The relationship Americans have with Europe has always been complicated. On one hand, it is the Mother Continent. On the other hand, there is a skeptical or rejectionist view of Europe in the US, as many European Americans left precisely to get away from the Old World. I sometimes wonder whether the best way to understand this paradox is that the early pioneers wanted to create an improved version of Europe: A country steeped in the best of Europe’s cultural and philosophical traditions, but with less of its religious intolerance and elitism.
The most radical rejection of any relationship between Europe and the USA I have seen comes from writer Spengler of the Asia Times Online, who claims that: “America never, in my surmise, offered fertile soil for the propagation of Western civilization. The founders of Massachusetts came to America because they rejected Western civilization as hopelessly corrupt, and conceived of a New Jerusalem. The Virginians, with their mock-classic temples and slave-based culture of leisure, identified with the Greco-Roman classics. We know who won that argument. America, such as it is, is not really a continuation of Western civilization at all, but a strange throwback to Hebraic rather than Greek origins.”
However, even Spengler isn’t always consistent in this view, since he still refers to the US as “the West” in other columns: “In the presence of a single superpower, the chief strategic issue of the 21st century is whether the West has the will to continue living. Islam will have assimilated childless Western Europe by the end of the century. If America follows Europe into nihilism, the 21st century will go out in fair imitation of the 5th,” in other words, the downfall of the Roman Empire. A more positive view comes from Victor Davis Hanson: “Europe is the repository of the Western tradition, most manifestly in shrines like the Acropolis, the Pantheon, the Uffizi, or the Vatican. We concede that the Great Books — we as yet have not produced a Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, or Locke, much less a Da Vinci, Mozart, or Newton — and the Great Ideas of the West from democracy to capitalism to human rights originated on your continent alone. And if Americans believe our Constitution and the visions of our Founding Fathers were historic improvements on Europe of the 18th-century, then at least we acknowledge in our humility that they were also inconceivable without it.”
“There is a greater oneness between us, an unspoken familiarity even now in the age of global sameness, that makes an American feel at home in Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, or Athens in a way that is not true of Istanbul, Cairo, or Bangkok.” “Either your economy will reform, your populace multiply, and your citizenry defend itself, or not. And if not, then Europe as we have known it will pass away — to the great joy of the Islamists but to the terrible sorrow of America.”
Tony Blankley, editorial-page editor of The Washington Times and author of the book “The West’s Last Chance” adopts a similar tune:
“The threat of the radical Islamists taking over Europe is every bit as great to the United States as was the threat of the Nazis taking over Europe in the 1940s. We cannot afford to lose Europe. We cannot afford to see Europe transformed into a launching pad for Islamist jihad.” “A defense of the West without the birthplace of the West — Europe — is almost unthinkable. If Europe becomes Eurabia, it would mean the loss of our cultural and historic first cousins, our closest economic and military allies, and the source of our own civilization. This is a condition Americans should dread and should move mountains to avoid.”
“Even before Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt understood that a Nazi-dominated Europe would be more than a fearsome military and industrial threat. It would be a civilizational threat. Now we face another such threat in insurgent Islam.”
The comparison is an instructive one. The attacks the United States suffered on September 11th 2001 were larger then Pearl Harbor. Yet here we are, more than five year later, with hundreds of billions of dollars spent on a failed attempt to spread democracy to Iraq, with sharia creeping ever closer in the West and with Western commentators warning against Islamophobia. What went wrong? Why the weak response?
U.S. President George W. Bush personally signed off on a visa allowing Mohammed Khatami, Iranian president until 2005, to visit the United States and speak at the National Cathedral and Harvard University because he wanted to hear his views. To do this at the same time as the Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking nuclear weapons and while Khatami’s successor is threatening to wipe Israel off the map and overthrow the West, makes the American government seem weak and ready to capitulate to the forces of Islam.
In 2005, more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents than in any year in the previous two decades. Meanwhile, Cathy Young, a writer for the Boston Globe and Reason magazine, has warned against “Islamophobes,” attacking Oriana Fallaci and also Jihad Watch in the process. She has been joined by Ralph Peters, writing for the New York Post, lambasting what he calls “a rotten core of American extremists.”
