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This excerpt is from an article first published on November 14, 2015, in the Observer News and is posted with kind permission.

As the first news of yesterday's brutal terror attacks on Paris broke, one of French president Francois Hollande's first acts was to close the country's borders. One must ask; is the intent to keep people in or out? And will either move really keep the people of France safe?

Certainly, if there is a monster loose inside your house, it makes sense to close your window and doors before it can escape. But in today's world, monsters can't really be kept out. Militant networks exist in both physical and virtual space. A man born in the UK becomes a suicide bomber in an Aleppo prison. Girls born in France run away become child brides to fundamentalist militants in distant wars. And millions and millions of people under attack from these same fundamentalists have fled Syria in search of safety. When attackers can be born and raised inside your house, simply closing your windows and doors cannot keep your family safe.

And who, exactly, is France's family? A quick glance at a map of the most and least culturally diverse countries in the world, based on a 2013 University of Oldenberg study shows that France is one Europe's most diverse countries. That same year, Swedish economists Niclas Bergren and Therese Nilsson published another study asking whether economic freedom fosters tolerance. The Washington Post’s Max Fischer, who presented the study’s original source data in this excellent map, wrote that “France appeared to be one of the least racially tolerant countries on the continent, with 22.7 percent saying they didn’t want a neighbor of another race.”

To read the full article, go to Observer News.

The article was written by Kavitha Rajagopalan, who is a Carnegie Council Senior Fellow. 

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Tags: diplomacy, ethics, peace

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