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Statement by Klaus Segbers on the recent Paris Attacks

Center for Global Politics Program Director Prof. Dr. Klaus Segbers speaks on the recent tragedy in Paris.

News from Nov 18, 2015

Dear students, partners, and friends of the CGP,

One is full of thoughts, but almost speechless.

But we mustn't be.

Paris, number 2. Here we go again, and fall, and fail again.

Yes, it is a war, of a new kind of war. Asymmetric and without rules.

No tanks rolling into Paris, Egypt, Lebanon or Berlin. But a growing number of people are mentally dislocated by globalization, and are trying to spread their easy mottos taken from holy scripts across more and more people and territories.

They want to scare the unbelievers and apostates, they want to scare, to terrorize, and to organize carnage among the ‘perverts’ they see in the 11th arrondissement of Paris – and far beyond. And we will not give in. We will keep going out, drinking wine, listening to music, flirting, laughing, debating. This is our style of life, and we will defend it – among other means, by insisting on our right to do exactly that.

But our civility, this same civility, I am afraid, is partly standing in the way of a more resolute defense, and of more decisive counter attacks. Maybe we cannot afford it any longer. This is a fight not with words, with arguments and superior ideas. This is about self defense, and about winning, including, and maybe, most of all now, by military means.

There is this piano player in a Paris street, playing 'imagine' over and over. That is soothing. But also it is not enough.

As Bernard Henry Levi said: As long as we are not going to send boots to the ground in Syria and Iraq (and there are good reasons for not doing so), we will experience blood on the ground of Paris, and other places. So we have to take difficult steps here.

This is not about Assad now, or Putin, or similar disgusting autocrats. Or Erdogan’s aversion toward the Kurds. This is also not about refugees. This is about defeating Daesh – by our explicit civility (that is not going to hide anywhere), and by pure military and intelligence means.

Have we already reached the tipping point of moving beyond our aversion of getting involved there again? In Syria, Iraq, Libya, if required? Maybe not. There will be more victims. Sooner or later, we will understand:

We will not compromise on our liberal values and behavior. Whoever wants to come to our societies has to accept our general rules of living. There won’t be a right ‘not to be offended’ in our societies.

We have to improve massively transnational intelligence capabilities and external border controls in the EU.

And we have to organize a negotiation process including, for the time being, including Russia, Iran and representatives of the Assad regime. This won’t be easy, nor nice, but we have to eradicate the Daesh threat with all available means to defend our civility, and our way of living.