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Cafe Society to discuss how Brussels became a spawning ground for terrorists

By Staff | Apr 8, 2016

The next Cafe Society discussion on Apr 12 will focus on “The factors that led the City of Brussels, one of the anchors of Western culture in Europe and home of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)) and the European Union, to became a source of Islamic terrorism.” There are a number of economic, social, political, and of course, religious issues which bear on this phenomenon that will be discussed. These informal weekly discussions are held from 08:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center each Tuesday morning. Pre-registration is not required and there are no fees or charges.

Cafe facilitator Mike Austin said, “It is hard to believe that little Belgium, long the acknowledged victim of military aggression in Europe, whose defense ultimately led to two World Wars, has now become a source of threats to peace and security. During the long Cold War period Belgium was always one of the stalwarts making her contributions to NATO forces, providing important infrastructure and operational facilities and ensuring a secure environment suitable for hosting the political capital of Europe and the NATO military alliance. Governance of this small, comparatively new nation plagued by linguistic and cultural differences and down drafts in the globalized economy has never been easy. They always managed to “muddle through” even surviving without a national government for over a year. But a combination of deteriorating social and economic conditions, many of her own making, and inept handling of security issues has allowed terrorists to gain a foothold and create permissive and protective enclaves in several communes. The repercussions will be severe since Belgium is highly dependent on international trade and tourism and must bolster security arrangements to keep open the vital transportation networks that feed its economy and that of Western Europe. They have a serious obligation to provide adequate security as host nation for the international entities that operate there. This includes unencumbered access for the thousands of foreign nationals that conduct business in Belgium.”

Austin continued, “More important than Belgium’s present circumstance is the need to derive critical “lessons learned” applicable to our own policies and procedures here in the U.S. These include such things as dealing with our own intractable immigration issues, a growing under-class of disillusioned people who no longer share the same cultural mores, and pervasive cynicism fed by our anguishing national presidential campaign. It would be time well spent to give some thought to how we might avoid making the same mistakes that now plague Belgium.”

If you have suggestions for future Cafe Society topics or want more information about the Cafe Society program contact Mike Austin at (304) 876-0598 or michael.austin@frontiernet.net.