Since 2001 the West has been confronted by islamofascist jihadism. These terrorists propose to create a world-wide caliphate, a tyranny similar to the one sought by the Soviet Union between 1917 to 1991 and in the spirit of Islamic imperialism. The Cold War Europe prompted American presidents to take over its defense, impatient with the refusal of the Europeans to defend themselves. The benign and far-sighted policy of America was instrumental in the defeat of communism. It had, however, an unwanted side-effect: it freed European funds to build welfare states. After the end of the Cold War Europeans continued to rely on the United Suites for its defense. In the 1990s European leaders of the left believed for instance that the prison house of nations on the Balkans, Yugoslavia, could and would he preserved in spite of aspirations for independence of Croats, Slovenian and other peoples to create their own states. Once more America had to come to the aid of Europe to solve its problems.
There are additional grave problems in Europe. The economy is growing to slowly and since 1980 birth rates have been falling. It is slowly leading an inadequate base with shrinking generations. While America has a healthy economy and an acceptable birth rate, other parts of the Western civilization is in trouble. The gap is widening. Either there remains only one Western civilization, America, or there has in reality for a long time been an American civilization and a European civilization in the West.
One of the world’s leading conservative journalists, Mark Steyn, has now written an important book (America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, Washington DC: Regnery Publishing Inc., 2006, 224 pages). Steyn is writing on war, polities, the arts, and culture. He was born in Canada but now resides in the United States. His articles and columns can be read in dailies such as The Washington Times, The Orange County Register and The New York Sun as well as in magazines such as the Natonal Review, The Atlantic Monthly and The New Criterion.
Steyn in his new book is comparing fertility rates (live births per woman) in America, Europe and the rest of the world.
The American rate is a healthy 2.1 compared to Spain’s and Russia 1.1, Italy’s 1.2 and Germany’s 1.3. The Scandinavian rates arc somewhat higher: Denmark 1.7 and Sweden 1.5, although the latter country in 1990 had a rate of 2.1. Russia’s low rate is a good example of how communism created a fertility death spiral since the end of the Second World War. The five lowest birth rates in the world can be found in Russia, Latvia, Bulgaria and Ukraine. From a peak of 145 million Russia will be down to a population of 130 million in 2015 and dropping to perhaps 50 or 60 million toward the end of the century. Western populations have to start asking if the real geopolitical challenge of this century is not the demographic. Meanwhile the fertility rates are impressing in Africa and Asia; Niger 7.4, Mali 7.4, Somalia 6.7, Afghanistan 6.6, Yemen 6.5 and so on. What about the youth of the population (those under 15 years: Germany 14 percent, United
Kingdom 18 percent while in Saudi Arabia it is 39 percent, Pakistan 40 perercent and Yemen 47 percent.
The author quotes Philip Longman’s The Empty Cradle:
So where will the children of the future come from? Increasingly they will come from people who are at odds with the modern world. Such a trend, if sustained could drive human culture off its current market-driven, individualistic, modernist course, gradually creating an anti-market culture dominated by fundamentalism — a new Dark Age.
To keep the economics growing in the low fertility states foreign workers are needed. There is however no long-tern plan in Europe to prepare for the many million immigrants needed. Instead, in the beginning, everyone who turned up was welcomed. Geographically for this meant that Islamic countries became the principal supplier of new Europeans.
Unsustainability of the Social Democratic State
Important for the decline of Europe is dependance on welfare politics of the Scandinavian model. The left in America, i.e. the Democratic Party, thinks the modern social-democratic state of that type is the model for the United States. It should be seen, however, as a choice of a failing model by a failing political party. If the worst comes to pass in Europe there might be societal collapse, fascist revivalism, and the long decline into what could be great Muslim influence in parts of the continent. In that population islamofashist jihadist ideas might grow and prosper.
So what is the alternative to soil Europe, asks Steyn: a nation that still breeds, still puts in a full work week and still maintains a vigorous military. More on this solution underneath. The problem with the social democratic state is that it subscribes to the idea that men and women are more social animals. Individual liberty is only one of the values that generate a good society. The primacy of society is a typical European idea. It is and has been part of Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism, Communism and Socialism.
One of the great problems of the social democratic state is that it creates structural weakness. It has annexed, so Steyn says, all responsibilities of adulthood - health care, child care, care of the elderly. Thus it has severed its citizens from humanity’s primal instincts, especially the survival instinct. Islam has youth and will, Europe has age and welfare. Expressed in a different way: pre-modern Islam beats post-modern Christianity. The larger forces at play has left Europe too enfeebled to resist. The only question, so Steyn, is how bloody the transformation will be.
No doubt Steyn’s book is a work for Americans. His description of Europe will not be popular on the eastern side of the Atlantic. The warning is that America will remain as the lone survivor of Western civilisation. So watch out Americans so that the same thing won’t happen to you. The two main advices are: avoid statist European welfare systems, believe in the virtue of self-reliance and individual innovation. At the same time it is important to avoid isolationism. It is not possible for the United States to retreat to Fortress America as it was not possible for America to retreat facing the Soviet enemy. If the Soviets conquered Europe it would have been the end of’ Western civilization. Now 15 years after the defeat of the Soviet Union the loss of Europe seems inevitable. The difference is, however, that now America is much stronger. The war on terrorism will therefore end in victory. At the same time the United States must help Islam to reform with the aid of moderate Islamic forces in the Middle East. This means, in the view of this reviewer, that freedom and democracy has to be spread to parts of the emerging world. Ultimately Islam must reform itself. That means giving women their rights. Not the feminist variant but real rights. The roll back of islamofascist jihadists is necessary starting with Iran and Syria. There is an ideological enemy out there and an ideological war is necessary waged by moderate forces within Islam with the support of mainly the United States. Political and economic liberty are necessary part of the reform movement. Islamic states that persecute non-Muslims have to be marginalized in international bodies. Funding of Muslim radical think tanks must be prevented, centers that spread the ideas of islamo jihadism. Steyn does not mention the need for Freedom Academies. A government funded such an academy was proposed in the 1950s to educate against Communism, but never created in spite of strong support in the American Congress. Now, more than ever such an academy is needed in the political-cultural war against islamofascist jihadist ideas. Steyn wants the United Nations marginalized, a transformation of the energy industries to end dependance on oil, an end to the Iranian regime and recommends striking militarily when the opportunity presents itself.
One of the leading experts on the Middle East in the West, Professor Bernard Lewis (born in England but now residing in the United States), told The Wall Street Journal:
In 1940, we knew who we were, we knew who the enemy was, we knew the dangers and the issues, in our island, we knew that we would prevail, that the Americans would be drawn into the fight. It is different today. We don’t know who we are, we don’t know the issues, and we still do not understand the nature of the enemy.
The struggle can be won but America must know that it is in an existential war for Western civilizational survival. Europe cannot be counted on for long term support. Since November 2006 the Iraqi front against terrorism is in doubt. As during the Vietnam war the forces of retreat and capitulation are calling for withdrawal. The war on terrorism is a generational struggle. Just as the 1950s was the beginning of the Truman Doctrine the Bush Doctrine of the beginning of the twenty first century is only the beginning.