Weekly Terror Attacks Are Europe’s New Normal – For This, You Can Blame Angela Merkel And The Virtue Signallers

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Terror is the new normal, and Europe’s progressive virtue-signallers must shoulder their share of the blame

Douglas Murray has no time for a craven German government which prioritised the burnishing of its humanitarian credentials over the safety of its own citizens:

The Thursday before last it was Nice.  But already the slaughter of 84 people in France is just so, like, a fortnight ago.  Last Monday an ‘Afghan’ ‘teenager’ called Mohammed Riyad screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘Allah is greatest’) on a Bavarian train and started chopping people up with an axe.  I put ‘Afghan’ and ‘teenager’ in quotation marks because Mohammed was probably from Pakistan and is no more likely to be a ‘teenager’ than the thousands of other Peter Pans who Chancellor Merkel welcomed into her country last year.  Still, she gets to feel good about herself.  Shame the same can’t be said for the family from Hong Kong who had the misfortune to be sharing a train carriage with Frau Merkel’s latest conscience-cleaning import. Their relatives are still trying to arrange for the less badly injured family members to return home.

On Tuesday last week it was a 37-year old man called Mohamed Boufarkouch who started shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ near Montpelier and stabbed a French woman and her three daughters (aged 8,12 and 14).  Then yesterday a ‘Syrian asylum seeker’ used a machete to kill a pregnant woman and injure two others in Reutlingen, near Stuttgart. Perhaps it was terrorism. Perhaps it was traditional domestic violence with larger weaponry than has lately been traditional in Germany.

Then yesterday evening another ‘Syrian asylum seeker’ killed himself and injured 12 others in a bomb attack in the German town of Ansbach. At the time of writing there hasn’t been an attack in France or Germany for several hours so I am sure life will be returning to normal.

This constant, low-level Age of Anxiety does indeed seem to be the new normal in Europe. And it is about time that some of the virtue-signalling, Holier And More Compassionate Than Thou brigade began taking their (overwhelmingly large) share of responsibility for facilitating the wave of violence and murder which is now befalling France, Germany and Belgium.

While quick and dirty, fast online radicalisations are becoming an increasingly common remote method for Islamists to strike in Western countries (see Orlando, where many people are furiously talking down the ideological motive even now), there is still nothing as effective as letting vast swathes of unvetted people into Europe to generate an immediate uptick in acts of violence, be it the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults (also in Germany, also denied until they could be denied no longer) or lone wolf terror attacks, or worse.

And that small percentage of refugees and migrants (for many are the latter, not the former) who do intend to do us harm have been greatly aided in their efforts by the German Chancellor and all those who stood with her, using the #RefugeesWelcome hashtag to signal their own virtue while accusing anybody who voiced the slightest reservation of harbouring selfish, xenophobic motivations.

But after what appears to be a suicide bomb attack in Ansbach, following on from a massacre by truck in Nice on Bastille Day, following on from attacks in Brussels and Paris and elsewhere, it is high time for the virtue signallers to accept some responsibility for the entirely self-inflicted lapses in national security for which they so lustily campaigned.

Of course genuine refugees should always be welcome in Europe. But those who encouraged and cheered for the open door now have more than a speck of blood on their hands, just as those who passionately inveighed against turning back migrant boats heading for Europe are somewhat responsible for the lost lives of the hundreds who have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after being encouraged to make the treacherous crossing.

But more to blame than almost anyone else (save the despots, theocrats, thugs and murderers currently making life impossible in Syria) is Angela Merkel, and what Douglas Murray termed her “conscience-cleaning” attempt to atone for Germany’s past sins, supposedly wiping them out with one single bold statement of humanitarian generosity. For in so doing, Merkel made a decision on behalf of Germans which was not hers alone to make.

There was no way of foreseeing the present dire circumstances when Germans went to the polls at the last federal election in 2013 – transforming Germany into a haven for over a million recent arrivals was not in any party manifesto at that time. And though many Germans have shown incredible generosity of spirit in opening their homes and communities to these migrants and refugees, Merkel deserves to face a fierce political backlash for not having put such a major decision to the people before acting.

All too often, the response of our politicians (and their cheerleaders, particularly on the Left) has been to do the thing which feels good in the moment, or which addresses the immediate crisis, even if it goes on to create far greater problems further down the line. The impulse to let in all of the world’s tired, huddled masses – even those not in immediate physical danger – satisfies the urge to be seen to be doing something. But worse, it encourages a tendency in the political class to make ostentatious displays of generosity when it is largely other people writing the cheques. Angela Merkel, with her protection detail, is thankfully never going to be sexually assaulted on the streets of Cologne. Nor is a suicide bomber likely to penetrate her security bubble, or a machete-wielding attacker corner her on a train. Ordinary Germans cannot say the same.

