Outside In

Immediately following the jihadist bombings in Paris, President François Hollande announced that he was declaring a three-month national state of emergency, closing the French borders, and treating the attacks as “an act of war.”  Two nights later French planes began attacking ISIS in Syria, and two days after that Hollande and Vladimir Putin agreed to coordinate their air attacks.  Meanwhile, the French government was ferreting out some of the perpetrators in Belgium and “intensifying” its domestic surveillance.

Then again, France has been intermittently bombing Syria for months already, and the government claimed to have “intensified” surveillance after the murders at Charlie Hebdo in January.  With what results?  Like President Obama, Hollande promises victory from a somewhat heightened application of an already failed strategy.

It is always the impulse of Western politicians, when they are compelled by events to respond, after delays, to crises related to migration and terrorism, to deal with what they call the “origins” of the problem—to try to cope with it from a distance—and then, when the attempt fails, to move reluctantly toward measures closer to home, working from the outside in, as it were.  The far more sensible (and one would think obvious) approach is to work from the inside out, “inside” being...

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