Essays on American politics and foreign policy

By Donald E. Nuechterlein

Donald Nuechterlein is a political scientist and writer who resides near Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the author of numerous books on American politics and foreign policy, including

  • Defiant Superpower: The New American Hegemony, 2005
  • America Recommitted: A Superpower Assesses its Role in a Turbulent World, 2000
  • A Cold War Odyssey, 1997


Donald Nuechterlein



French President Francois Hollande denounced the terrorist attacks in Paris as an act of war and told his parliament "we are at war." Two days later French planes bombed Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold in northern Syria. It recalled George W. Bush's forceful response in Afghanistan to the 9-11 attacks in the U.S.

Hollande's declaration of war puts other European governments on notice about the need for clarity on their responses to Islamic terrorism. That's especially true for neighboring Belgium, where Islamic terrorists planned the attack on Paris. It also challenges EU members to ensure that terrorists do not gain entry into Europe along with the huge influx of refugees from Syria.

What lessons can we learn from events in Paris last week? Here are five suggestions:

Implications of the Paris attacks will play a major role during the unfolding presidential campaign. Predictably, Republicans emphasize security concerns felt by voters, while Democrats don't wish to ignore traditional humanitarian values. One hopes that the state of emergency declared in France and its massive police interventions will not be necessary here. But fear is a powerful motivator when disaster strikes, as the aftermath of 9-11 demonstrated.

File last modified on Tuesday, 10-NOV-2015 9:54 AM EST

Feedback to Author