Harvard lecturer worries in Slate that Berlin jihad attack will “give a big boost to the far-right”

on Dec 21, 2016 at 10:50 AM in Politics, Society, Migration, Europe

Yascha Mounk is a lecturer on government at Harvard University and a fellow in the political reform program at the Soros-funded New America foundation. He writes:

And the murder at Berlin’s Christmas market is very likely to incite hatred against innocent immigrants and refugees.

Has the Left really sunk this low? Yes, the Left has really sunk this low. Do they really mean to pursue their immigration and globalization initiative in spite of how high the body count rises? Yes, they do. Do they care in the slightest degree about the Islamic jihad threat and the innocent lives jihadis take? No, they do not. They would rather see Europeans and North Americans murdered by jihadis than reconsider their globalization project.

“A Dangerous Day for Democracy,” by Yascha Mounk, Slate, December 20, 2016:

…Monday began with the news that a Turkish policeman had gunned down the Russian ambassador at a gallery opening in the heart of Ankara, apparently to protest the cynical destruction of Aleppo, Syria. Thankfully, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan have improved their hostile relationship over the course of the past year, which makes it less likely that Russia will blame the Turkish government for the ambassador’s death. And yet the (admittedly imperfect) parallels to 1914, when the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at the hands of a Yugoslav nationalist precipitated World War I, were unnerving . The need for de-escalation was clear, which quickly gave rise to dark jokes about keeping the escalator-in-chief, Donald Trump, off Twitter for as long as possible.

The jokes hit home. How comforting it has been, over these past eight years, to know that the inhabitant of the White House is a man of great decency and extraordinary composure, someone who can be counted upon to weigh his steps and their consequences with care and intelligence. And how terrifying it is to think that, a month from today, the inhabitant of the White House will be a man who acts rashly and impulsively, with a self-assurance borne of ignorance and a braggadocio that expresses itself in an incessant form of self-assertion that pays little heed to its own consequences….

We live in a time at which one tragedy begets another. The senseless slaughter in Aleppo helped to inspire a dangerous death in Ankara. And the murder at Berlin’s Christmas market is very likely to incite hatred against innocent immigrants and refugees. It will also give a big boost to the far-right Alternative for Germany, which has, according to recent polls, in any case been on course to become the country’s third biggest party at next year’s elections. And so the different horrors of our age form an unholy alliance: Every terrorist attack increases the power of the populists. As their power grows and minority groups are openly discriminated against, more immigrants become susceptible to the temptations of martyrdom.

I don’t know what consequences the violence in Berlin or Ankara will have. I don’t know whether we will eventually manage to contain the twin waves of populism and terrorism. I don’t know whether it is wiser to be optimistic or pessimistic. None of us do….


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