Likewise, those who painted their child-like “refugees welcome” signs and vaunted themselves as saints on social media got to look kind and virtuous in front of their peers while often remaining insulated from the negative consequences. But those consequences are real. They are manifested in the expectation that European lives will now be lost to terrorist attacks on a weekly basis – probably not in a grandiose 9/11 style attack, but through the constant attrition of mini massacres in second-tier provincial cities.

This is now the new normal – a reality where before much longer on our present trajectory, every day will bring the anniversary of a deadly Islamist terror attack somewhere in Europe, where the news reports blend into one another and the cycle of atrocity followed by vigil followed by hashtag followed by complacency followed by atrocity becomes unremarkable.

Europe’s progressive virtue-signallers took the credit for being enlightened, wonderful humanitarians. Now let them shoulder their fair share of the blame for each life lost to the terrorism which their open door inevitably beckoned.

 

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A Failed Military Coup In Turkey Is The Worst Possible Outcome For Democracy

People react near a military vehicle during an attempted coup in Ankara

This failed military coup has achieved the awful outcome of allowing Turkey’s tin pot dictator in gestation, the despicable President Erdogan and his supporters, to pose as champions of the very democracy they are busy subverting

Nobody in their right mind usually yearns for a military coup – the violence, confusion, civilian casualties, suspension of justice, martial law and human rights abuses which occur in the best of times are nothing to welcome, no matter how odious the status quo.

But once it became clear that a military coup was underway in Turkey, involving at least a subset of the military, it were better for that coup to succeed with as little bloodshed as possible than to have it fail.

Why? Because if you thought President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was bad before, just wait until paranoid, vengeful President Erdogan 2.0 is unleashed once he has finished putting down the coup and reasserting control over his divided country.

This is a vain and power-hungry little man who was at one desperate point last night reduced to addressing his nation via FaceTime, through an iPhone screen pointed at a television camera. He will not have taken kindly to this humiliation, and his vengeance will be swift and merciless.

President Erdogan was already well on the way to tin-pot dictator status, jailing critical journalists and political opponents, seizing control of independent critical newspapers and turning them into pro-government propaganda outlets, violently suppressing popular protests, subverting the constitution and building himself a palace fit for a king. All of this will now be accelerated.

As Mark Wallace rightly warns in Conservative Home:

If you thought he was a paranoid tyrant before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Erdogan was already throwing his weight around – jailing journalists, seizing control of critical newspapers, sending riot police in to fight protests and so on. But now he has a concrete threat which he can use to justify any and all repressive measures. The odds are that we will now see even tougher clampdowns which sadly will extend will beyond those actually responsible and likely sweep up many targets whom the government finds it convenient to be rid of.

Worse still from a secular standpoint, the military’s bluff has now been called. Turkey’s military has historically served as a firewall, a last line of defence against creeping Islamism and theocratic control. While details of this coup attempt have yet to fully emerge – it may be the case that these events were plotted only by one specific subset of the military – it now appears that the military has gambled and lost. It is hard to see them serving their pro-secular role in future, especially once Erdogan has made further personnel changes, replacing the current general staff with his stooges.

This failed coup attempt is also bad news for everyone else who relies on Turkey being a moderately stable presence in the region, and a trustworthy negotiating partner. Erdogan already had the European Union over a barrel with its pants down, extorting huge sums of money from European taxpayers in exchange for taking the smallest of actions to stem the flow of migrants and refugees entering the EU via Turkey. Expect that price to go up (while Turkey’s commitment to abiding by its agreement goes down) now that Erdogan feels the need to shore up his own position.

But the truly depressing thing about this failed military coup is the fact that it allows an utterly despicable and contemptible man and his hardcore supporters to parade around like the champions of democracy when in fact they are its sworn enemies. Erdogan himself once remarked that he views democracy as akin to getting on a bus, and that once the bus reaches its destination he will get off – in other words, he will submit himself to taking part in elections until he has built up a sufficient power base, and then kill Turkish democracy in the crib so that he can never be removed.

Already in the early hours of the morning, when it appeared that the coup attempt was failing, we saw Erdogan’s supporters wrap themselves in the flag of democracy:

Sadly, some in Britain who should know better – including the normally reliable Brendan O’Neill – joined in the same chorus:

The events cited by O’Neill – the establishment’s horror at Brexit, the Islamist terrorist slaughter of innocent people in Nice on Bastille Day and this failed coup in Turkey – are hardly comparable. While the first two do indeed represent the hatred held by some people for popular liberal democracy, President Erdogan is no great believer in liberal democracy, using it as a vehicle when it helps him but quick to suppress it when it represents a threat to his interests.

