The London response to the Paris attacks is actually not the one to watch. In all likelihood it will follow the usual pattern of platitudes, followed by a bump in defence spending and some gratuitous and militarily useless air strikes. We’ll later see some or other new initiative to sift thought our Amazon receipts and Linked In requests in our Gmail accounts along with yet more risible policing policies. It is so predictable as to be boring to seasoned pundits.
As far as that goes, I don’t think there is anything I could add that you couldn’t get from the mainstream media and there are probably commentators better qualified to comment. My own view is that London has abdicated much of its own responsibility for governance to the EU and so we must look to Brussels to see where the real action is.
What caught my eye was the news that France asked for assistance under Article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty, in response to the attacks. Article 42.7 stipulates that “if a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations charter”
This article has never been invoked before. This is unprecedented. Many believe this to an automatic compulsion for EU member states to go to war. It isn’t and the EU would never insist in that it would show just how unlikely a unified response would be. Besides, the devil is in the detail.
In reality, it is little more than a gesture with so many loopholes as to be utterly meaningless - except for the gesture itself. In international politics, gestures are everything. It is an attempt to Europeanise our response and to put the EU at the centre of events rather than our respective heads of state.
We have already seen unanimous motions of support passed in a grandiose display of unity among our euro-elites but it doesn’t take long for the hypocrisy to shine through the cracks. Predictably, as with Libya, Germany has declined to offer up military assistance and if there is a larger military offensive it will be executed under the aegis of NATO with the EU trying to insert its brand wherever it can.
What this shows is that despite the EU’s continued efforts to usurp the nation state in all areas of interest from tackling climate change to regulating the more mundane aspects of everyday life from plastic carrier bags to the sugar content of condiments, when it comes to the holy grail of dropping bombs on people, it will never obtain that elusive supreme authority.
But then the EU has no need of such authority. The EU only ever needs supreme authority to push a “common position” that would otherwise not be realised. In this and in all such attacks there is already a common position. Something MUST be bombed!
After 9/11 we heard that same cry. It took a little while to decide who and where – and were we not already at war in Afghanistan and Iraq when the 7/7 London bombings took place, the RAF would have been bombing somebody somewhere. It seems to me that the response is uniformly the same every time. Death begets yet more death.
The West simply doesn’t know how to handle this kind of war. This is a war of ideology. We have a long history of fighting and winning territorial wars where armies fight armies and we have yet to shed that mentality. You cannot kill an idea with tanks and aircraft.
What we are looking at is a wholly nihilistic enemy that has neither the means nor the intention of fighting us directly. It wants us to destroy ourselves - and for reasons that escape me, our leaders seem hell bent on obliging them.
The way asymmetrical warfare works is to make your enemy afraid, put all kinds of barriers, suspect each other and spend extraordinary sums of money on war operations that accomplish very little, apart from create more refugees and the problems that go with it.
Thus far we've given the terrorists EXACTLY what they want. It took less than forty eight hours for a French aircraft carrier to set sail to the Middle East. If Iran were at all entrepreneurial they would open up a service depot for them in the gulf. There’s plenty growth potential there.
We can look forward to several months of pounding the desert with multi-million pound aircraft dropping ordinance costing in the hundreds of thousands to take out tents, Toyota trucks and dilapidated Russian APCs. Already an extra £2bn has been allocated for British generals to go toy shopping.
Next up will be the militarisation of borders, erecting further fences, more regulation placed on banking to detect irregular transfers, more snooping and whatever else they can think of that will diminish our liberty. After which ISIS will launch yet more attacks just to show how impotent we are.
Only when we have made a prison for ourselves will we be safe, by which time we will have dismantled our freedoms and given the nihilists the satisfaction of wrecking everything that’s good about the West. In that regard, if ever the moves to make our response to terrorism an EU wide response succeed, it will be less a mutual defence agreement – but a joint suicide pact.
Meanwhile, the right wing fear that Europe will become Islamic will not be through birth-rate demographics but through half of the middle east fleeing to Europe in terror of whatever boneheaded military stunt the West embarks upon next. For ISIS, that’s mission accomplished.