What Does It All Mean?

What Does It All Mean?

What Does It All Mean?

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
July 8 2005 5:05 PM

What Does It All Mean?

Bloggers discuss the implications of yesterday's terror attacks in London and make some preliminary assessments of the G-8 summit.

What does it all mean?:One day after terror attacks in London killed at least 50 and injured at least 700, bloggers on both sides of the Atlantic are beginning to ask how the most recent violence affects the shifting landscape of the war on terror.

"The interesting question now is: Will Britain do a Spain?" asks John Derbyshire at the National Review's conservative clubhouse The Corner. "To the British, jihadism is just a nuisance—as the IRA was in the 1970s-1990s ... and, come to think of it, as Hitler was in 1938. How do the British instinctively react to this kind of ... nuisance?" he asks. "They appease it."


Others take a different lesson from Munich. "If their history is any guide," proclaims American conservative James Joyner at Outside the Beltway, "the Brits will not choose the course of appeasement. They tried that once, quite briefly, and did not like the results." Most others also credit the staunch commitment of the British. "The militant Islamists miscalculated in America, they miscalculated in Australia, and now they have miscalculated in Great Britain," says Dafydd, a guest blogger at conservative Captain's Quarters. "We, Brit and American, will finish the job. There is a reason that English-speaking people have dominated the world for centuries," he hazards. "[T]here is something noble in our culture that will not allow us to give up or give in."

To many, the attacks demonstrate the flaws of President Bush's pre-emption doctrine. "Odds are we probably won't be hearing for a while the Bush mantra that the reason we're fighting them over in Iraq is so we don't have to fight them here at home," predicts putative liberal blog queen Arianna Huffington. "Not only was this flypaper theory empirically disproved by the London carnage, it directly contradicts the president's other most often used justification for the war—that we invaded to liberate the Iraqi people." (At One Hand Clapping, Donald Sensing thinks the "flypaper" critics misinterpret the Bush Doctrine.) Digby, writing at Hullabaloo, wonders what the more muscular response demanded by hawks could be.

Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt has one idea: a renewed offensive targeting Osama Bin Laden. "Failing to find the leadership of Al Qaeda cannot be tolerated," he writes at liberal TPMCafe, the spin-off of Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo. "There have been many powerful reasons not to mount a very large multinational military incursion in the region where Osama has long been located. These reasons are no longer ... sufficient to block such an incursion." TPMCafe reader Thibaud agrees that 7/7 represents a new phase in the war on terror. Pointing out that some bombs targeted Muslim neighborhoods, he argues the attacks were designed to divide moderate British Muslims from their Islamist neighbors. "As many others have pointed out," he writes, "this is now a civil war within the muslim world. Iraq was the first front in the struggle of muslim democrats vs muslim fascists and death cultists. ... Europe is now officially the second front."

Noting that each of the last five years has seen a major Islamist terror attack, liberal Political Animal Kevin Drum argues the London bombing "doesn't represent a new phase, a new tactic, or a new target for al-Qaeda. ... We know perfectly well that this is what they do, we can expect similar bombings to happen again, and we need to do everything we can to stop them. It's perfectly appropriate to discuss—loudly, passionately—what the best way to deal with al-Qaeda is," he says. "But despite the vast amount of windbaggery this attack has spawned, there's no new lesson here just because we feel closer to the British than, perhaps, we did to the Turks or Indonesians or Spaniards. The war we're fighting today is the same one we were fighting on Wednesday."


Global Voices has a compelling roundup of reactions from Muslim bloggers. Read Slate's take on the bombings. Find British reactions here, and more blog posts about the London attacks here.

That other event happening in Great Britain:The much-anticipated—but, ultimately, overshadowed—G-8 summit ended today with commitments by the constituent nations to double aid to Africa by 2010 and to collectively address climate change with talks scheduled for later in the year.

The Guardian's Newsblog reports that environmentalists are "disappointed at the failure to secure concessions from the US on climate change, anti-poverty campaigners unimpressed with the aid package, and an exasperated Mr Blair explaining that this is how politics works."At InstaPundit, libertarian law professor Glenn Reynolds points to a Los Angeles Times column that suggests foreign aid hasn't and won't solve Africa's major problem of misgovernment.

Others are as impressed with the international cooperation as with the promises made. "The ultimate clique seem to have got their act together," says Paul Robinson of Iconoplex, a blog focused entirely on the G-8 and surrounding events. "Sometimes, occasionally, the lure of not wanting to be embarrassed by your peers in a club, means you can start to say amazing things. The question is, do they plan to actually act on it? ... Ultimately, this will be hailed as a success by those who like to see forward momentum," he says. "I prefer to think of it as a failure that inspires future success."

Read more about the G-8 summit.

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