The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Power and weakness
The psychology of weakness is easy enough to understand. A man armed only with a knife may decide that a bear prowling the forest is a tolerable danger, inasmuch as the alternative - hunting the bear armed only with a knife - is actually riskier than lying low and hoping the bear never attacks. The same man armed with a rifle, however, will likely make a different calculation of what constitutes a tolerable risk. Why should he risk being mauled to death if he doesn't need to?
The quote above explains the difference in foreign policy approaches between Europe and the US (link obtained from USS Clueless).
When faced with the catastrophe of Madrid - Spain's 9/11 - the Europeans are buckling under and calling in squads of diplomats to talk it out. Among other things, they will attempt to show how different they are than the Americans in combatting terrorism. More flexible. Less good vs. evil. More gray areas - recognizing the Palestinian bombers as resistance fighters, for example.
They hope this will make the Muslim nutballs think less of them, and pass over the continent when fighting Americans.
It won't work.
The terrorists aren't interested in negotiations, particularly not with impotent European diplomats. For them, there is no middle ground between friend or foe in this war. They will demand more the Europeans, until the Europeans can give in no longer.
The Spanish - by giving in to the terrorists this time - may have bought themselves a temporary respite from attacks.
But the terrorists will return and their future demands will be a lot more unacceptable.
European reliance on diplomacy is futile because European diplomacy doesn't work. European diplomats have no "option B," no military power to enforce anything that they manage to get down on paper.
And the terrorists are larval dictators, with even less guilt about breaking promises than Hitler had.
Didn't these people learn anything from Neville Chamberlain?