Tuesday’s terrorist attacks at Brussels Airport, which transports daily the European establishment to and from its business, and the Maelbeek metro station, in a part of the Belgian capital which, by the way, has a large Muslim population, were clearly a crime of a symbolic nature.
Similar terrorist strikes resulting in the death of innocents have taken place in the past few years in Madrid, London and more recently in Paris. Yet despite the fact that the international character of the threat has been acknowledged by all political leaders, the phenomenon has been treated more like a local misfortune on a practical, if not rhetorical, level.
But in Brussels – the European village that is home to the most well-paid bureaucrats of the European Union and NATO, the seat of the European Parliament and the home or destination of thousands of journalists from around the world – the recent abhorrent acts of terrorism took on pan-European proportions.
Experts will again expound their views on “Islamic terrorism” and studies will be penned by authorities on the subject from around the world, saying that there are serious gaps in European security and offering recommendations on how to deal with the nightmare.
Europe is looking for a system that will provide it with absolute safety but this is something that is impossible to implement, much less finance.
Prince Metternich, a gifted diplomat of the Austrian Empire in the early 1800s, said in his memoirs that if he had been a radical, he would have overthrown the regime in a matter of weeks. An invincible system is the stuff of dreams.
The Middle East is in complete turmoil. All manner of control has been lost and pointing the blame at various powers for the situation is now a pointless exercise. The principles of the Enlightenment and humanity that apparently dictate the Western way of life and behavior hold absolutely no attraction to the Islamists – moderate or extreme. In theory, only the emergence of a major Islamic power could bring some control over areas that are ruled by different gangs.
Such a power does not exist right now, nor would its appearance be welcomed by the West. The region had experienced some stability during the rule of the Ottomans, who used Islam to achieve political goals. After twice failing to take Vienna, its served as a safeguard against Russian expansion.
Those, however, were different times, nor is it possible to return to nationalistic solutions without rejecting globalization. The only thing that will happen is that life in Europe will change a bit – security checks will increase but the fear will be ever-present – and after some time, everyone will grow accustomed to the new situation, as is always the case.