Editors Note: The terror attacks in Brussels underline the need for a lasting solution to ISIS, the Syrian civil war, and the refugee crisis. Well-intentioned but generally incompetent, and often feckless, European leadership has led to terrible over-corrections by the European electorate. The United States appears on the cusp of making a similar error. This is unnecessary. Our political rhetoric needs to move beyond unnecessary binaries pitting compassion and security against each other. The next leader of the free world needs to be committed to advance policies that bring both values, compassion and security, together again.
In the wake of the largest refugee-crisis since the end of World War II, political parties in more than a dozen nations have moved anti-Islam and anti-immigrant sentiment from the streets and into government. Against the backdrop of economic recession, an ongoing debt crisis, and entrenched unemployment, a mounting Islamist threat — punctuated by the terrorist attacks in Paris — has allowed the right-wing to leverage the frustration and increasing paranoia of the population. While some of the extremists’ growing support is surely fueled by simple racism, much more is built on legitimate anxieties about security — both physical and cultural.
The primary responsibility of a governing sovereign is to preserve the peace, justice and order of the political community. When the government fails at its most basic duty, then justifiably angry and fearful citizens will seek to procure those things for themselves, by their own hands or through a stronger proxy…