Sunday News & Notes

Europe, Global Order Is Crumbling: Will America Respond?
Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has an extensive essay in The Wall Street Journal in which he chronicles the weakening impact of recent events from Paris to the refugee crisis on Europe and wonders whether the US has the strength and will to respond to a crumbling world order.

“What the U.S. now does or doesn’t do in Syria will affect the future stability of Europe, the strength of trans-Atlantic relations and therefore the well-being of the liberal world order,” writes Kagan, who also is the author of the recently-released “The World America Made.” 

He notes that the reluctance of the Obama administration to become involved in crises in the Middle East is well-known and a pattern that has existed since he took office. However, Paris changed the dynamics in Europe and throughout the world.

“This is no doubt the last thing that Mr. Obama wants to hear, and possibly to believe. Certainly he would not deny that the stakes have gone up since the refugee crisis and especially since Paris. At the very least, Islamic State has proven both its desire and its ability to carry out massive, coordinated attacks in a major European city. It is not unthinkable that it could carry out a similar attack in an American city. This is new,” Kagan frankly states.

Nigerian Official: Obama Politicizing Fight Against Boko Haram
Geoffrey Teneilabe,  Nigeria’s Ambassador to Atlanta, Georgia, said the Obama administration’s decision not to sell arms has hindered Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.

“The decision of the United States government not to sell arms to Nigeria In order to effectively combat members of the Boko Haram Sect is uncalled for and it is political. Despite the challenges faced, former President Goodluck Jonathan was able to curb the activities of Boko Haram to some extents, and if the US had agreed to sell arms to Nigeria, maybe by now the sect would have been defeated,” he said, according to the Nigerian newspaper, Leadership.

Why Is Belgium Having A Radical Islamist Problem
The terror alert that has partially locked down Brussels entered a second day as the country’s interior minister said the threat was broader than a manhunt, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Independent researcher Pieter Van Ostaeyen calculated in October that 516 Belgians had fought in Iraq or Syria, which means Belgium has contributed more fighters per capita to the fight in the Levant than any other European country.

Of those identified radicals, The Washington Post notes that a majority live in a single neighborhood in the nation’s capital, Brussels. The neighborhood of Molenbeek has an estimated population of nearly 100,000 people and 22 known mosques in the district. It is densely populated, has a large immigrant population, as well as very high unemployment, complaints of inadequate government services, isolation from the central city and corridors of power and few speak English fluently.

Bart Cammaerts, an associate professor and director of the PhD Programme in the LSE’s Department of Media and Communications, argues it is not a problem confined to Belgium and the roots of radical Islam are multiple.

He believes an important factor  is found in the way European societies have treated what he calls the “other within,” a feeling which manifests itself in the education system and by the police have exacerbated their feeling of rejection.

“They are also more often charged with minor offences of a kind which ‘white’ Belgian youths are perceived as getting away with. Again, this repressive context is one example of many through which western European societies let ‘the other within’ know that they are not welcome and not one of them, which unavoidably creates yet further incentives for radicalization,” he writes.


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