The Global War On You Know Who

"The West is facing a concerted effort by Islamic jihadists, the motives and goals of whom are largely ignored by the Western media, to destroy the West and bring it forcibly into the Islamic world -- and to commit violence to that end even while their overall goal remains out of reach. That effort goes under the general rubric of jihad."
-- Robert Spencer

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Whither Europe

After the emphatic French rejection of the EU constitution the other day, my elation soon turned to contemplation. As expected, the Dutch have rejected it as well, by a huge margin; and I find my contemplation deepening.

Perhaps the EU constitution would have "streamlined decisionmaking" -- i.e., removed pesky stuff like voters, national legislatures, and sovereignty from the loop. Perhaps its free market language wouldn't have had the tiniest impact on Europe's lumbering welfare states. Perhaps Europe's reckless Euro-Arab Dialogue would have been further reinforced and the immigration problem made even worse.

But I, like most other analysts, did not anticipate that typically apathetic European voters would refuse to roll over in such huge numbers. Certainly not to the extent that putting it to a re-vote or sending it to the legislature would be political suicide, rather than business as usual. One way or another, I expected arrogant Eurocrats to muscle it through and get to yes, with or without the consent of the voters. But the EU constitution appears to be officially DOA.

So I'm just now starting to wonder if Europe has been on a collision course either way. Ralph Peters echoes my concerns that the alternative to a centralized Eurabian super-state may be even worse. Europe Eschews Union: Return of the Tribes.
. . . something's happening in Europe that international elites swore was impossible. Tribes are back.

In Europe, they're called nations, which sounds more distinguished. But the French voters who refused to submerge their identity in a greater European state behaved as tribally as any Hutus or Tutsis in central Africa — or any Arab clan in Iraq.

Certainly, there are practical issues at stake. The French fear an invasion of their welfare state by hardworking East Europeans. They dread hints of a market economy and Turkey's prospective membership in the EU. The Dutch are still reeling from the failure of their multicultural experiment and the grisly rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

But the underlying cause of the voter shift from continental integration to the nouveau chauvinism erupting from Paris to Moscow is far cruder and more explosive: the undiminished importance of group identity, of primal belonging.

If anything should strike us about this turn from Greater Europe back to a Europe of competing parts, it's how wildly the intellectuals were wrong and how ineffectual elite power monopolies proved in the end. For a half century, Europe's approved thinkers insisted that a new age had begun, that historical identities were dying. The wealth and power of a borderless Europe would rival, if not exceed, that of the United States.

Instead, we see a squabbling, grasping continent. Far from feeling solidarity with their Polish or Hungarian counterparts, French farmers view them as the enemy. Labor unions in Germany and France have turned Slavic job-seekers into bogeymen who'll rob the daily bread from the native-born.

The Dutch feel doubly under siege, invaded by an immigrant community that rejects their values, while simultaneously in danger of being gobbled up by a leviathan Europe that would seize control of their destiny.

For Europe's political elites — accustomed to docile, bought-off populations — the turn against further EU integration has been an enormous shock.

The German vote that thumped Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder last month was a vote against globalization and a European meta-identity. In his first public appearance after Sunday's "Non!" vote, President Jacques Chirac looked like a walking corpse.

Satisfying to watch? You bet. But the pleasure we can take in the humiliation of Schroeder and Chirac masks the fact that, for all their rhetoric and anti-American posturing, they were do-nothing, status-quo leaders whose authority never rose above the nuisance level. We may come to miss their fecklessness and gourmet-level pandering as nationalism swells among their electorates.

Whenever Europe's nationalist tide flows back in, the innocent drown.

. . . We may discover that Europe has changed less than any other part of the globe, that all the bureaucrats in Brussels can no more suppress the local tribes than could the Roman legions. For all of our concern about a European super-state, we may live to regret the return to a Europe of nations.
The good news is, a tribal Europe is more likely to find the backbone to resist what has become a bona fide Muslim invasion. The bad news is, it will likely be led by ultra-nationalists who will burn down every mosque, then move straight to the synagogues, and y'all know what comes after that.

UPDATE: Ali Sina of Faith Freedom sees it similarly: The Fall of Europe.
Europe is threading a very dangerous path. Two things can happen in Europe:

1. Islam is left alone to grow unchecked, which means Europe will succumb to Islamism before the end of this century. Or

2. The Europeans sense the danger too late, panic, and give birth to Eurofascism to counter Islamofascism.

In either case Europe will be destroyed.


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