President Obama rightly hailed France as our oldest ally in his remarks immediately after Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris.

And then he said this:

This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.

The Paris massacre was not  an attack on all humanity. A large portion of humanity is cheering on the terrorists. This was also not an attack on "universal values" we all supposedly share. It was an attack on Western civilization and the values that have created a society too often  unappreciated by its spoiled children and loathed by Islamic jihadis. President Obama is congenitally unable to see this.

The attack in Paris is being compared to our September 11. We mourn for the suffering of our first ally. But I am skeptical of the West's ability, at this point in our history, to do more than mourn. There is something defeatist and hangdog about the pictures of people squatting before those makeshift memorials that are now a feature of our society. The landmarks around the world that are lit up in France's colors seem similarly effete.

Je suis Charlie Hebdo. Nous marchons. Who are we fooling? Do you feel how empty this all sounds right now? Are their some brave Paris attack hashtags? In a piece headlined "The Barbarians Are Inside, and There Are No Gates," Mark Steyn captured the defeatism of the West.  Taking note of what is going on on American college campuses, Carrie hopes that we will not be hampered by political correctness in our response to Paris. It should be noted that one American citizen, 23-year-old Nohemi Gonzalez (here), died in the attacks (also several Americans are reported injured). If this doesn't outrage you, nothing ever will.

While making no excuses for the American president's intuitive misreading of the conflict, Reuel Marc Gerecht argues today in the Wall Street Journal that an awakened France can join with the United States to change the way the West confronts the radical Islamic threat:

President Obama’s inability to have an adult conversation about Islam’s manifest problems with modernity, which also tore Christianity apart, have kept the West’s loudest bully pulpit from provoking contentious and entirely appropriate debates among Muslims. The advancement in the Middle East of grand modern causes—the abolition of slavery, the slow march of women’s social and political rights, the expansion of education, the brutal tug of war between secularism and religion—has always been stirred by Western thought and actions.

Having the French more vigorously in this game will help compensate for the politically correct, ahistoric timidity that has seized much of the intelligentsia in the U.S. and Britain. Trailblazers in analyzing modern Islamic fundamentalism, the French could well rescue the American left from its fixation on Islamophobia. They could provide encouragement and cover to American liberals to reflect and act without fear of being labeled Islamophobes (who are a dime a dozen on the American right and, as handmaidens of isolationism, don’t matter).

The attacks will make the French prouder and more protective of Western civilization. Several Western military incursions into the Middle East may lie before us. If we are to sustain that fight against Islamic State and other radical Muslims who mean us harm, Westerners obviously need to know—to feel it in their cultural bones—why they are fighting. Such things are not a given, as anyone knows who has watched President Obama try to transform the Afghan conflict from a “war of necessity” to a “war of choice.”

Washington always needs European allies to reinforce the moral purpose of sustained military action. The British are probably finished as a power of consequence. That leaves the French.

If they are committed to seeing this fight through to the end, the French make it more likely that the U.S. will commit more ground troops in Iraq and, as consequentially, put soldiers into Syria to create a defensible haven where civilians and the armed Sunni opposition can gather without fear of attack. Europe’s refugee and counterterrorist nightmares have no chance of resolution until the Syrian war is stopped.

We'll see.