The danger is that by ennobling Erdogan’s survival by lumping it together with legitimate democratic movements (like Brexit) we help to shore up the power of somebody who is no friend of democracy, and who fully intends to snuff out democracy altogether once he has used it to drag Turkey back to some primitive, theocratic dark age.

This really is the worst of all possible outcomes. Military coups are never something to be celebrated, even when aimed at deposing someone as unpleasant as Erdogan – his defeat should come at the ballot box, not at the barrel of a tank gun. But a failed coup is doubly bad since it weakens the military, hardens Erdogan’s supporters and makes the man himself even more paranoid and authoritarian – there are already talks of Turkey reinstating the death penalty to deal with the plotters.

Whichever side had prevailed in this coup attempt, democracy would have been the nominal loser. But democracy’s defeat will be particularly bitter now that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stands strengthened and victorious.

 

Postscript: The failed coup in Turkey also seems to have brought out the worst in several British politicians, notably Labour MP Chris Bryant who thought that turmoil in Turkey provided a perfect opportunity to smear Brexiteers:

In other words, Chris Bryant is literally blaming Brexit and the quest for British independence from ever-closer European political union for causing civil unrest in a country thousands of miles away.

“Sore loser” doesn’t even come close to describing this hysterical, childish behaviour from an elected Labour MP. So out of touch are Labour MPs with the mood of the country (and their own constituents – Chris Bryant’s constituency voted for Brexit, 54-46 per cent) that even now they are sulking and taking part in a tantrum, lashing out at the British people for having the temerity to ignore their doom-laden advice and drag them away from their beloved EU.

The next time you hear it said that the Corbynites are rendering the Labour Party unelectable, remember that it was the centrist Chris Bryant acting like a moronic child on social media while civilians were being killed in Turkey.

 

Turkish President Erdogan addresses during an attempted coup in Istanbul

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Stronger Together? The Mighty European Union Is Dancing To The Tune Of A Petty, Minor League Tyrant

Greeting between Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on the left, and Jean-Claude Juncker

The unedifying sight of European leaders falling over themselves to flatter and persuade the two-bit despot of Turkey to help solve a problem largely of their own making is damning proof that EU member states are definitively NOT stronger together

The most common refrain heard from Remainers and assorted EU apologists is that by pooling (read: surrendering) sovereignty with 27 other nations, we are “stronger together” and mysteriously greater than the sum of our collective parts – that something magical happens when Ireland, Britain, Slovakia and Croatia act through a supranational government based in Brussels which (for reasons they never explain) could not be achieved through friendly inter-governmental cooperation between sovereign countries.

This tiresome and unsupported claim is fatuous beyond words, and usually uttered by people who don’t understand the first thing about either the history of the European Union or how it operates, but who nonetheless cheer on the idea of European political integration in order to virtue-signal the fact that they hold the “correct” progressive  opinions to their equally vapid friends and peers.

And if you want proof that being part of a remorselessly politically integrating club of 28 diverse countries actually makes us the very opposite of “stronger together”, one need only look at how the European Union is being hoodwinked and bullied by that beady-eyed, egotistical, embryonic dictator from Turkey, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Douglas Murray writes in the Spectator:

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, has persuaded the EU to grant visa-free travel to his 75 million countrymen inside Europe’s passport-free Schengen area. In so doing, he has made more progress than any of his predecessors. Using a combination of intimidation, threats and blackmail, he has succeeded in opening wide the doors of Europe.

Erdogan’s success matters, because it says much about the EU — and the idea that it exerts ‘soft power’. This was the theory in 1999 when the EU declared Turkey to be ‘a candidate State, destined to join the Union’ so long as it fulfilled the standard criteria for membership. Its state should have ‘achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect for and protection of minorities’.

And it was all going so swimmingly. Oh, wait:

As Erdogan has worked out, however much Turkey fails to live up to the EU’s expectations, the EU’s attitude to Turkey is ‘ever onwards’. Its 2013 ‘Visa Liberalisation Dialogue’ set out 72 conditions on security, migration, public order, fundamental rights and readmission of irregular migrants that Turkey needed to achieve. Despite failing them, in November last year the EU and Turkey agreed that visa-free travel should start this October. All the time Turkey demanded more and faster.

As well they could. Because last year — after the German Chancellor opened the borders of Europe to anyone who could get here — the tables turned. Persuaded that every problem in the Middle East, Far East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa was Europe’s fault and Europe’s responsibility, millions duly came. And will again. Today, even the European Commission and Frau Merkel realise that in order to avert political catastrophe in Europe, they must bring the number of entrants down. Suddenly, as Erdogan himself said, ‘The European Union needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the European Union.’

