The Spanish election results are reverberating around the world, and the realization is setting in that the implications are disastrous -- not only for Spain, but for all of Europe, for the war on terror, and perhaps for the very survival of western civilization. Mass murderers have won an easy victory of staggering proportions. And any hope of coping with its effects will first require a realistic assessment of the damage that has already been done and where it is likely to lead -- all weighed in the context of the sobering lessons of history.
Although the recent events in Madrid unfolded swiftly, their roots can be traced back to ancient Islamic resentments and hatreds, played out against the backdrop of the moral decay of modern Europe. These forces came to a head on March 11, 2004, when a coordinated series of deadly train bombings killed more than 200 commuters. Then, in the stunning aftermath three days later, a panicky Spanish electorate succumbed to its fears and gave the suspected perpetrators everything they could have wanted.
Acting in part out of misdirected anger at their own government, voters repudiated the previously popular ruling party of Prime Minister José Maria Aznar -- a staunch supporter of military action in the war on terror. In place of the existing government, they elevated to power the Socialist Party of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Zapatero had vowed to realign Spain against the United States, remove Spanish troops from Iraq, and join with France, Germany, and other like-minded members of the European Union in supporting Europe's preferred "nonviolent" approach to aggression against the continent -- apology, appeasement, sympathy, and compromise -- as the means of dealing with the escalating threat of Islamist terror.
The Continuing 'Holy War'
In making that choice, Spanish voters have given radical Islamists (not to be confused with the religion of Islam itself) a symbolic triumph of monumental proportions -- and all it took was the detonation of a dozen or so backpack bombs. In the minds of the murderous jihadi fundamentalists, the swift capitulation of Spain has to be seen as a historic moment in their struggle to reverse the centuries-old humiliation of the "Reconquista" -- the reconquest of what is now Spain and Portugal by Christian forces several centuries after the Moorish invasion in 711 had extended Islamic rule to most of the Iberian peninsula.
The Reconquest -- which culminated in the expulsion from Spain of the last of the Moorish rulers in 1492 -- has long been a festering sore in the minds of Islamic fundamentalists, who have nurtured hopes for hundreds of years of reversing its effects. Osama bin Laden has made it clear that he wants Muslim rule restored in Spain. And whether or not Al-Qaeda is ever officially implicated in the bombings, the Spanish election certainly has to represent a major first step toward that goal in the eyes of today's radical Islamists.
And now that the Spanish have blinked, how long can it be before Osama & Company make good on their often-expressed desire to impose a Muslim hegemony over the rest of Europe, Asia, and even North America?
If that's their plan, then Zapatero's their man -- at least at this stage of the struggle. Al-Qaeda and its allies are more than aware that the new Spanish prime minister and his Continental European counterparts are not likely to stand in the Islamists' way if Europe is threatened with more terrorist violence. Based on past experience, the terrorists know they will encounter little resistance from Europe's spineless and value-free leaders who have made it clear they will pay any price for a temporary, illusory peace.
Thus, in the aftermath of the 3/11 bombings and the Spanish election, the United States can expect to find itself increasingly isolated from its former allies. After all, who will run the risk of being a US ally in the face of terrorist threats that are almost certain to be fulfilled?
In fact, few European nations will even want to be an ally, thanks to decades of systematic demonization of the US, and the core values of western civilization that America incarnates, by the intellectuals, educators, and media elites of Continental Europe, Britain, and North America. To much of the western world these days, the greatest threats to world peace are represented by the United States and Israel. And the biggest stumbling blocks to "mutual understanding" and "accommodation" with the Islamist "other" are seen as the core Judeo-Christian values and democratic ideals of the western Enlightenment that so many Americans and Israelis appear to "stubbornly" hold onto.
Yes, that's correct. According to the gospel of the BBC, The New York Times, Harvard, Berkeley, and the wise men of Europe, these are the major villains threatening global peace and stability -- not suicide bombers, not nuclear-armed tyrants or mullahs, not even Al-Qaeda itself. It's those stubborn traditionalists who insist on rigidly holding onto the long discredited Enlightenment values of economic and political liberty, religious freedom, rule of law, moral duty, personal responsibility, and democratic constitutional government.
These fools, so goes today's "progressive," cosmopolitan thinking, stubbornly hold onto a set of values that are outmoded in today's ever-changing, relativistic, multicultural world -- a multi-hued world of moral grays, not rigid black and whites.
In other words, the very values that inspired the political wisdom and vision of America's Founding Fathers -- the very values that underlie the nation's Constitutional foundations and core sensibility -- are anachronistic moral fossils to be ignored (or snickered at) in today's "progressive," anything-goes environment.
Or to put it more simply, most of America's democratic allies in the West (if not America itself) have been morally disarmed by the post-sixties nihilism embraced and disseminated by today's latte and limousine liberals. These advocates of "rational skepticism" and "enlightened progress" ultimately believe in nothing, except the nihilistic supposition that there is nothing worth believing in apart from the conviction that there is no absolute truth or morality -- everything is relative.
This is the intellectual sensibility that appears to underlie most serious European public discourse these days (and increasingly, serious North American thought too).
How, then, can there be a will to resist the Islamist onslaught in the West, if the majority of its citizens don't even know what they should be fighting for?
Appeasement, defeatism, and survival at any cost are the natural ideological consequences.
