Wednesday, March 23, 2016


No country faced with terrorist mayhem has been as mercilessly criticized as Belgium nowadays. The New York Times refers to Belgium as being "the world's wealthiest failed state". The Los Angeles Times calls Molenbeek the "Jihadi capital of Europe" and castigates Belgium's national security apparatus ("A patchwork"), and the fingerpointing goes on...

The Belgian Minister of Interior has been highly critical of "police gerrymandering" and the obsolete governance structure in Brussels. No doubt the larger discussion can no longer be avoided.  On the positive side, the so-called divided country reacted with a solidarity, shared dignity, compassion and resilience.  In Europe there was more sympathy than cheap shots.

ISIL is an existential menace. The danger becomes larger by the minute as long as the territories it controls grow. President Obama's ghost coalition (over 80 countries) lacks credibility, just as his air-raids miss the target. His heart and mind are not in it. He is more at ease in academic subtleties and sophisms than in recognizing the terrifying proximity of asymmetric doom. Nowadays one can no longer cherry pick one's enemies, since the former have the initiative. This is disturbing to the sensibilities of a mindset more tuned to ordering than to confronting. Unfortunately, there is no room for order in a nihilistic mindset.

We are faced with a force which is basically tribal. The family ties, the network of friends, the religious web, work in favor of radical Islamists, while the opposite camp is one of individuals who are even losing the technological battle and are unwilling for now to call the enemy by name or to intervene where it hurts more.

As long as this drole de guerre lasts, I would sugg that US media handle criticism of Belgium and others with more caution.

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