“The really ugly “domestic insurgency” is among right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism. How? By insisting that Islam can never reform, that the violent conquest and subjugation of unbelievers is the faith’s primary agenda – and, when you read between the lines, that all Muslims are evil and subhuman.” “The problem isn’t the man or woman of faith, but cultural environment. Once free of the maladies of the Middle East, Muslims thrive in America. Like the rest of us.”
James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal endorsed Peters’ column as eloquently answering “anti-Muslim bigots.” The same Ralph Peters earlier in 2006 managed to be neutral during the cartoon Jihad because “both sides are wrong,” denouncing the “Eurotrash” just as much as Muslims: “Breaking a well-known taboo of Islam was irresponsible. No other word for it.” “Those cartoons said more about Europe’s own arrogance toward religious believers and intolerance of faith than they do about Islam.” “For once, we Americans can sit back and watch the fight (pass the popcorn, please). The Europeans are going to get a few more teeth knocked out.”
Does Mr. Peters have titanium testicles or what? Now, I can readily understand that Americans are sick and tired of the anti-Americanism that comes out of Europe these days, but the cartoon Jihad was the wrong instance to demonstrate this. First of all, it started in Denmark, which was also, along with Bulgaria, the only country in Europe which managed to save most of its Jews during WW2. It is no coincidence that this was the first Western country where Muslim immigration became the topic of a real public debate, which started there even before 2001. Denmark has a proud tradition of resistance to anti-democratic forces. Moreover, the cartoons were reprinted in many countries in Continental Europe, including France and Germany, whereas American media hesitated to do the same thing.
Now, if I may be as bold as to point it out myself, I was probably the first person outside Denmark to republish any of these cartoons, and to write extensively about the case in English. The twelve cartoons depicting Muhammad were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005. I republished one of the cartoons, with the explosive turban, just a few days later, after picking up the story from Danish language blog Uriasposten. From there on, the story gradually made its way to Jihad Watch, Little Green Footballs and on to the international blogosphere. Paul Belien of the Brussels Journal, who is constantly harassed by the authorities in Belgium for maintaining his online magazine, wrote in November 2005 that “Fjordman is about the only one who keeps the world regularly posted on this ongoing affair [of the cartoons].”
Maybe I did that because I am a Eurotrash, anti-Muslim bigot. Or maybe I did that because I, unlike Mr. Peters, understood immediately that this story would have repercussions far beyond Denmark. Here’s a quote from a post, which included a draft email in support of Jyllands-Posten, that I wrote already in October 2005:
“When some Muslims complain about their religion being slighted, the entire Islamic world seems to support them. Unfortunately, the same is not the case with the infidels using their freedom of speech. They are too frequently left to fight alone, with little support. This needs to change. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with dozens of member states backed by Saudi oil money, is now up against one newspaper and the government of a nation of just above 5 million inhabitants. But what is at stake is nothing less than the very concept of freedom of speech and thus democracy itself, an issue far greater than Denmark. It is totally unacceptable that Muslims try to intimidate the citizens of free nations from speaking their minds, and it is time that this is made clear in no uncertain terms.”
It is sad that this message was lost on so many Western, including American, journalists. However, although the mainstream media in the United States largely failed this test, American bloggers did not. Many of them, including influential ones such as Michelle Malkin, republished the cartoons. The importance of independent websites has not been lost on columnist Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post, who states that “the blogosphere has taken upon itself the role of media watchdog” and become “a critical component of the free world’s defense in the current war.”
“The blogosphere, and particularly Little Green Footballs, Powerline, Zombietime, Michelle Malkin, and EU Referendum, have relentlessly exposed the systematic staging of news events, fabrication of attacks against relief workers, and doctoring of photographic images by Hizbullah with the active assistance of international organizations and the global media.” “As each day passes it becomes clear that the responsibility of protecting our nations and societies from internal disintegration has passed to the hands of individuals, often working alone, who refuse to accept the degradation of their societies and so fight with the innovative tools of liberty to protect our way of life.”
I still have a belief, or at least a hope, that most of Europe can be saved from Islam, although it will be a difficult fight. However, Europe is now so weak and the Islamic infiltration proceeding so quickly that it would be foolhardy to dismiss out of hand the possibility that Europe could indeed succumb to this threat.
