On Thursday, a knife-wielding assailant crying “Allahu Akbar” murdered three people at the Catholic basilica of Notre Dame de Nice, beheading one woman.
The savagery in France is a reminder of the choice facing American voters at the ballot box next week. Will we stick with a president who intuited that our elites were sleepwalking toward a deadly precipice — and taking the rest of us along for the plunge? Or do we choose to return to power those same pre-Trump elites, with their dreams of a borderless world?
Europe made its choices. In 2015, right around the time then-candidate Donald Trump was shaking up the staid orthodoxies of the Republican Party, the Continent’s de facto leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, threw open the gates to more than a million newcomers from the Middle East and Africa.
I was reporting from London at the time, and I joined the migrants on the trail of misery that brought them from the western shore of Turkey, through the Greek isles and the Balkans and into Western and Northern Europe. As an Iranian immigrant myself, I wrote sympathetically about their plight.
But even then, I wondered: Could a secular Europe so out of touch with its own religious and civilizational roots absorb this many newcomers who harbored no doubts about their identity and religious convictions?
More mundanely: How come so many of them were young men, the prime demographic for jihadist radicalization? How could the Europeans be so sure they weren’t admitting terrorists, given that many of the migrants lacked papers?
Were all the newcomers really Syrians and Afghans, victims of Bashar al-Assad, ISIS and the Taliban, as they claimed? How much of this wave of migration was caused by the Middle East’s hellish wars — and how much of it was taking place simply because cheap cellphones and GPS technology had made the human-smuggling business much easier than it once had been?
Too bad the US and European media were already forming many of the habits of dogmatism and censorship that now make them so insufferably incurious. To ask these questions was to invite charges of bigotry, even for an immigrant writer; skeptics were marginalized.
Yet the terror attacks committed by the newcomers mounted, exactly as the skeptics had predicted: a knife attack in Reutlingen, Germany (committed by a Syrian asylum seeker); a truck attack at a Christmas market in Berlin (Tunisian asylum-seeker); a bombing outside a music festival (Syrian refugee); a stabbing at a train station in Marseille (Tunisian illegal immigrant); and on and on.
The prestige press often painfully contorted itself so as not to clearly identify the perpetrators of these attacks as Muslim migrants. And it wasn’t just reporters. The Obama-Biden administration mastered these games of obfuscation.
Remember Team Obama’s inane preference for substituting “violent extremism” in place of clarifying terms like “radical Islam”? Remember President Barack Obama’s bizarre insistence that the 2015 attack on a Jewish supermarket wasn’t motivated by Muslim anti-Semitism?
Worse still, remember Team Obama’s dogged insistence that ISIS was on its last legs, even as the “caliphate” kept expanding into vast swaths of Iraqi and Syrian territory? Remember how frustrating it was that our government wouldn’t call things by their proper names, wouldn’t acknowledge obvious realities about Islamism, immigration and terror?
I do. It was on the night of the Nov. 13, 2015, massacres in Paris, in which jihadists, several of them Syrian and Iraqi nationals, killed 130 innocents and wounded scores more that I became convinced Trump might just become the next president — simply because he described reality as it was, rather than as globalist elites on both sides of the Atlantic might wish.
While then-French President François Hollande vowed to accept 30,000 newcomers under the European migrant-relocation scheme, and Obama continued to sing a similar tune, Trump said, in effect, enough. And as president, he took steps to curb migration from terror-producing states — and decisively crushed ISIS.
This realism produced results for which Trump doesn’t get nearly enough credit. As Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, CEO of the security-analysis firm Valens Global, told me: “There have been fewer and less lethal mass-casualty jihadist attacks in the United States over the past four years, however one defines the term.”
The killer behind the latest attack in Nice, meanwhile, has been identified as a Tunisian migrant who came through the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Sohrab Ahmari is the op-ed editor of The Post.
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