The Corner

London 77

There have been a lot of great London pieces, and John O’Sullivan has written many of them. But the best I’ve read is the piece by John in the new issue of NR. He discounts the Brits-will-pull-out-of-Iraq pessimism:

Those American conservatives who worry that the Brits will go soft on terrorism and Iraq misunderstand the real areas of weakness… British foreign policy is not going to alter significantly. Whitehall is already planning, as is the Pentagon, to withdraw British troops from Iraq as the Iraqi security forces take over. If anything, more terrorism will delay that withdrawal. Nor will the Brits gradually shuffle away from the war on terror. However paradoxically, Blair has been strengthened politically by the bombings and will remain in Downing Street for the foreseeable future. The main opposition party, the Tories, supports his policy. Barring accidents, their new leader, likely to be elected in October, will continue that support. And if there are the future terrorist attacks that most experts expect, British popular and political support for the war on terrorism is likely to harden.

But finds a deeper source of pessimism in the existence of home-grown terrorists that the Brits will have real trouble dealing with:

To ameliorate and eventually solve such a… problem means dealing simultaneously with several deeply-rooted component ones: getting better intelligence on the terrorist networks in place in order to disrupt them; deporting known Muslim extremists already here; controlling and ultimately reducing immigration; replacing a failed multiculturalism with a common British culture and identity that encompasses immigrant identities as the American identity once did; and above all encouraging British Muslims to embrace Britishness as their principal political identity and thus to reject the Islamist vision of a world-wide caliphate. To achieve even one of these aims will be difficult. For instance, deporting known extremists would probably require either withdrawing Britain from international conventions on torture and asylum (extremely difficult) or getting the international community to re-write them (impossible.) To achieve all of them will be a heroic task.

Of course, you can read the whole thing on Friday by signing up here.

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