Terror Attacks In Brussels May Have Impact On European, US Security Policy
A European city is once again the focus of the global war on terrorism after the city of Brussels, Belgium was shaken by multiple bombings on Tuesday morning that has left at least 26 people dead and 130 others injured.
No terror group has claimed responsibility, but it comes days after Paris massacre suspect Salah Abdeslam was apprehended in the Molenbeek district of Brussels. However, Belgian authorities said Abdeslam had told investigators he had been planning an attack that would target Brussels.
While it once was the practice of European leaders to withhold comment, the simple volume of attacks on the continent has clearly had an impact.
“We are at war,” said French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in blunt and frank language.
The attacks may also cause the government in Belgium to reassess its own security policy, which includes barring searches of homes after 10pm.
The attacks, more importantly, are a reminder that many European cities must face a disturbing reality – that there are radical Islamist terror cells actively working within their borders.
As John Lichfield says in The Independent, there exists in many cities a “disturbing radicalisation of a fringe” of Muslim youth in Beligium and beyond.
“There are the usual factors – unemployment, discrimination, split-identities – which explain the alienation of young Muslims in other European countries. In Belgium, they have been intensified by the country’s own divided identity as Dutch and French speakers have drifted further apart in the last two decades,” he notes.
That fragmentation has consequences, according to Tim King, a columnist for The London Telegraph.
“Effective counter-terrorism, on the other hand, requires efficient liaison between all arms of the state, gathering good intelligence and convey it to the right place. Belgium has some good technology and some highly skilled people at the centre, but they sit on top of a pyramid, whose base is low-skill and low-tech,” writes King.
There also needs to be a reassessment of American priorities, particularly as there is a great uncertainty about which direction the United States will take in the next administration.
GOP front-runner Donald Trump has indicated his foreign policy will be more isolationist than his rivals Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Trump suggested in an interview before his address to the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) that the US should consider stepping away from its leadership of NATO.
“We are paying disproportionately (for NATO). It’s too much and frankly it’s a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea,” Trump said in an interview on CNN. “We have to reconsider. Keep NATO, but maybe we have to pay a lot less toward NATO itself.”