By TED CRUZ
WASHINGTON – We must never hesitate to stand with our allies. We should never hesitate to speak the truth. In Paris or anywhere else in the world.
On Sunday, leaders representing Europe, Israel, Africa, Russia, and the Middle East linked arms and marched together down Place de la Concorde in Paris. But, sadly, no one from the White House was found among the more than 40 Presidents and Prime Ministers who walked the streets with hundreds of thousands of French citizens demonstrating their solidarity against radical Islamic terrorists.
The absence is symbolic of the lack of American leadership on the world stage, and it is dangerous. The attack on Paris, just like previous assaults on Israel and other allies, is an attack on our shared values. And, we are stronger when we stand together, as French President François Hollande said, for “liberty, equality, and fraternity.”
Radical Islamic terrorists are targeting all of those who do not share their radical ideology, escalating their attacks in shocking ways.
In the last year alone, the world has become a much more dangerous place for Westerners, as terrorists have deliberately aimed their campaign of murder against those, most notably innocent civilians, who represent a free and open society.
We witnessed American, British, and Israeli aid workers and journalists savagely beheaded by ISIS in Syria.
We saw a sympathizing radical attack the Canadian parliament.
We saw Hamas terrorists butchering Israeli-American rabbis in their Jerusalem synagogue while they went about their morning prayers.
We saw New York policemen attacked by an axe-wielding terrorist.
We saw commuters in Sydney held captive for hours in a coffee shop by yet another radical Islamist.
And, now we have all watched, horrified, as a pair of al Qaeda terrorists attacked a satirical newspaper in Paris and executed 10 members of its staff and two of the policemen who came to their defense.
That same day, one of their co-conspirators shot a police woman and a jogger, then the next day attacked a kosher grocery store to terrorize Jewish patrons preparing for what they had hoped would be a peaceful Shabbat. By the time the siege was over, four more innocents were dead.
Aid workers, members of the media, government, cafés, law enforcement, Christians, Jews, and even other Muslims—these are the targets of radical Islamists. They want to destroy civil society.
Their grievances are not against any particular government or policy; they are offended by the very notion of a free society where individuals have the right to worship, vote, and express themselves as they please—rights that are defended by security forces whose job is not to persecute or coerce citizens, but to protect them.
Our freedoms are anathema to the radical Islamists, and they are willing to sacrifice their very lives to attack us with anything from meat cleavers to Kalashnikovs—anything to terrorize us into submitting to their brutal, totalitarian, warped version of Islam.
Our choice now is either to confront this intolerable threat to our liberty, or to continue to respond to the attacks as if they are isolated incidents that we might be able to prevent if we would only stop somehow “provoking” them.
If events in Paris teach us anything, it is the utter failure of the latter approach. It has not made things better. It has made them worse.
Cruz is the junior United State senator from Texas. This piece originally appeared on time.com.