Is America Next?
No guarantees, but there’s a reason these terror attacks keep happening in EuropeBy Daniel Benjamin, Politico.com
March 22, 2016
When a bomb goes off in Europe, Americans shudder as if rocked by the blast. Whatever the geographical reality, post-industrial Old Europe—in Donald Rumsfeld’s deathless phrase—is, emotionally speaking, our nearest neighbor and closest peer. So if an explosion propels shattered glass and broken bodies in a Brussels airport, we instinctively expect it to happen here next.
We shouldn’t. While the jihadist threat is genuinely global, it is by no means equally distributed. There is, of course, no such thing as perfect security, and as we saw as recently as the San Bernardino shootings in December of last year, there are individuals in the United States who are prepared to commit violence against other Americans. But the European context underlying the attacks at Brussels Airport and the downtown Maelbeek subway station—one of alienated, underemployed and ghettoized Muslims as well as subpar security—differs dramatically from anything found in the United States.
To begin with, consider the Muslim-minority communities of North America and Europe. In the United States, Muslim communities are mostly comprised of reasonably well-off families from numerous Muslim-majority countries. Income and education levels are roughly those of average Americans—the only sizable asterisk on that statement is the impoverished refugees who have come from Somalia.
By contrast, Europe’s Muslim communities were seeded by poor peasants who came as guest workers for the burgeoning industries of the postwar period. They were expected to return home. Instead, they stayed even as their industries faded—think of Britain’s rust belt in the Midlands—and grew in numbers due to family unification and comparatively high fertility.