|▲ This is Eiffel Tower in Paris|
/Phtography from Photopin
In light of the horrific massacre that occurred in the streets of Paris and within the Bataclan Theater, much of the Western world has been left with a singular question as to what the next course of action is to be. France has already mobilized portions of its military for action in the Middle East and sent out strafing runs to eliminate targets. While these actions were nonetheless preapproved before the events at the Bataclan, one can only ask if these events shall sustain?
Of course, these incidents are not without precedent. Harkening back to the memories of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, a rather undesirable reflection can be seen against the United State’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. By simply substituting the actors of Al Qaida with that of ISIS and the World Trade Center with that of the Bataclan, the general public attitudes and the prerequisites for an invasion or military excursion into the Middle East already fulfill most of the parameters.
As with every comparison, the distinct differences must be explored. To begin with, France has already consulted the UN and seems to be willing to follow orders. As a member of NATO, however, France has every right to invoke Article V which would force all NATO allies to contribute to some capacity by considering the act upon France as an act of war upon all of the NATO allies, thus dragging many NATO allies into Syria should they choose to do so. By avoiding the invocation of Article V, France has shown that it intends on following the international guidelines of how to pursue military action. On that account, France has, to some small degree, done better than the US. The last test that remains is to see whether or not France will abide by the UN decision on whether to intervene in Syria.
A final point of clarification should be made regarding the nature of terrorism. Terrorism cannot be easily defeated as most ideologies are prone to resilience. However, it should become self-evident that reactionary violence without an end goal is just as good a catalyst towards causing more terror attacks to occur. To a small extent, this reaction is exactly what ISIS desires in the public condemnation of not only Syrian migrants entering Europe but also of Muslims in general. By playing upon this very discriminatory attitude that has unfortunately arisen against those of the Islamic faith, ISIS is rather cleverly increasing its recruitment base. Tolerance and outreach by the government of these migrants and native Muslims must be made instead of pushing them away. For however cliché it may sound, unity is the best tool to combat terrorist acts.
Thus, one can only ask, “Are we to be privy to playing out the very same mistakes again?” Only time can tell whether or not France chooses to play out the very same way as the United States chose to with Iraq. While one can only hope that the UN is not made a joke of an institution as it traditionally has by the USA’s complete disregard for the UN’s condemnation of the Iraq War, the actions of France shall nevertheless be heavily scrutinized in the coming months. Shall France learn from the mistake of the USA? Will the public learn that not all Muslims are responsible for the actions of a radical group that is seen as evil by fellow Muslims? or shall society as a whole fail and these goals and allow itself to become Sisyphus and prove that it has learned nothing? Human nature is hard to predict as are the nature of politics. The only hope can be that emotional rage does not overtake the logical and less bloody path to resolution.
Ethan Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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