The world appeared to be quite under control in autumn 2013. The horror of the Syria crisis was more-or-less contained. Nevertheless, GIS has made a number of statements since November 20, 2013, warning about Europe’s defence issues, especially in view of events in the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, and the Far East. GIS also commented on the refugee crisis across the Mediterranean, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.
We highlighted Europe's defence weakness and addressed the lack of strategy and coordination in foreign and security affairs.
Since then, the world has become even more dangerous. There is outright war in eastern Ukraine and enormous tension between Europe and the Russian leadership. The situation is as bad as the worst times during the Cold War.
The Middle East and North Africa have become more radical at the same time. A brutal and aggressive jihadist group calling itself the Islamic State (IS), under the pretext of the Caliphate has started building a state with the intention of controlling the Arab-Islamic world, as made clear in the GIS statement of August 5 .This modern, self-appointed ‘Caliphate’, has no tolerance of other beliefs especially Christians and others like the Yazidi minority. It is a complete contrast to the real Caliphs of the 8th and 9th century which furthered science and were tolerant to minorities.
America has finally decided to support the fight against the IS wave of slaughter in Iraq. Europe faces the threat of war in Ukraine and an even stronger threat from across the Mediterranean.
Europe is now facing serious problems:
- There is insufficient defensive capacity to support a credible foreign policy and deterrence towards Russia, and the Middle East and North Africa. This is exacerbated by our politicians, and wide sections of the population, who are unprepared to accept the reality of this threat beyond the minor fear of terrorism. Worse still, nobody has the courage to speak out for the need for build up our defence.
- There is no consistent foreign policy vis-a-vis Russia.
- There is no European policy on addressing the issue of refugees. Numbers of refugees have been rising exponentially across the Mediterranean since the beginning of this year.
What is still widely ignored is that these radical developments in the Arab world have huge appeal beyond the Middle East and North Africa. An ever-increasing number of young Europeans are joining the IS group of terrorists.
So what is their motivation? Our societies have failed to convince this young generation - which includes young people who are second and third generation immigrants - of the values we in the West hold dear. This is a major issue which we must address.
Lampedusa refugees – a problem for all Europe