ugg boots stockists 5 Questions on European Terrorism with Stuart Gottlieb
Stuart Gottlieb is an adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, where he teaches courses on American foreign policy, counterterrorism and international security.
Q. Belgium is a country with a population of 11 million, smaller than the New York metropolitan area. Why is it a hotbed of radical Islam?
A. Because ISIS and like minded militant Islamist groups have their sights set on Europe as a major next phase in their war against the West. Belgium in particular serves multiple benefits to the jihadist groups its capital, Brussels, is also the de facto capital of the European Union, and home to the headquarters of NATO; so its symbolism as a target cannot be more stark. Additionally, Belgium has historically been a fairly open country for immigrants from the Arab and Muslim world (roughly sevenpercent of its population is Muslim), yet has also had a very difficult time integrating its immigrant populations into broader Belgium society (which is itself divided among several ethnic and linguistic groups).
Q. Does Belgiumhave the military strength or intelligence assets to deal with these threats?
A. Not really. Belgium itself has a notoriously weak and disorganized intelligence and domestic security apparatus, which is all the more stunning considering its symbolic importance to the EU and the West; its large and often marginalized Muslim populations; and direct knowledge that hundreds of its own citizens have traveled to Syria and elsewhere for jihadist training. Al Qaeda, ISIS, and really all the jihadist groups see Europe as the soft underbelly of the West, and they see Belgium as the soft underbelly of Europe. And they’re right.
Related: Professor Austin Long on Brussels, Columbia News
Q. What impact will this attack, following on the heels of the Paris attack, have on other European countries? Is all of Europe at risk?
A. 11, 2001 attacks and begin beefing up their own domestic capabilities, and,
even more importantly, intelligence sharing and law enforcement coordination across the national borders of Europe. On the pessimistic side, it will be more business as usual for Europe squabbling, buck passing, parochial nationalism, and unwillingness to make hard and often politically (and financially) difficult choices. That is, until a big enough attack occurs.
Related: Professor Brigitte L. Nacos on Brussels, Columbia News
Q. Does the apparent ease with which ISIS has infiltrated Europe suggest it can do the same in the United States?
A. Yes and no. The United States is certainly an even more important target for the militant Islamists, especially over the long term. But two things make the United States different. First, its greater distance from the current hot spots and war zones (Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria) than Europe, which makes the out and in flow of homegrown and foreign fighters easier to contain. They will continue to try to attack the United States and create a backlash against Muslim Americans; anoutcome that would not only be devastating to Muslim Americans, but to the American experiment itself.
Q. What do we have to look out for next?
A. More attacks. Many people today are asking what can we do to better secure soft targets in the West, like airports, sporting events, etc. This perhaps could have been contained with smart and aggressive policies three or four years ago;
but now it will likely be a decades long battle.