There has been a lot of debate shaking up the right hand side of the political blogsphere over Vlaams Belang. Narrowly broken down, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has exposed the Neo-Nazi connections and racist sympathies of Vlaams Belang, while Atlas and Brussels Journal and other conservative blogs have argued that these don't characterize the movement and that a common front against Islam is more important.
They're right even as they're wrong.
In the United States the reaction to 9/11 created a broad opposition to Islamic terrorism and liberal apologetics and disdain for America, above and beyond the conventional Republican party or conservative movement. This "Front" has no name but it might be loosely called, a "Patriotic Movement". Many of those included in it are not politically or socially conservative, it contains a sizable proportion of liberals, atheists, Democrats, Jews, otherwise apolitical, libertarians and so forth.
There is plenty of overlap between Republicans and Conservatives and the Patriotic movement on foreign policy, there is much less on domestic and social policies, because at the root of it, a lot of the conservative movement, particularly the Christian Conservative parts of it, want a cultural revolution that restores the America they want. This might be defined as the split between the Patriotic Movement and the Conservative Culture movement. The Conservative Culture movement stands for governance and power in the hands of a Christian majority.
In the United States however, the part of the Conservative Culture movement that tended to add the "White" part and threw in doses of explicit bigotry and either openly sympathized with the Nazis or penned apologetics for them, were the paleoconservatives who split from the Republican party. Figures like Pat Buchanan, Joseph Sobran, Scott McConnell and Taki Theodopolus formed a splinter group that went on the attack against the Republican party and formed the right wing of the Anti-war movement. Unlike the Christian Conservatives who represent the Conservative Culture movement today, these are more likely to be Catholic and to be enraged against America in a way that reaches nearly Westboro Church proportions.
In Europe the divisions aren't anywhere as neat because in Europe the war against Islam is a domestic cultural affair. The reality is that despite the insidious penetration of the Koran and Islamization into public schools, it will be decades before this is a real cultural threat to any significant number of Americans. By contrast in Europe it is a threat today. In America the resistance to Islam is primarily a struggle abroad. In Europe it is a domestic cultural war, rather than a foreign one. That is why European Anti-Islamic movements are much less likely to be involved in a foreign War on Terror and much more interested in a cultural war against the Islamization of their countries.
Where domestically white power groups continue to view Blacks, Jews and other minorities as the real threat, while paleoconservatives focus on liberals, atheists, big government and of course the Jews-- in Europe, paleoconservatives and white power groups generally (with exceptions like LePen) have focused on a campaign against Muslims.
In American, both conservatives and the Patriotic Movement have the luxury of being able to avoid the white power and the more bigoted fringes of the right, mainly because the right and the white power movement want nothing to do with them anyway. At the moment they're on the side of Islamic terrorism. That makes things a lot easier.
European movements don't have that convenience and as the experience with Ron Paul supporters should be telling Republicans, the far right is good at infiltrating organizations and movements. If you think getting rid of Ron Paul supporters is tough, try the real European variety. It's one reason for some of this controversy.
But the more practical reality is that in Europe, Christian Conservatives are not multi-racial the way their American counterparts may be. They want a version of Europe that predates the wave of post-war immigrants and in which other races know their place. And yes that often includes Jews too.
American Conservatives have increasingly created a 'big tent' of sorts that at least admits other races and gives Jews a limited place at the table. But American Conservatives were a lot closer to European Conservatives a century ago. Some like the Buchanan and Sobran crowd still are.
What does all this mean? In practice a lot of the European conservative movement is going to be racist by our standards. The people most likely to want to do something in European countries, particularly states like Sweden or Belgium where real opposition is all but illegal in some ways, are going to be people on the right.
We can't dictate to the European movements who they're going to put forward, from a purely practical standpoint. It doesn't really matter what we tell them anyway. By exposing some of the far right roots in a Vlaams Belang we're not reforming them, we're just joining the choir of their existing critics. European anti-islamization movements in the end will have to define themselves and inevitably a proportion or even more than a proportion of their membership will be racist. Some even Neo-Nazi. This is unsurprising because the Nazis tapped into the nationalist and conservative movements of many European countries. Where the American Far Right has become anti-nationalist with Ron Paul as their figurehead, the European Far Right remains nationalist.
The reality is that wars are not won by carefully selecting your allies for ideological purity. In WW2 we allied with Stalin. Our mistake was not in an alliance with Stalin, our mistake was that in allying with him, we insisted on pretending that he was something other than what he was. That made it easier for him to stick the knife in our back.
In the long term, a Muslim takeover of Europe is far more likely than a far right takeover of Europe. The far right does not have the numbers or the demographics on their side and we can't fight both Hitler and Stalin at the same time. We have to pick one and ally with the other. The grave threat to us, as Americans and Jews on a global scale, comes from Islam, not from the far right. The sporadic bursts of violence by the far right are of concern to Jews still living in European countries but France's meltdown alone should be a lesson in where the real threat lies.
We are facing a global war against Islam and we have to back anyone willing to fight them, Christians, Atheists, Hindus, Communists, Fascists, Satanists, Democrats.
Or as Winston Churchill put it during WW2, "If Hitler were to invade Hell, I would promptly sign a pact with the Devil." The Muslims have invaded Europe. It means we will in some cases have to deal with the devil.
There's no point in demanding anti-racist credentials from right wing groups in Europe, after all American conservative movements are hardly pure in that regard, as any liberal can tell you. You deal with the people who are out there. You fight the Nazis by backing the Communists. You fight the Communists by backing the Islamists and you fight the Islamists by backing anyone willing to fight them. It's not pretty and as any idiot can tell you, it has consequences. But that's war. Wars don't end neatly. There's always a price to pay for them down the road. There's no such thing as a free lunch, just a battle worth winning.