How will it affect the New West, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, if the Old West in Europe goes Islamic? Will Western civilization survive in the New World, or will these countries, too, follow Europe’s demise? After all, Western civilization in Europe has the advantage of being native to the soil, where it has grown organically for centuries, whereas it has been transplanted to Australia, Canada and the USA and superimposed on top of other cultures.
One important factor in this regard is how big the flow of European refugees from Eurabia will be, and whether they have learned their lesson regarding Islam or whether they will bring their failed ideologies with them to their new homelands.
If Eurabia indeed becomes the end result, Europe will slowly be reduced from industrialized countries to just another overpopulated Islamic failure. However, this process took centuries in most of what is now the Islamic world, and will take decades or generations in Europe. In the meantime, Eurabia would constitute an existential threat to the rest of the West, and indeed to much of the non-Muslim world. Westerners would be cut off from their civilizational roots, and some of their prized cultural treasures would simply be physically destroyed.
This would be a tremendous blow to the West, and an equally tremendous boost to the morale in the Islamic world. Islam has tried, and failed to conquer the European heartland of its Western rival for more than 1300 years. It is difficult to overstate what an enormous religious victory it would represent for Muslims if they were to finally succeed in this. In addition to the psychological effect on the global Islamic community, the umma would also get its hands on the accumulated financial and technological resources of Europe. This would reinvigorate Jihad worldwide, from Thailand to Armenia. We can already now, with the European Union appeasement of the Arab world, see the dangerous potential of such a constellation.
In short, an Islamic or Islamic-controlled Europe would pose a huge and continuous threat to the rest of the West.
I’m also not fully convinced that Americans, despite frequent claims to the contrary, will prove that much more resistant to Jihad than Europeans are right now. I will be thrilled if they are, but there are some disturbing signs to the contrary. A video of Osama bin Laden meeting with two 9/11 hijackers revealed that the mass murderers were motivated by a desire to avenge Muslims … in Bosnia, where the US went to war to protect Muslims. I have heard many Americans complain that the US saved Muslims in Kuwait, Bosnia and then later in Kosovo, yet few Muslims seem to appreciate this. This indicates how little key policy makers understand the mindset of Muslims in general.
Westerners are told to find ways to win the hearts and minds of Muslims. Very few care to ask whether or not this feat is possible at all. What if the hearts and minds of Muslims are already occupied by Allah and Muhammad, and there is little room left for infidels? If that is the case, it means that projects aimed at giving financial assistance to Muslims are at best a waste of money, at worst outright counterproductive.
Jizya is a punishment tax that non-Muslim dhimmis according to the Koran 9,29 are supposed to pay for “protection”, “in willing submission”, as a sign of their inferior status to their Islamic rulers. Muslims will thus see payments from non-Muslims as a sign that you accept having been defeated and being subjugated to Islam’s might. As a result, they may in fact become more aggressive and demanding, not less.
Westerners who believe that providing financial assistance to Muslims, or even bombing non-Muslims on their behalf as NATO did in the Balkans, will somehow buy them gratitude from Muslims reveal a fundamental lack of understanding of how the Muslim mind works. Muslims are fatalists. For them, everything that happens, good or bad, is the will of Allah. If something bad takes place, this is a punishment for being lax Muslims. If something good happens, for instance a bombing of Christian Serbs that paves the way for ethnic cleansing of non-Muslim in Kosovo, this is a reward for being good Muslims. Muslims will feel gratitude, but to Allah who caused this, not to the infidels who actually carried out the bombing.
If anything, Western involvement in the Balkans signaled to Muslims that the West was now weak and ripe for conquest, since we sacrificed the Christian Serbs in favor of Muslims. As a consequence, instead of a Westernization of the Balkans, we may end up with a Balkanization of the West.
Bat Ye’or has talked about a conflict between Europeans and Eurabians, with the latter holding sway for now because they dominate the media and the political establishment. This conflict is most severe in Europe because of the European Union and the number of Muslims there, but I see similar conflicts in Canada, Australia and the United States, too.
I sometimes wonder whether the West at the beginning of the 21st century is mired in an ideological civil war, which in Western Europe in particular is getting so serious that it could well lead to physical civil wars. I will call the contestants Westerners and post-Westerners. This makes more sense than right-wingers vs. left-wingers because although left-wingers tend to be more aggressive and open in their denunciation of the West, and although the strongest opposition is usually found among conservatives, post-Westerners have penetrated deep into the political right-wing, too.
