Outside the Box

Paris, Sharm el-Sheikh, and the Resurrection of Old Europe

November 18, 2015

Soon after the Paris attacks, I picked up the phone to talk over the situation with my friend George Friedman. George is one of the truly world-class thought leaders on geopolitics. We had an animated 20-minute conversation. I didn’t particularly like what I heard.

George thinks we face big difficulties in dealing realistically with the ISIS threat. The more I read—and the more I listen to people like George who have worked these issues for decades—the more I think that we, as a culture, need to face reality.

I asked George to distill his thoughts into a short essay I could publish in Outside the Box, and he agreed.

This is a very thought-provoking piece with a different conclusion—which is what you can always expect from George.

John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box

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Paris, Sharm el-Sheikh, and the Resurrection of Old Europe

By George Friedman

The attacks in Paris last Friday night were part of a long-term pattern of occasional terrorist attacks by jihadists on targets in Europe. In the European context, this stood out for two reasons. First, the scale of the attack was substantially larger than other attacks in recent years, both in the number of participants and the number of casualties. Second, it was…

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Simon Maughan 48114

Nov. 19, 3:55 a.m.

Fascinating insight, but on reflection it might be crediting ISIS with too much savvy. Consider the boasting on social media of the so called mastermind behind the attacks about the lax security in Europe. An unwillingness to take security seriously in France and Belgium in particular, may be behind the effectiveness of the terrorists. After all, a second attack was thwarted quickly once the authorities got their act together. Residents of the St. Denis neighbourhood where the second cell was discovered have said that “everyone knows” the drug dealers in the area travel backwards and forwards to Syria with impunity.

Consider also reports that US strikes are starting to take a toll on the oil money that ISIS needs to provide the social safety net referred to in the article. Add that the Russians are trying to drive ISIS down and out into Saudi to disrupt oil production there and lift the oil price to Russia’s benefit, and ISIS may be under a lot more pressure than this article suggests.

The attacks in Paris and on the Russian plane may thus be out of a desperate need to raise morale within ISIS held territory, rather than any carefully conceived long term game plan to create mass migration and then turn it into a weapon of race hatred.


Nov. 18, 8:39 p.m.

Why can’t we get a George Friedman to run for president of the United States?