The European Tradition
Certainly, Prime Minister Zapatero's soft line is in the long tradition of European appeasement and wishful thinking, emanating from that continent's early dance with the beguiling intellectual siren of rational skepticism and moral relativism (and the resulting values vacuum and political spinelessness it encourages). And not surprisingly, the new Spanish prime minister's point of view has already been welcomed with open arms on the Continent.
Is history repeating itself? Perhaps. After all, like France on the eve of the Second World War, EU leaders are prepared to succumb to Al-Qaeda's demands without a shot being fired, so that they can subsequently boast about the many lives they saved -- just as the French avoided spilling their own blood in World War II by meekly surrendering to Hitler without firing a shot.
In fact, if France still resents the US and UK, it's probably because the invasion of Normandy brought the war home to French soil long after that country had made its cozy accommodation with the Nazis and was living quite comfortably under the occupation. The French then, as now, wanted peace at any price -- not the hardships of liberation, and certainly not any bloodshed in the name of freedom.
Already morally disarmed by a long tradition of intellectual skepticism -- read "moral nihilism" -- occupied France believed in nothing but surviving with minimum discomfort and exertion.
Recall too that even the British put their faith in compromise and conciliation in the early stages of the conflict with Nazi Germany, overwhelmingly ignoring the realities of the Nazi threat and supporting the 1938 Munich agreement with Adolf Hitler that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain assured them would bring "peace in our time." It was only after that agreement broke down that the British people summoned the courage to elect Winston Churchill as their wartime leader -- much as the Israelis eventually turned to old warrior Ariel Sharon after experiencing the murderous devastation wreaked upon them as a direct consequence of the Munich-like Oslo "peace process."
Still, as some commentators have recently pointed out, there was an inclination on the part of the British elites in the early 1940s to call the battle against Hitler "Churchill's War." If only Churchill had been less rigid and more inclined to compromise with the Nazis, the thinking went, then the war would have ended already. Of course, Hitler would have been left with the fruits of his aggression -- France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, and Denmark -- and the Nazis would have remained a threat to global freedom indefinitely. But, in this view, that was a small price to pay for peace and selfish comfort.
Similarly today, we now have "Bush's War" -- as if it were George W. Bush who crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center on 9/11 and incinerated thousands of innocent civilians. And as if it were George W. Bush (and his Spanish sidekick José Maria Aznar) who blew up those commuter trains in Spain.
In an act of moral weakness and timidity, the rage felt in Europe towards the real perpetrators of these carnages has been displaced onto the stalwart few who would prevent the recurrences of such outrages -- lest there be a price to pay for standing up to international terrorism.
Certainly, Europe appears to have long suffered from a mass case of the "Stockholm Syndrome," in which hostages bond with their captors and identify with their captors' causes, in a quintessential act of self-abasement and appeasement -- ultimately even turning on anyone who would save them.
It appears that today's typical European would like to think that if the Islamist terror faction can be shown that "we understand and sympathize with your grievances and mean you no harm," then the terrorists will go elsewhere (perhaps to America) and leave Europeans alone.
Ironically, the latest Islamist threats against France, the master Continental appeaser, only shows that for Al-Qaeda, an infidel is an infidel, regardless of his or her good intentions.
Sadly, as the war on terror wears on, America increasingly resembles its putative European allies as a nation in the process of similarly being morally disarmed by its political, media, and intellectual elites. Consequently, with the US government increasingly isolated, and much of the world cringing in fear and siding with America's enemies, who's to say that the Americans themselves won't opt out of the war on terror and elect John Kerry with a clear mandate to sue for peace?
Senator Kerry is already seen by many of his supporters as the new American Chamberlain who is magically going to make the Islamist threat go away through a spirit of compromise and cooperation, spearheaded by the UN and the EU, and negotiate our very own Oslo-like terms of accommodation.
Certainly, the siren song of the appeasers is whispering in Kerry's ear, and he clearly is flattered by their attention. Zapatero has openly endorsed Kerry's candidacy, and the senator has boasted about the support he allegedly enjoys from a number of unnamed foreign leaders -- presumably including all the members in good standing of what many commentators have disparagingly called the Axis of Weasels.
If Kerry's boast is true -- he has refused to name these "leaders," so the facts cannot be verified -- he has to be aware that such support does not come cheaply. The price would be nothing less than the subordination of US foreign policy and national defense considerations to the narrow interests of unreliable "allies" with self-serving agendas.
Unfortunately, his statement indicates that he would be happy to pay that price in order to win acceptance in the growing international community of compromise and capitulation. More precisely, it suggests that Kerry is quite willing to let America and the free world pay the price of his membership in the exclusive international club inhabited by the morally bankrupt and defeatist European politicians who clearly see him as one of their own.
Yet, the sad fact of the matter is that the Islamist reversal of the Reconquest has begun, and it is no exaggeration to say that the fate of western civilization ultimately hangs in the balance. America and the free world simply cannot afford the risk of Chamberlain-like "internationalist" leadership from either political party in the United States, especially in the light of the European moral rot this would import into American foreign policy and politics.
As it happens, in the coming presidential election, the outsourcing of jobs may well be one of the most contentious issues. Let's hope that neither candidate is foolish enough to support the most pernicious "outsourcing" of all -- exporting responsibility for American foreign policy, and for the defense of America, to the European Union and the United Nations.
If that happens, the reconquest of Europe may well be followed by the subjugation of North America.
Copyright 2004 © Murray Soupcoff and R. Bastiat. Reprinted with permission of the authors. Read this article on the Inconoclast website.