morning opinion digest

ISIS at war, France’s far right, and more

People observed a minute of silence near the Bataclan concert hall on Sunday to honor the victims of Friday’s attacks in Paris. The Bataclan was one of the sites targeted by terrorists that night.
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People observed a minute of silence near the Bataclan concert hall on Sunday to honor the victims of Friday’s attacks in Paris. The Bataclan was one of the sites targeted by terrorists that night.

Check out five opinions trending online, from security in the US to French pride and resilience.

ISIS at war: ISIS isn’t waging war on Western values like free speech, writes Peter Beinart for The Atlantic. The undeclared state is aiming terror attacks against France and the United States to attain geopolitical dominance.

“Contra [Marco] Rubio, the struggle against the Islamic State is absolutely ‘geopolitical,’ and it has everything to do with America’s ‘military assets in the Middle East.’ Women drive in Costa Rica too, but the Islamic State is unlikely to attack it, because Costa Rica is not contesting ISIS’s control of the Middle East. The United States and France are challenging that control, and as long as they are, the Islamic State will try to attack them. America’s domestic freedoms, precious as they are, don’t have much to do with it.” Read more.


French sang-froid: France must show cold-blooded, steely resolve in the face of terror, writes the editorial board of Le Monde in Paris. Worldcrunch translates.

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“For the first time in France, some of these terrorists didn’t hesitate to turn themselves into human bombs. They wanted to plunge France into panic and fear. They wanted to break France,” the editors write.

“This folly calls for only one response. To show dignity in the face of panic. To show resolution against the sowers of death. To show lucidity in the face of chaos. And as the president of the [French] republic rightly said during the night, to show sang-froid, the ‘cold blood’ of steely calm and determination in the face of terror. And above all, to again show the nation’s unity in the face of our ordeal.” Read more.

Far-right speaks out: Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s xenophobic, right-wing National Front, called for “annihilation” of Islamist radicals and rallied her base over the weekend, Dana Kennedy writes for the Daily Beast.

“One of the key questions roiling France after the attacks: Could the brassy blond daughter of a notorious politician who made his reputation on anti-immigrant rhetoric and wingnut Holocaust revisionism end up as the next president of la belle France?” Read more.


Could it happen here? Could the Paris attack happen here? While Americans are right to be vigilant, there are more security measures in place, write Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin, scholars at Dartmouth College, in an op-ed column for the New York Times.

“The slaughter in France depended on four things: easy access to Paris, European citizens happy to massacre their compatriots, a Euro-jihadist infrastructure to supply weapons, and security agencies that lacked resources to monitor the individuals involved. These are problems the United States does not have — at least not nearly to the degree that Europe does, undermining its ability to defend itself,” they write. “American policy makers have eyed Europe’s external border controls skeptically for many years: The Schengen rules, which allow for free border-crossing inside most of the European Union, have made life simple for criminals.” Read more.

Pride and resilience: Euny Hong, a journalist who worked for France 24, writes in the Los Angeles Times that she feels a mix of terror and pride in French resilience.

“What is it about the French air and water, one might well wonder, that gives rise to such extreme discontent? There is no easy answer. France has a larger Muslim population than other European countries. It colonized large swaths of the Maghreb, and relationships between former colonial subjects and former conquerors are always complicated. One problem is the feeling that belonging should be possible, but is in practice out of reach. In 2005, the Paris suburbs burned in clashes between police and locals. But now those seem like simpler times. That was rioting, not terror.” Read more.

Ellen Clegg is Editorial Page editor of The Boston Globe. To suggest a publication or topic for review, e-mail ellen.clegg@globe.com.