Europe’s Response to the Threat of Global Terror

, April 27, 2006

Vol. 5, No. 23     27 April 2006

If we trace the line between the West and the rest, Israel is on the same side as Europe, the U.S., Japan, and Australia. We defend the same values against the same enemies.

Now it is imperative to defend our values and way of life against a new threat: Islamic extremism and terrorism. The new mission of NATO should be clear: to combat jihadism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

If the Allies want to prevail collectively over the gathering threats, NATO must refocus itself on fighting terror, the major threat today. Indeed, this is an existential threat, if we bear in mind what Islamic terrorism plans for outsiders – “the crusaders and infidels” – and for Zionism, as well.

If defending our own values against the radical Islamists is the future of NATO, we must change the way the Alliance is conceived geographically and open its doors to those nations that share our values, that defend them on the ground, and that are willing to join in the fight against jihadism. Thus, NATO should invite Japan, Australia, and Israel to become full members.

Treating Israel as if it were not an integral part of the Western world is a big mistake that will affect our ability to prevail in this long war against jihadism. I think it is in our mutual interests to have Israel as a formal ally. The West cannot fight this radical tide without Israel.

The West and the Rest

Even if it is located in the Middle East, Israel is not a Middle Eastern country. It is a Western country. In order to survive, Israel has learned to think strategically. This is the time that the rest of us, particularly people from Europe, must also learn to think in strategic terms.

Israel is a Western nation in its values, heritage, and social practices, but is also an integral part of the West according to purely strategic logic. If we trace the line between the West and the rest, Israel is on the same side as Europe, the U.S., Japan, and Australia. We defend the same values against the same enemies. It’s that simple.

The threat from communism is gone, but the danger emanating from Islamic terrorism is now a clear and present threat. We have seen the rise of jihadism, and how fanatic Islamists strike time after time in our own soil.

Jose Maria Aznar

Jose Maria Aznar was Prime Minister of Spain from 1996 to 2004. Today he heads the Foundation for Social Analysis and Study (FAES) in Madrid.