JJ Surbeck Discusses The Paris Terror Attacks
Barry Nussbaum: Welcome back to America Trends being broadcast from sunny Southern California into 32 million homes and counting. I’m Barry Nussbaum filling in tonight for Dr. Gina Who’ll be back shortly. Joining us tonight is J.J. Surbeck, born in the former Belgian Congo, educated in Geneva Switzerland where he received a law degree from the University of Geneva with a specialization in international law. J.J. worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the creator of the Geneva Conventions for 16 years before moving to the United States and becoming an American citizen. For the past seven years He’s been the executive director of an educational nonprofit called Team training and education about the Middle East. J.J. welcome. Great to see you again. What do you make of this horror in Paris?
J.J. Surbeck: What is surprising and is that so many people were surprised and shocked. It was coming. It was announced ISIS and most of the fundamentalist movement made no bones about it. So, it’s kind of interesting that after Charlie Hebdo the massacre over there, everything went sort of back to normal.
Barry Nussbaum: Right. We forgot about it already.
J.J. Surbeck: We forgot about it in no time. And so, it shouldn’t have been a surprise at all. It was bound to happen.
Barry Nussbaum: So now that it’s happened on a much bigger scale you know the most obvious question is how could this have happened. What’s behind a horror of this magnitude in the 21st century in Paris of all places.
J.J. Surbeck: Absolutely. The fundamental fact that I think people really need to understand and even to this day after all these attacks by Muslim fanatics all over the world a lot of people still do not understand one simple thing. They are not like us. They have a different mindset. They have a different background. They have different rules and that is not to demonize them but just to acknowledge the facts. You cannot deal with someone you do not negotiate a contract with someone who plays by completely different rules.
Barry Nussbaum: Right.
J.J. Surbeck: And that is basically what we are dealing with. So, you have people who deal with us in many ways but in fact are not dealing with us in the way we assume they will. So even in Israel where they should know better you still have a portion of a population that believe that it is possible to make peace with the Palestinians because they take the view that the Palestinians are like them. We are making the same mistakes when you’re talking about the fanatics. So, we have to really understand that you have to start from scratch and understand where they’re coming from. And it’s not where we are coming from. Our values are not their values. That’s the most important factor.
Barry Nussbaum: If you’re right and I think you are, I’ve read your writings for a very long time and I advise our viewers to check him out. He’s a prolific writer on this subject. It sounds like you don’t have a lot of hope for a peaceful hug and a high five and a kumbaya song between us and them.
J.J. Surbeck: Not right away. It is going to take a long time. I think we really need to reassess how we are handling our welcoming. And this is the mistake that the West has been doing. Open the doors have them you know come here for a better life which is nice but with values that do not match ours at all. And inevitably at one point there is a conflict. And when the conflict explodes literally no pun intended it becomes very violent. And that is what we’re seeing in Europe and it could happen here too.
Barry Nussbaum: Well let’s talk about that. Our poll question tonight J.J. is could it happen here. ISIS released a video today absolutely guaranteeing that a target next on their list is going to be Washington D.C. Are they here already? Could it happen?
J.J. Surbeck: They are here already. The FBI will tell you that. But what is really scary especially in light of this new decision by the president of bringing in Syrian refugees quote unquote it is very worrisome because the FBI itself admitted that they cannot monitor them all. So, I’ve had discussions with people, and you know they tell me oh no don’t worry about it because we’re vetting them, we have the structures in place we can do it. No. The FBI says it’s impossible. We’re completely outmanned and outgunned. So, in order to stop this first and foremost we have to stop importing them as they are. You don’t want to let go of your compassion. I think it’s really important. That’s a fundamental American value but compassion leading to suicide makes no sense.
Barry Nussbaum: Right.
J.J. Surbeck: And this is what we’re dealing with.
Barry Nussbaum: So are you saying it could happen here it will happen here.
J.J. Surbeck: Most likely. Absolutely.
Barry Nussbaum: Of a scale that we just saw in Paris.
J.J. Surbeck: Oh yeah. And if not if not worse I think I’ve been predicting for years that there would be blood in the streets in Europe for years and finally it happened. And unfortunately, I was correct and that’s going to happen here too. So, we have to really do everything we can to prevent that from happening. But your previous guest Michael Dancy was saying that Europe is full of soft targets. We are too. Actually, we have a large number of very soft.
Barry Nussbaum: We’re a very open free society. Anyone can go anywhere it’s the of freedom of travel and association. So, it sounds to me like the one solution J.J. you’re talking about is stop the insanity of twenty thousand people coming in with absolutely no background checks not even knowing who they are. But notwithstanding that, there’s a hell of a lot of those guys here on American soil.
J.J. Surbeck: Right.
Barry Nussbaum: What do we do to change our lifestyle or our preventative measures, so we don’t have a Paris on the streets of Washington D.C.?
J.J. Surbeck: Well to put it in a simple way when you’re at war when your country is at war you drop everything, and you focus on that war. So that’s really what needs to be done. We don’t. What do we do? Oh yeah. It’s a marginal problem but I have other things to do. Have my business I have my career I have whatever I don’t want to think about it. That’s really the attitude of most Americans. And instead what we need is massive pressure from the population which I think may come after Paris to say to our leaders, people get your act together. You’re not protecting us. You’re putting us in danger as a matter of fact. If there are acts like that in the future our leaders will have the blood of Americans on their hand because of their neglect.
Barry Nussbaum: Do you feel that there is a certain culpability at the top? Let’s say if we’re not able to call it what it is in other words if Islamic fundamentalism is manifest as terrorism and we call it well an act of a madman or a murderous rampage or a violent crime then we’re not putting it in the category perhaps where it really belongs. Which is a war that has started that we’re not recognizing as a war.
J.J. Surbeck: It is elementary. You cannot solve a problem that you have not identified. I mean you’re groping in the dark. Oh yeah. We’re dealing with people, but we don’t really know who they are and what they want. Oh, come on. And that starts at the very top. The problem is actually at the very top the president refuses to use the word Muslim. And unfortunately, all of these people are Muslim. That does not mean that all Muslims are bad apples. They’re just a very few very active very dangerous bad apples that actually tar the Muslim community and the Muslim community needs to wake up and realize that they are being put in it and maybe even in danger because of these guys. They really have to distance themselves from the fanatics. And you don’t see much of that. And that is really problematic.
Barry Nussbaum: If it was the administration of President Surbeck what would you do what is your executive decree to change the landscape to change the attitude of the American people in the lead us into a safer environment? Real quick to wrap it up.
J.J. Surbeck: Well stop the immigration right now. And until we have really sorted out who is willing to live by American values and standards and then we’ll discuss. Other than that. Absolutely do everything militarily possible to eliminate ISIS because they are the source of the problem.
Barry Nussbaum: Got it. JJ., thanks so much for being with us. Really insightful some really important stuff for us to think about.