It seems pointless to stick to a normal schedule in the wake of such madness. Those of us who were in Manhattan on a September morn fourteen years ago know too well the shock, sadness and anger Paris is experiencing.
Paris is the world city I know best after New York. I’ve rambled all over its streets, ridden the Metro to points more distant, relaxed in its cafes and ambience. It is difficult to remember that the City of Light has often seen, as it is seeing now, war.
War is a harsh word, one Mssr. Hollande, I am sure, chose carefully. But it is the apt word. The grand strategists, the students of von Claussewitz and von Metternich, like to say war is diplomacy by other means. But what if diplomacy is not the desired end?
Because before there was grand strategy there was harsh reality: war imposes a cost in blood and treasure so high that at some point it forces a change. That is the goal that terror seeks, expending lives to take lives in the quest of who knows what end. The logic of war–the lesson of the century just past–is that halfway measures don’t even achieve halfway results.
I fear for the children, my own included. The world seems unlikely to cooperate in delivering security. I hope for the best but the madness of this moment seems too deep.
For now, I mourn with Paris.