Open society and its enemies

A quote in the New York Times, following today’s ISIS attacks in Belgium:

“The problems are political. They let develop violent Islamist currents. They were not disrupted because they didn’t want problems with the Muslim community.”

Bernard Squarcini, the former head of French internal intelligence, predicted in an interview here several weeks ago that “there are already the people in place.”

“There will be an even more serious attack.”

Indeed, the presumed orchestrator of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, boasted to his cousin before he was killed that “90” operatives were dormant, ready for another attack.

“We are in a situation of structural vulnerability,” Mr. Hayez said. “That’s what democracy is. It’s an open society. There will always be risk.”

Aside from rhetorically condemning the “barbarism,” as Bernie Sanders has done, what to do? Both Cruz and Trump would have us close national borders, with Cruz adding that it’s time to put an end to “progressivism.” No more tolerance. No more political correctness, to be sure.

Rewinding history may help us understand causal connections, but offer few solutions for going forward. Surely invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan did not result in “mission accomplished.” Indeed, these aggressive acts on our part no doubt contributed to resentment among more radical Muslims. Now we’re engaged in an indefinite series of actions and reactions, with disastrous outcomes.

Some among us would simply destroy the Middle East, its lands, edifices, and people. Spared destruction would be oil facilities and Israel, I suppose. Enough negotiating and diplomacy. Bring out the guns and let the chips fall where they may.

Hitler, of course, had a Final Solution for the undesirables, along with global conquest. At least one candidate expresses sympathy for such views, substituting Muslims for Jews. I should imagine that the terrorist attacks serve him well.