The Worldwide Domino Effect of the French Attacks

The series of coordinated attacks by ISIS in Paris may not even be over, but they may have already set into motion a series of events that may shape the globe for years to come in ways that we cannot even predict at the moment.

Lost in much of the media coverage of the attacks in France is the fact that they occurred mere weeks before France’s national regional council elections, which serve as a rough comparison to our off-year elections. Before these attacks even occurred, France’s far-right National Front party was poised to take somewhere between one and three regions – an unprecedented level of power for a party that was long sullied by its association with Jean Marie Le Pen. National Front is now led by Le Pen’s daughter Marine, who has purged the party of its anti-Semites and made it respectable; in fact, Marine Le Pen is currently leading in the polling for France’s next Presidential elections (to be held in 2017).

Hollande, meanwhile, has been in deep doo doo polling-wise for over a year, with approval ratings that hit a stunning 13 per cent earlier this year. Hollande has rebounded somewhat as the year has gone on, but he still polls a distant third behind Le Pen and Sarkozy. France has a Presidential primary that is roughly similar to Louisiana’s “jungle primary” system, and it has looked for some time like the final round would be between the conservative Sarkozy and the even more conservative Le Pen, with liberals and Hollande supporters throwing the win to Sarkozy in the final round.

The impact of Friday’s attacks, however, can only bolster Le Pen’s hand in France, as Hollande, for all his bluster, is giving the clear impression of a man in the throes of political panic. Hollande needs Sarkozy’s party to accomplish literally anything during the course of the next year, and the early mutterings from Les Républicains indicates that the Paris attacks may be pushing them even farther towards the Le Pen view of the world:

But that was last month — an eternity in politics, especially given events over the last few days. Hollande’s speech on Monday received a mixed responsefrom prominent members of Les Républicains, with several muttering, “Better late than never,” while others insisted that Hollande’s proposals were “too little, too late.” Similarly, Marine Le Pen’s response was “Oui, mais…” (“Yes, but….”) While she applauded several “welcome changes” in Hollande’s speech, she also insisted these proposals were weakened by enormous gaps, most notably Hollande’s refusal to address the question of France’s borders and announce that France was now engaged in a war “against Islamism.”

This latter part may be gaining even more resonance in France than it is in the United States, where the Democrats were widely panned for not mentioning Islam, Radical Islam, or Islamists even once in their debates that were held the day after the Paris attacks. Americans tend to hate on the French for how habitually far to the left they are in many of their attitudes, but they have been living with a much more substantial radical Islamic minority that has been in a state of low-level riot for years, and an increasing number of them have reached the point of having Had It with the Muslims.

One proposal which is gaining steam in France in particular is the removal of France from the Schengen Zone which would for all purposes end the zone itself, which would place additional strain on the existence of the EU as it is currently constituted.

The French attacks have also sent political waves throughout the member countries of the EU, which have (with some exceptions) been lurching rightward for the last couple of years. Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the attacks have cast yet more discredit on Labour in the UK  as a party that cannot be trusted to confront terrorism. Conservatives also recently scored a decisive victory in Poland and throughout Europe, even where mainline conservative parties have not won elections, far right fringe anti-immigration parties, who regularly feature rhetoric that would make Donald Trump blush, have been growing in strength and credibility.

Of course, the longer these attacks go on and the more the United States is threatened, the less likely it becomes that the Democrats (who seem set on nominating either Obama’s failed Secretary of State or alternately a guy who thinks carbon emissions are more dangerous than ISIS) will have a chance to win a general election against anyone not named Donald Trump.

Whether ISIS has intended this or not, it is likely that their actions over the last couple months, focused with these attacks in Paris, they have likely changed the political face of the entire Western world towards politicians who will make it much more difficult to move freely and who will be much more inclined to take military action against their home bases. ISIS may be deluded into believing they can win such a fight, but the likelihood is that they will have to eventually be forced underground until Western voters forget their menace and give liberals another chance for their effete brand of governance.