The West of which we speak is defined by the values of liberal democracy,
individual freedom, human rights, tolerance and equality under the rule of law.
This book explores how Islamist terror and Russian aggression as companion
threats to the West when terrorists target Russia as well as the United States
and its allies. The threats posed by Islamist terror and Russian aggression
present themselves in very different ways. In the time of transatlantic traumas,
the Islamist terrorist threat and the Russian threat have worked diligently and
with some success. The book examines the hatred of Islamists towards Western
democracies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union for
their involvement in the Middle East politics for several decades. There is no
single explanation for the rising popularity of illiberalism in the Western
democracies; a combination of factors has produced a general sense of malaise.
The book discusses the sources of discontent prevailing in the Western
countries, and looks at the rise of Trumpism, Turkey and its Western values as
well as the domestic tensions between Turkey's political parties. It
suggests a radical centrist populist Western strategy could be applied to deal
with the threats and challenges, reinvigorating the Western system. The book
also touches upon suggestions relating to illiberalism in Europe, Turkey's
drift away from the West, and the Brexit referendum.
threat has appeared. As author Thomas Ricks has recently observed, in the 1930s “The end of the Western way of life, and especially the death of liberal democracy, was a common theme in cultural life.” 3 And we all know what came next.
The transatlantic traumas of 2016–17 have once again put the West in jeopardy. The combination of external threats from Russia, disruptive radical Islamistterror and internal weaknesses in Western social, economic and political systems has formed a perfect storm. That storm endangers not only the security of Western democracies but
As President I wanted to share with Russia … which I have the right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline safety … plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.” 1
Donald J. Trump, after sharing highly classified intelligence with the Russian Foreign Minister and Moscow’s Ambassador to the United States
How can we see Islamistterror and Russian aggression as companion threats to the West when terrorists target Russia as well as the United States and its allies? Isn’t this why President Trump has argued for
shunted aside by a realist aversion to the project of ‘nation-building’. Antisemitism has continued to rise in Europe, symbolised most grotesquely by the Islamistterror attacks against institutions and people belonging to a community, the European Jews, that makes just 10 per cent of the global Jewish population of 15 million. In the democratic world, classically liberal approaches to government have been seriously challenged by protectionist and nativist forces on both sides of the Atlantic.
On the level of emotion, that perhaps explains why the loss of Norman Geras
first, its political outcome can only be regarded as
minimally successful in strategic terms, leaving behind an Afghanistan
that barely coped with renewed civil war and again became a haven for
Islamistterror groups. Finally, the western world may have been glad to
see the end of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, but none of its immediate
strategic objectives were well served by the operation. The whole
scorecard indicates that a generally favourable picture of British
military performance did not translate naturally into
TEXT000022911670; accessed 28 June 2017.
3 In 2018, there were three further notable Islamistterror attacks in Carcassonne and
Trèbes, Paris, and Strasbourg.
4 Loi du 9 décembre 1905 concernant la séparation des Eglises et de l’État. Available at
20080306; accessed 20 June 2019.
5 In the UK, whilst UKIP has lost much of its momentum since the 2016 Brexit referendum, it is arguable that its discourse has impacted political, public and media
debates about immigration and national
increasing atrocities which eventually claimed up to two hundred thousand
lives (see Chapter 7 ). Among the targets of Islamistterror groups were performers championing Berber identity: the poet Tahar
Djaout was killed in 1993, the singer Lounès Matoub in 1994. The
filming of all three of our case study films in Kabylia proved problematic
and hazardous. Work on Machaho , for instance, was delayed when in
and state counter-terror) and the white light of the dying writers, who
‘flicker out, like lamps’ (Djebar 2000 : 131). Djebar repeatedly compares
Algeria to a place of ‘shadow and darkness’, a torture chamber
of ‘sticky darkness’, a ‘dark kingdom’ where
‘half of the land’ has been seized by ‘hideous
shadows’, plunging the country into ‘an Algerian night’
that can no longer be dismissed as
victims of the 1990s conflict: women. When Fifiis kidnapped and
then killed by a client who happens to be a member of the security service,
her death stands as a symbol of the fate of thousands of women in Algeria
during the black decade (primarily, it must be said, at the hands of
Islamistterror groups such as the GIA – see Chapter
7 ). The threat of fundamentalism against women’s bodies is
expressed through Papicha’s fear of
credibility of the EU in this area.
However, what emerged from a more rigorous and comprehensive assessment
of official results and reports on both terrorist incidents and perceptions of security on the part of the now twenty-seven member states casts doubt on the official labelling of terrorism as a ‘matter for common interest’ for all member states,
beyond the rhetorical level of solidarity and support. For both traditional secular
terrorist groups and the wider Islamistterror threat – with all the associated baggage regarding its global nature – the results provided