Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Withering Europe and Crumbling Western Alliance

(Member states of NATO, image courtesy Wikipedia)

Terrorist attacks in Brussels bring few things more forcefully to the fore:

1. Dysfunctional state of Belgium with it's utter inability to manage it's internal security[1] as well as zero chance of altering it's divisive political culture which nourishes militancy among it's Muslim population.

2. Inability of European administrative and political apparatus to pull together unitedly to address the grave challenges of home grown terrorism, toxic osmosis of Islam misusing terrorists between Europe and Syria, and flow of migrants from Middle East. Failure of Germany and EU in forcing Belgium to get it's ineffective administration into shape only highlights weakness of European politics.

3. Inevitable political exploitation of these attacks by xenophobic, ultra-nationalistic political forces on both sides of Atlantic which will only result in breaking into pieces of EU and Western Alliance.

Meanwhile feeling of 'European nations as free riders' is becoming prevalent while Donald Trump essentially wants to do away with the entire NATO itself. Europe's inability to step up to the challenge of Jihadi Terrorism, unwillingness of European population to spend on security measures and utter lack of political consensus in  nurturing political project of EU; all that is going to make it easy on American side to yank the NATO and alliance of USA with Europe.  

Given this backdrop, there is a dire need of leadership in keeping the unity of EU as well as it's alliance with America. One can get falsely impressed by President Obama's nuance filled foreign policy overall, but it is clear that it is not working when it comes to Europe, Syrian quagmire and Trans-Atlantic Alliance. President Obama clearly needs to spend political capital at home, in fighting Trumpian calls of dismantle NATO and prohibit Muslims entering USA, as well as in Europe in exhorting European political class to get it's act together. It is easy for Americans to throw the towel, say we have nothing to do with European free riders and isolate our selves. That is not going to work. 

As a starter, to assume oceans apart would keep America safe is delusional in today's world when outfits like IS have shown ability to keep sleeper cells around Western World for longer duration, have shown ability to attract disgruntled youths in these Western societies for the cause of Jihad and when one only needs an encrypted message to blow up bodies in far away place to harm innocents. 

Secondly, disintegration of EU is going to pull down already wobbly global economy further as Europe joins China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Japan, Turkey in substantially weaker global demand. Not only centrifugal political forces which are gathering steam in Britain and continental Europe are bound to make Europeans poorer collectively, it is equally going to have a dramatic impact on American and rest of the global economy.

Thirdly, even a relatively weaker Russia will be able to exploit these European failures to reignite it's century old geo-politics of expansion in Russian periphery. None of such Czarist expansions bring any stability to Russia or to a larger world; those only seed sources of future conflicts to keep the cycle of an unstable Russian periphery feeding into weaker Russia uninterrupted.

Finally, as European and American societies show only weaker 'will' to defend and secure their 'open societies'; demise of Western World as we know since WWII is not far fetched. Sure, that world has been having problems all along; but the universal values of 'freedom of speech, freedom of movement, tolerance to other people, secular polity and liberal economic order'; all that will be perilously close to vanish. President Barack Obama may not be solely responsible for all this decadence, but History will for sure note that he failed to do his part in keeping Europe united, secure; with far reaching consequences all over the world.[2]

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[1] - Nabbing the main Paris attack suspect - though after four months and suspects in Brussels attacks; is a good thing. But it also means Belgium could have earlier cleaned up 500 or so Jihadi's residing among it's cities.

[2] - And that means solving the Syrian problem which Obama Administration is unable to make much headway. 

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