LONDON – I traveled to Paris from London last Monday. It takes two and a half hours by train. We are neighbors, our histories and populations intertwined. My ten-year-old grand-daughter will go there next week with her parents as a birthday treat. She loves everything she has learned about Paris. So, like other Londoners, and citizens of free societies everywhere, she was horrified by the recent atrocities there. I suppose, she said, it could have happened here.
So it could – just as it did in 2005, and just as it could again in Madrid, or in Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, or any other European city. When President François Hollande announced that we are at war with the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), the “we” included you and me. France’s fight is Britain’s fight and Europe’s fight. It involves all of us.
Globalization does not mean only mangoes at the supermarket in mid-winter, easy air travel, and the Internet. Terror and barbarity have been globalized, too. Men and women can be taught, trained, and armed thousands of miles away and sent to our neighborhoods to kill and maim. International terror requires an international response.
But that response must include dialogue and diplomacy. We must not be driven by horror and fear into forgetting our civic values. That is precisely what the terrorists want. We must not demonize all Muslims. We must not burn interfaith bridges. We must not abandon the core tenets of European civilization, including the obligation to shelter refugees from evil. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s instinctive reaction to the influx should still be applauded, not condemned.