So this is the European Union’s much-vaunted “soft power”. This is how forcing 28 separate countries – incidentally, countries which often lavish money on social programmes but completely neglect their own security and defence – to act through a single supranational government actually works in practice. How other nations must tremble when Europe speaks.

The supposed soft power of Brussels is supposed to be European political union’s chief advantage and a key foundation of the Remain campaign’s case for staying in the EU, yet on the most important of issues it is virtually non-existent, a paper tiger. Turkey’s president openly mocks and belittles EU leaders to their faces, even as they roll out the red carpet and treat him “like a prince” (in the word’s of the European Commission’s own pandering  President Juncker).

But as Tom Slater correctly points out in Spiked, the real fault is not with Turkey and Erdogan, thin-skinned, authoritarian despot though he is. The problem is with Europe and its profound crisis of values:

As for the migrant deal, it was EU incompetence that ceded Erdogan all of his leverage in the first place. Having chosen to ignore the fact that it had long lost control of its southern borders – not least because of some of its members’ cack-handed crusades in the Middle East and North Africa – the EU’s response to the refugee crisis was chaotic and can-kicking. The EU elite’s attempt to enforce migrant quotas on member states was a typically anti-democratic move. But it couldn’t even pull that off. The EU is as inept as it is tyrannical, meaning cutting a deal with Turkey became the only option.

The ground-shaking power of Turkey is the fantasy of a continent that doesn’t know what it is anymore. The more Europe drifts from its founding values, the more EU elites struggle to execute anything other than a photo-op, the more Erdogan, the ‘tall man’ of Ankara, grows in stature. Bashing Turkey can only distract us from this profound crisis.

But how can this be? How did this “profound crisis” come about? Forcing 28 separate countries under the suffocating umbrella of one supranational government with one collective presence on the world stage was supposed to amplify our voice. Hell, the EU’s most starry-eyed lovers even dream of Brussels rivalling and eventually supplanting the United States as the most consequential actor in world affairs. And yet here we are, failing in our negotiations with a pathetic little tin-pot dictator, throwing away billions of taxpayer euros in the hope of the slightest concession from Turkey, while the eurocrats are bested and humiliated at every turn.

This is what happens when the EU tries to prance around on the world stage as though it were a legitimate country, despite not having the one thing most fundamental to any nation state – a cohesive demos, a people with a shared European identity, let alone common interests. This is what happens when the conflicting priorities, fears, red lines and neuroses of 28 separate countries are forcibly mashed together – the result is a laughable compromise backed with the weakest of wills, easily picked apart by a half-competent negotiator.

Erdogan isn’t stupid. He knows that having eliminated internal borders, the EU’s Schengen area countries are desperate to stop the immigration crisis at (or at least near) source, and that consequently he holds all of the cards. Erdogan knows that the EU is hopelessly divided, with German chancellor Angela Merkel having made the grandiose and criminally irresponsible gesture of welcoming anybody with the means to enter Europe – seeking to expunge Germany’s past national guilt in a single stroke, knowing that hundreds of thousands more would be encouraged to come while other countries would end up footing much of the bill.

A Europe that was not intent on forcing itself against common sense and natural law to become a single political entity might be able to deal with the Syrian (and broader) refugee and economic migration crisis in a rational, productive way. A Europe based on inter-governmental cooperation rather than supra-national control might be able to hammer out a deal to accept more genuine refugees, share them equitably, take only the brightest and best of the economic migrants, and offer real assistance and solidarity to countries like Greece and Italy which bear the brunt of the crisis. But this is not the Europe we have. Once again, the stubborn desire for European political union is actively killing people.

So let’s hear it again from the Remainers and desperate EU apologists. Let them continue to lecture us about how the European Union “amplifies our voice” and enables us to “punch above our weight“. Let them tell us how Europe’s representative on the world stage, former Young Communist Federica Mogherini, is universally feared and respected, the modern day hybrid of Charlemagne and Henry Kissinger.

Let them continue to peddle the preposterous myth that little old France, Germany and Britain – two of them nuclear powers, and the other the world’s fourth largest economy – are helpless on their own and only worthy of sitting across the table from the mighty President Erdogan to seek his favour because they cower behind the EU’s skirts.

Let them tell us again how being in the European Union gives us the diplomatic clout that countries like Australia, Canada, Japan, India and Russia so effortlessly wield every day, but which pathetic little Britain would struggle to replicate on our own.

Go on. Tell us. Read the latest account of hundreds of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea and tell us again just how star-spangled awesome the European Union is, and how successfully it helps us grapple with the most pressing challenges in today’s world.

Seriously. I’m all ears.

 

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