This is where we are but does anyone know what to do about it?

Today’s New York Times tells a story which, when you read between the lines, is not news about what has just happened. It is about what is going to happen. Add it to the story of a few days ago when British security chiefs warned us that their concern is not about whether that country will be subject to another terrorist assault, but when it will happen. The result you get when you tot up this sum is that we are under siege. Alarmism? No. Just alarm.

It is all the more alarming when we seem not to have the slightest notion of how to protect ourselves from an enemy whose ruthlessness, with each new atrocity, exceeds the one which went before. At the moment all we seem to hear from our governments are expressions of horror, condemnation, and outrage in which all the superlatives have been exhausted and sound banal.

Empty platitudes of defiance and promises of ‘no surrender’ are all we get by way of coherent policy – and they’re no policy at all. Where are the leaders who are going to deal with this? Where are the ideas about how to deal with this. If they do not emerge soon we are at the eve of destruction as the Roman world was in the face of the barbarian onslaught of the 5th and 6th centuries. In the world in which we live, given the pace at which things can move now, our destruction will be fast and furious to a degree which will make progress of the fall of the Roman Empire look like a snail’s pace.

The only policy the international community seems to have in place currently is that of defeating ISIS on the ground in the Middle East. How effective those policies are remains to be seen. ISIS now, however, has clearly opened up a second and far more deadly front – a front that is not a front at all but a lethal virus. It is this strategy that has us all at sea and through which so much havoc can be wreaked that it can truly destroy us.

The Times flagged its story this morning in its daily briefing newsletter with this:

Believing he was answering a holy call, Harry Sarfo left his home in the working-class city of Bremen last year and drove for four straight days to reach the territory controlled by the Islamic State in Syria.He barely had time to settle in before members of the Islamic State’s secret service, wearing masks over their faces, came to inform him and his German friend that they no longer wanted Europeans to come to Syria. Where they were really needed was back home, to help carry out the group’s plan of waging terrorism across the globe.

“He was speaking openly about the situation, saying that they have loads of people living in European countries and waiting for commands to attack the European people,” Mr. Sarfo recounted on Monday, in an interview with The New York Times conducted in English inside the maximum-security prison near Bremen. “And that was before the Brussels attacks, before the Paris attacks.”

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In Britain today we have an example of the futile gestures which passes for policy when it was announced and reported on Channel 4 News that:

Hundreds more armed police, with handguns and semi-automatic weapons, will be put on patrol around London’s major landmarks – as the Met police chief promised to help reassure the public and deter terror attacks.

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