In response to the massacres on the streets of Paris, those warmongering political opportunists known for supporting the underlying causes of this horrendous attack were quick off the line to make their views known. The fascist neoconservative Douglas Murray, called for a “proper response” which is “to have the same response at home as we do abroad”:
“So far we have pretended we can tackle these people only by engaging them on foreign battlefields. And by having a half-hearted talk about ‘radicalisation’ here at home. That is quite wrong.”
Given Murray’s colourful views about Muslims, and is neocon analysis of Islam (“Islam is not a peaceful religion. No religion is, but Islam is especially not”), the above sounds incredibly like a call for a “Final Solution” for Muslims. Are we to start using drone strikes inside Britain like we do abroad? We seem to have become experts at extrajudicial assassinations, and Murray is quite warm to the concept and realities too.
“They were killed and injured by brutal, callous murderers who want to destroy everything our two countries stand for: peace, tolerance, liberty.”
The response, like Tony Blair’s response, is potentially a global one:
“We will not let them. We will redouble our efforts to wipe out this poisonous, extremist ideology and, together with the French and our allies around the world, stand up for all we believe in.”
At this point, it is worth understanding the current state of affairs. The neoconservative outlook has ensured the focus remains on ideology. In Britain, the regulation of thought is unprecedentedly Orwellian; despite the majority of experts pointing away from this conception of counter-terror response, the solution to this problem continues down a failed path. It is as though Cameron and his neocon hawks don’t actually want this to stop.
In France, the counter-terror response to the Charlie Hebdo killings, and the June attacks was to tighten security and erode civil liberties despite admitting that there failings in exercising existing powers. In January, France reversed its defence cuts, bolstered the ranks of the intelligence community and fortified its counter-radicalisation measures. In May, the French parliament approved surveillance powers which allowed intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails without seeking permission from a judge, place cameras and recording devices in private homes, “vacuuming metadata” and initiate mass cyber surveillance programmes. The country was already on heightened alert.
Despite all the muscular illiberalism on display, and the accelerated pervasion of structural Muslim minority discrimination, it did not prevent the most recent attacks. The one variable which has thus far remained largely ignored in media analysis, or in Murray’s and Cameron’s case simply brushed under the carpet, is France’s foreign policy.
In late September, it was reported that six warplanes had attacked ISIS inside Syria, as President Francois Hollande spoke of a “growing” national security threat. It seems he was referring to the fuel he added by jumping into the Syrian civil war. Hollande vowed further strikes.
“Another survivor remembered one of the attackers telling the crowd they were about to pay for French airstrikes in Syria.”
In other words, their attack was a direct consequence of France’s foreign policy. Yet for Cameron and Murray, it was because they want to “destroy everything we believe in”.
The notion is not alien to Britain nor even the neocons; last September, when Cameron was to set to vote over the strikes in Iraq, Boris was urging London to “remain vigilant”. Cameron himself warned “that Isis had declared war on Britain and the West as he set out the case for air strikes”.
With respect to the Parisian attacks, in the simplest terms it’s cause and effect. In complicated terms it’s the inevitable outcome of centuries of colonialism, decades of structural discrimination and neoconservative warring catering for neoliberal appetites garbed in the rubric of liberalism, rights and democracy.
Avatars of France’s flag are on social media, multibillion dollar companies are demonstrating “solidarity” with France, and vigils are being held to remember the fallen. Whilst the point about remembering other victims of state terrorism can be laboured, it is within the foreign policy context I wish to make my point. Tony Blair lied to draw us into a war which has produced the likes of ISIS. No government has come out to condemn the multi-state terrorism resulting from Blair’s lie spanning over a decade and which has killed over a million Muslims. There are no vigils for this slow and painful genocide. Aside from the racism that this selective outrage reveals, one reason for this lies in the prevailing attitude which the neocons have fomented through political discourses. Skirting foreign policy has permitted such belligerent warring to continue, increasing the threat to the attacking nation, whilst continuously citing the attack as an attack upon “our” beliefs and values with the opposition ideology as the cause. This allows for the war to perpetuate and spread. For neocons, this dire reality is the perfect scenario for them to exercise their “statecraft”. They feed off tragedies.
Until neoconservatism is rooted out from the political landscape and drastic changes to foreign policy are instituted, this cycle of violence will continue. It is a considerable factor which can no longer be ignored.