Counterterrorism officials in France, Germany, Britain, and the United States have given warnings this week about the rising threat of attacks by Al Qaeda and its affiliates, especially in Europe. Are our politicians listening? Are you concerned?
"Al Qaeda and its allies are taking aim at Europe, according to US and Western intelligence officials, who say there are indications a terrorist plot is in the offing" writes the Washington Times. (HT: ACUS)
While FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that Al Qaeda continues to be "committed to high-profile attacks directed at the West," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stressed the increasing threat of smaller-scale attacks, which require less planning and fewer pre-operational steps and therefore are more difficult to detect before they occur.
Continue reading "Terrorism: Should Europe and the US Go to Red Alert?"
Jon Stewart is getting better and better. He is going to stage a rally in Washington DC against extremists on both sides of the political spectrum. And Stephen Colbert wants to keep fear alive. Very funny video below, after about the first minute of blabla.
Dan Drezner divides Secretary Clinton's major foreign policy speech into "the good, the bad, and the BS portions." (I am wondering if he follows Harry Frankfurt's definition of bullshit) And Clinton's statements on Europe fall into the BS portion:
The whole section on strengthening bilateral and multilateral ties to Europe almost caused me to lose my cornflakes. I mean, c'mon. Is forcing the Europeans to cut down their number of seats in the IMF an example of strengthening alliances? I see the intrinsic merit in occasionally dissing the Europeans, but don't tell me that anything transatlantic has been "strengthened" over the past 18 months.
Good question! What has been strengthened in transatlantic affairs over the last 18 months?
The German Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Trends 2010 survey just made the - cough -- totally surprising - cough -- discovery that Obama's popularity has not lead to converging opinions about how to address several global challenges. Apparently, it takes more than presidential popularity to make the European kids follow the lead of the US godfather? Wow, so perhaps George W. Bush's personality was not the main reason why Europeans opposed the Iraq war. Do you think that maybe - just maybe - Europeans have different national interests and preferences. And the world affairs is not a popularity contest? Oh, I am going on a limp here.
Europeans are full of bullshit as well: According to the same survey 62% of EU respondents ("large majorities") said that "NATO should be prepared to act outside of Europe to defend members from threats to their security," while at the same time 64% of those respondents "thought that their country should either reduce or withdraw troops" from Afghanistan.
I think Europeans (everyone?) expresses more support if a request or question is phrased in broad and very abstract terms and concerns the future (NATO out of area), but when you get more specific and concrete and refer to the presence (Afghanistan), then people withdraw their support. I guess, this holds true to both big politics and personal relations...
James Joyner asks on the Atlantic Council's website: "NATO: A Fat, Bloated, Job Creation Project?"
So, the senior defense policymakers of the two most significant military players in Europe think that the tiny portions of their tiny defense budgets going to NATO is mostly wasted? Now, perhaps having spent the last three years ensconced at a pro-NATO think tank has clouded my judgment but this strikes me as A1, above-the-fold, banner headline news. At very least, it deserves a sidebar or off-lede treatment of its own. But the average news consumer would surely have stopped well short of that point in the stories, once the writers started delving into the arcana of budgeting history.
What do you think? Should this be front page news?
Moreover, should this be big news at this time of the year? "Terror Alert: Hamburg Islamist Speaks of Threat of Attacks in Germany"
German officials are investigating apparent statements by a Hamburg Islamist recently arrested by US forces in Afghanistan about attack scenarios for terror strikes in Germany and neighboring countries. Ahmad S. is one of a number of Germany-based Islamists thought to have traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2009.
The biggest Germany related story in the Huffington Post is our new and young First Lady. Seven photo stories of Bettina Wulff within three weeks. OMG. I am disappointed by the Huffington Post, but I should have known better. Oh, and don't get me started on the media brouhaha for all these professional provocateurs like Thilo Sarazzin, Geert Wilders, and Terry Jones, who are selling stuff.
ENDNOTE: I am sorry for the light blogging these days. Atlantic Review misses big transatlantic stories. You can change that. Write a guest post. Send your submission to "ar-team AT atlanticreview.org" Thanks!