Europe Must Adapt to a Dangerous World
BRUSSELS: The terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22, following those in Paris last November, mark a turning point in the modern history of Europe. The European Union had already been weakened by a perfect storm of crises – the hemorrhaging of the eurozone, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Biblical tide of Middle Eastern refugees and the growing threat of “Brexit.” A terrorist sanctuary in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels, the very heart of Europe, only underlines the grim reality that the European Union must adapt to new forces transforming global politics or risk the fate of previous imperial experiments to unite the continent, all of which ended in failure.
Critics go too far when they call Belgium the Afghanistan of Europe, though both Belgian and European authorities underestimated the dangers posed by what the BBC calls “gangster jihadists” – criminal young men radicalized by the war in Syria who used Brussels, where one quarter of the population is Muslim, as a base of operations for a string of attacks in Europe.
More broadly, it appears that leaders intent on building Europe into a “post-modern” superpower have their priorities wrong – a fundamental shift to make Europe secure and geopolitically competitive is essential to sustain the viability of the European Union.
Photo Credit: Nicolas Maeterlinck