists nuclear weapons.
Sixty years ago we were concerned that U.S. strategic interests would be compromised by a France that fell to communism. Today France is again a concern. All it would require is a "one man, one vote, one time," scenario to flip France into the Islamist camp along with its nuclear weapons capability. This is a strategic issue that no one wishes to see come about; but frighteningly no one seems willing to acknowledge it either.