IMMIGRATION AND TERRORISM….Why do Islamic radicals mount so many terrorist attacks in Europe and so few in the United States? After all, we’re the Great Satan, aren’t we? McClatchy reports:
Karl-Heinz Kamp, the security policy coordinator at Germany’s prestigious Konrad Adenauer research center, said it was easy to understand why.
“The U.S. has a historical advantage; America is still the land of opportunity to the whole world. The people moving there believe the American dream of social mobility,” he said. “In Europe, we’ve historically treated our immigrants as hired help, and waited for them to finish the work they arrived for and go home.”
Bob Ayers, a security and terrorism expert with London’s Chatham House, a foreign-policy research center, thinks that immigrants to the U.S. actually become Americans, giving the United States a huge advantage in avoiding homegrown al Qaida terrorists. Europeans encourage immigrants to retain their native cultures, causing them to be ostracized more readily.
I wish this could be stapled on the foreheads of Tom Tancredo and every one of his immigration-hating dittoheads in Congress. The traditional American approach to immigration is the most successful in the world. Why anyone would want to dump it in favor of a policy of nativist exclusion is beyond me. We should be borrowing the best of Europe’s policies and rejecting the worst, not the other way around.
But I guess immigration reform is yesterday’s news. So here’s another lesson from these brief paragraphs: terrorist groups have a hard time prospering unless there’s a critical mass of tolerance for their ideology in the surrounding population. In Europe, that critical mass exists — though only barely. In the United States it doesn’t, and terrorist attacks are rare.
In the long run, reducing the tolerance for al-Qaeda and likeminded jihadist groups in the Middle East is the only way we’ll ever permanently reduce the threat of Islamic terrorism. This — not military action — should be the single most important guiding principle of our foreign policy. Maybe starting in January 2009 it will be.