The Corner


Appeasement and shame, they name is Spain. This people lives an ocean away from us. Yet they have brought shame on all of us.

How would Americans react to terror here on the eve of our next election? Not like the Spanish, I’ll wager. We are not Europeans. And yet we are. We have the potential to show their weakness. Yet I also believe that Europe has the potential to show our strength. The West is being tested. Yes, this will confirm some appeasers in their cowardice. Yet the spectacle of Al Qaeda using terror to flip the government of a major European state may wake some Europeans up. These events will be iconic. They will sharpen our internal differences on the war to a spear point. Many Spanish themselves-having acted without courage or forethought in the heat of the moment-may soon regret what they’ve done. Who are we? We shall soon find out.

The underlying cause of the drift between the United States in Europe is an apparent change in our interest situations. American soldiers once acted as a trip wire on the front lines of Europe (and Korea). Our presence in Europe meant protection for Europeans, and emphasized our shared fates. When the front lines shifted to American cities, everything seemed to change. The Europeans believed that they could escape the terrorist danger by distancing themselves from us. Europe’s large population of Muslim immigrants, porous borders, and proximity to the Middle East stoked their fears, and made them see America’s tough policy on terror as a danger to them. Now, Europe’s fears about American policy have been dramatically realized. Americans need to understand this. Europe has blamed us for failing to see the danger they are in. Europe has hoped to escape that danger by disowning America. And now, from one perspective, Europe’s worst nightmare has been confirmed. By following America, they have been dragged into the terrorist mire.

Yet it may take the realization of Europe’s worst fears to bring change. Only now are the full implications of appeasement apparent. Only now has European self-knowledge become possible. Spain has realized the worst fears of Europe’s appeasers-and of Americans who fear appeasement. Change was impossible without this shock to the system. We have surely not seen the end of terror, it is true. But we have not seen the end of the West’s internal struggle either. The true test of who we are has just begun.


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