Both Leftists and quite a few right-wingers ironically agree on the fact that only economic factors matter, and that culture does not have any significant impact. Leftists talk about economic exploitation and are frequently critical of, if not hostile to, Western culture, hence their allegiance to Multiculturalism. Some right-wingers see immigration only as cheap labor and more consumers. A country is thus one giant job-producing corporation, no different from Coca-Cola or Toyota. A place to make money, nothing more. Not a nation with a soul, a shared history or a common culture. In opposition to these post-Westerners we have traditional Westerners, whose primary loyalty still lies with their nation state, their culture and their civilization.
Many Americans now say that the United States is a “universal” nation that “doesn’t have a culture of its own,” which indicates that the USA itself is increasingly post-Western and cut off from its European roots.
It is significant that most Western nations face common challenges in upholding their national borders, and that it is considered “racist” to prefer certain groups of immigrants over others. This is becoming more and more apparent in the illegal immigration debate. The open borders activists are basically arguing that it’s a “human right” to be allowed to settle in the West, not that Westerners should be allowed to preserve their own culture and decide who should settle in their lands.
Our unwillingness to uphold our physical boundaries is closely related to our unwillingness to define our cultural boundaries. In a strange way, it is the shared denial of our own historical roots or even the fact that we have a culture, the notion that we have somehow moved “beyond history” and the idea that it is “racist” to uphold your national borders that reveal the fact that Europe, North America and Australia still belong to the same civilization, despite everything.
“It is in the inability and unwillingness of the elite class to confront jihad that Western Europe and North America most tellingly certify that they share the same chromosomes, that they belong to one culture and constitute one civilization.” “Another result is an elite consensus that de facto open immigration, multiculturalism, and the existence of a large Muslim diaspora within the Western world are to be treated as a fixed given, and must not be scrutinized in any anti-terrorist debate.”
“This war is being fought, on the Islamic side, with the deep conviction that the West is on its last legs. The success of its demographic onslaught on Europe enhances the image of “a candy store with the busted lock,” and that view is reinforced by the evidence from history that a civilization that loses the urge for self-perpetuation is indeed in peril.”
Europeans, after several devastating wars during the 20th century, seem to believe that we have moved beyond war into an age of international law and dialogue, and that war for whatever reason is evil. That is one idea that Americans most definitely do not share, and they are right. But Americans have other Utopian dreams of their own. I have warned against the dangers of “celebrating diversity” in a country that is already so diverse as the USA. Americans should celebrate their sameness and what binds them together, or they could wake up one day and find out hat they are united neither by culture, religion, race nor political beliefs, perhaps not even by language due to the growth of Spanish as a semi-official second language. This could create serious internal frictions, maybe even cause the country to fall apart.
The idea that “history is bunk,” that all cultures can be assimilated equally into the USA and that the United States is a universal nation that has somehow magically moved beyond all conflicts known to mankind elsewhere is wrong and dangerous. It also has implications for foreign policy.
If Americans had remembered that their cherished political system was
steeped in a Western and European cultural tradition, and may not work
just as well in all other cultures, they might not have embarked on
the project of exporting democracy to a deeply Islamic country such as
Iraq, at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. This happened
because Americans believed theirs was a universal nation without any
core culture of its own. If this was the case, its political system
could be exported everywhere.
Five years after 9/11, Muslim immigration to the United States is
higher than ever, there is still great reluctance to name the enemy
among members of the political establishment and President Bush sticks
to his failed strategy of exporting democracy to the Arab world while
the Islamization of the West continues apace.
I hope Americans are right, that the USA will prove more resistant to
Islamization than Europe, and that Western civilization will prevail
in the New World even if it should die in the Old World. But I confess
to have some lingering doubt.
Note from Fjordman: I have plans for at least a dozen longer essays after this, provided I have the time and financial opportunity to write them. The essays will be dealing with why I find a Reformation of Islam unlikely to happen. All of my online essays can be republished for free by anybody who wants to, as long as credit is given to the author. Any financial donation, which can be given here, should be considered as payment in advance for future essays.