It’s a start

Interesting to see the New York Times run an opinion piece written by the leader of France’s Front National, Marine LePen:

These mistakes must also be called by their names. I will mention only three, but they are of crucial importance.

First, the dogma of the free movement of peoples and goods is so firmly entrenched among the leaders of the European Union that the very idea of border checks is deemed to be heretical. And yet, every year tons of weapons from the Balkans enter French territory unhindered and hundreds of jihadists move freely around Europe. Small surprise then that Amedy Coulibaly’s machine gun came through Belgium, as the Walloon media have reported, or that his partner Hayat Boumeddiene fled to Syria under the nose of law enforcement.

Second, the massive waves of immigration, both legal and clandestine, our country has experienced for decades have prevented the implementation of a proper assimilation policy. As Hugues Lagrange, a sociologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research (C.N.R.S.), has argued, culture has a major influence on the way immigrants relate to French society and its values, on issues such as the status of women and the separation of state and religious authority.

Without a policy restricting immigration, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to fight against communalism and the rise of ways of life at odds with laïcité, France’s distinctive form of secularism, and other laws and values of the French Republic. An additional burden is mass unemployment, which is itself exacerbated by immigration.

Third, French foreign policy has wandered between Scylla and Charybdis in the last few years. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s intervention in Libya, President François Hollande’s support for some Syrian fundamentalists, alliances formed with rentier states that finance jihadist fighters, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia — all are mistakes that have plunged France into serious geopolitical incoherence from which it is struggling to extricate itself. Incidentally, Gerd Müller, Germany’s federal minister of economic cooperation and development, deserves praise for having the clear-sightedness, like the Front National, of accusing Qatar of supporting jihadists in Iraq.

It would appear that events in Paris have so frightened the editors of the New York Times that they’re actually willing to countenance the discussion of immigration and Islamization. What LePen is suggesting is far from sufficient, obviously, but it is a start.

However, the fact that both the French and German governments have banned anti-Mahometan marches this week tends to indicate that some sort of democratic upheaval will be required before any serious action is taken.