Since the November 13, 2015 ISIS Paris terror attack, nations of the European Union (EU) have been awash in ‘terror fear’. Headlines about Europe reflect that fear:
-“Terror fears hurt European stocks before Fed update”, fin24, November 18, 2015.
-“Terrorism in the UK”, thetelegraph, December 2, 2015.
-“Parisians Fear Terror Attacks Will Divide, Not Unite, the City”, International New York Times, November 14, 2015.
-“Brussels terror alert, city shut down as fears of Paris style attack”, wn.com, November 21, 2015.
-“Belgium extends security alert for capital amid terror fear”, presstv, November 24, 2015.
-“How the Paris Attackers Honed Their Assault Through Trial and Error”, International New York Times, November 30, 2015.
-“Paris terror attacks provoke fresh fears over migration in already tense Europe”, Associated Press, November 14, 2015.
-“Europe entangled in terror fears”, presstv, November 22, 2015.
-“European Parliament: EU Lawmakers Call for Action on Radicalization as Terror Threat Spreads”, sputniknews, November 24, 2015.
The truth is, Europe has been afraid of Islamic terror attack for at least 10 years (Robert Leiken, “Europe's Angry Muslims”, Council on Foreign Relations, July/August, 2005). Islamic migration into Europe has driven that fear (Ed West, “Muslim immigration: the most radical change in European history”, telegraph, August 24, 2009).
Muslim anger in Europe isn’t new. Increasing Muslim migration into Europe isn’t new. The threat of Islamic terror in Europe isn’t new.
Here’s something else that’s not new for Europe: Europeans are paralyzed. They’re so committed to ‘multiculturism’ and an idealized concept of ‘peace’, the very idea of fighting terror makes them weak in the knees (“Why Europe's Response to the Paris Attacks Will Be Tricky”, bloomberg, November 16, 2015).
We’re reminded of this weakness by, of all people, a comedic actor--John Cleese. Cleese is no longer just another pretty face (if he ever was one). He’s got a brain.
Several years ago, he published a short observation on how Europe reacts to terror. That observation still looks relevant.
A reader sent his short essay to me. I think it’s making the rounds on the internet. It might have been written in 2008 or, more likely, in 2013. Its original publication date seems fuzzy. The version I received had an altered ending, to update its impact. I left it in:
-The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.”
Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.
Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.
Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”
The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”
Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.
The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be right.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.
A final thought – Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, Rome is in disarray and Israel is a threat? Welcome back to 430 BC.
I think Cleese—with that added paragraph—gets it right.