Friday, July 15, 2016

Terror Attacks in France and the Far Right

The head of France's intelligence agency, Patrick Calvar, in the wake of the Paris attacks last November, warned that his country might be on the verge of factional violence between various groups:

I think we will win against terrorism; I am, however, more concerned about the radicalisation of society and the basic movement that drives it. That’s what worries me when I talk with my European colleagues: we will have, at one time or another, to provide resources to deal with other extremist groups because confrontation is inevitable.

By "radicalization" Calvar means far-right groups. Further large scale acts of terrorism, Calvar fears, could lead to a "confrontation between the far right and the Muslim world – not the Islamists, but the Muslim world." Presumably, Calvar envisions far-right groups conducting random violence against French muslims in "retaliation" for terrorist attacks.

Calvar admits that, with the rise of Islamic terror, surveillance of far right has diminished. So the question arises: are Calvar's suppositions based on solid data, or is he merely making an educated guess?

I ask this question for two reasons. To begin with, whenever you talk about this or that group engaging in violence, you have to ask: are the members of that group, including its leaders, good at violence? Do they have experience committing violent acts (i.e., in the military or criminal gangs)? Because most people, irregardless of stated ideology, don't have any experience committing violent acts and are probably not any good at it. The other issue has to do with whether the group in question is well or ill led (i.e., whether the groups leaders are shrewd or clueless). For the radical right to engage in random acts of violence against miscellaneous Muslims in France, you would need a radical right group that is good at violence led by leaders exercising poor judgment. If the radical right group is poor at violence, they either will not have the courage to go through with the violence or they'll get themselves slaughtered. If the radical right group is well led, they won't engage in random acts of violence against miscellaneous Muslims, because such acts will only engender sympathy for Muslims, most of whom are not involved in terrorism.

The fact is, the radical right has nothing to gain from committing acts of violence against Muslims, yet everything to gain from acts of violence committed by radical Islamists. This is why the best way for the more moderate factions in society to prevent the growing influence of the far right would be to prevent and ultimately defeat radical Islam. The dilemma for the moderates is whether radical Islam can be defeated without using the rather unsavory methods advocated by the far right (i.e., deportation of Muslims).

No comments:

Post a Comment