Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

A threat that is changing Europe

COMMENT

TAGS: Terrorism, EU, Defense

We live in volatile and unpredictable times. Terrifying things are happening across the globe. The Brexit vote in the UK’s referendum on European Union membership, the shocking performance of Republican candidate Donald Trump in the US presidential race, the recurring terrorist attacks in Europe, the attempted coup – and its political fallout – in Turkey: All make up an explosive mix that cannot be reduced to a single interpretation or solution.

Historians advise patience. They remind us that the West and the rest of the world undergo such phases of upset and violent change every 50-60 years. This is not the end of the West, they say.

The regular attacks carried out by Islamic extremists on European soil are shocking. Authorities believe that terrorist attacks will intensify. If this does happen, the ramifications on European politics, the economy and culture will be grave.

Individuals suffering from mental illness are seen turning into assassins and no amount of security measures is enough to stop this from happening. German authorities appear better prepared than most of their counterparts in dealing with such incidents but there is little they can do to prevent them from happening.

Across the continent, security authorities are trying to monitor an increasing number of Muslim citizens and immigrants. Should control on Europe’s Muslim population become too strict, such measures will only play into the hands of ISIS, expanding the pool of recruits on its behalf.

Meanwhile, pressure from society, the media and politicians is growing. Many observers deem that fear of Islam is the elephant in the room – few people talk about it despite the widespread fear. The issue played a role in the Brexit vote and it is impacting political life in many European nations. No one really thinks that the European Union can be turned into a fortress; as a result, frightened voters will demand that their governments make a fortress of their nations.

This is a threat that will change the face of Europe.

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