“‘Dangerous Moment’ for Europe, as Fear and Resentment Grow”
The New York Times, January 7, 2015, p.A1
“The sophisticated, military-style strike Wednesday on a French newspaper known for satirizing Islam staggered a continent already seething with anti-immigrant sentiments in some quarters, feeding far-right nationalist parties like France’s National Front. ‘This is a dangerous moment for European societies,’ said Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. ‘With increasing radicalization among supporters of jihadist organizations and the white working class increasingly feeling disenfranchised and uncoupled from elites, things are coming to a head.’… Anti-immigrant attitudes have been on the rise in recent years in Europe, propelled in part by a moribund economy and high unemployment, as well as increasing immigration and more porous borders. The growing resentments have lifted the fortunes of established parties like the U.K. Independence Party in Britain and the National Front, as well as lesser-known groups like Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West, which assembled 18,000 marchers in Dresden, Germany, on Monday. In Sweden, where there have been three recent attacks on mosques, the anti-immigrant, anti-Islamist Sweden Democrats Party has been getting about 15 percent support in recent public opinion polls. … With each terrorist attack, however, the acceptability of anti-immigrant policies seems to reach deeper into the mainstream. In Britain, for example, which also has a large Muslim population, the U.K. Independence Party has called for a British exit from the European Union and sharp controls on immigration, emphasizing what it sees as dangers to British values and identity. The mainstream parties have competed in promising more controls on immigration, too. … ‘Large parts of the European public are latently anti-Muslim, and increasing mobilization of these forces is now reaching into the center of society,’ Mr. Neumann said. ‘If we see more of these incidents, and I think we will, we will see a further polarization of these European societies in the years to come.'”
Quickie Analysis: When the US suffered a major terrorist attack, it invaded two countries and killed hundreds of thousands. France won’t do the same, but the long-term results of this attack could be ugly throughout Europe.