January 21, 2009 | Posted by Abu Muqawama - 7:00am | 42 Comments
Well, that was quite a day
. After enjoying the inauguration with several of my favorite fellow veterans -- all names to watch in the coming few years, incidentally -- I skipped the inaugural ball because a) Lady Muqawama remains in Palo Alto, doing her equations, and I didn't feel like flying solo and b) I've got work today, dammit. Serious
Speaking of serious, there is an article in the New York Times today
on the way in which the war in Gaza has played out in France, which has a large North African population. About a year ago, a prominent UK defense intellectual traveled to Washington, DC and met with an equally prominent defense intellectual turned U.S. public official. Our British friend noted that it was harder for Europeans to actively support the war in Afghanistan -- much less Iraq -- because of the way it affected tensions in the large immigrant communities of Bradford, Birmingham, and my old haunt in Walthamstow. By prosecuting unpopular wars in Muslim lands, the Brit argued, we're running the risks of stoking the flames of insurgencies at home. The American response was, basically, a disinterested shrug: "It's not our fault you lot have had limited success integrating your immigrants into society," came the response, "and 'how things will play in Leyton' should not have an effect on collective defense requirements such as NATO obligations in Afghanistan. Your domestic political issues are your
Now, you do not have to have an opinion about whether or not the concern raised by our British friend was legitimate. When the Brit related this story to me, I -- then hanging my hat in the 'Stow
-- immediately understood both sides. On the one hand, you can do like the American and essentially tell the Europeans they're in this mess because they -- unlike we suddenly morally superior, Obama-era Americans -- can't integrate immigrant communities better. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that disgruntled immigrant communities in the nations of Western Europe are finding their voice politically. (Perhaps an indication they are
growing more integrated into society.) And perhaps NATO planners should consider how that will affect both collective defense requirements and also the unpopular-in-Europe war in Afghanistan.
Thoughts from the crowd?
[I'm sure the one blogger who has not abandoned me, Londonstani, has some particularly good thoughts on this.]