When it was obvious that a Monday Night Football game had become a rout during its classic original years with Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford and Don Meredith, Meredith would sing, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over”.
Mark Steyn writes that when it comes to Europe, while it’s not quite time to sing “turn out the lights”, the fourth quarter is rapidy approaching:
Many Americans wander round with the constitution in their pocket so they can whip it out and chastise over-reaching congressmen and senators at a moment’s notice. Try going round with the European Constitution in your pocket and you’ll be walking with a limp after two hours: It’s 511 pages, which is 500 longer than the U.S. version. It’s full of stuff about European space policy, Slovakian nuclear plants, water resources, free expression for children, the right to housing assistance, preventive action on the environment, etc.
Most of the so-called constitution isn’t in the least bit constitutional. That’s to say, it’s not content, as the U.S. Constitution is, to define the distribution and limitation of powers. Instead, it reads like a U.S. defense spending bill that’s got porked up with a ton of miscellaneous expenditures for the ”mohair subsidy” and other notorious Congressional boondoggles. President Ronald Reagan liked to say, ”We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around.” If you want to know what it looks like the other way round, read Monsieur Giscard’s constitution.
But the fact is it’s going to be ratified, and Washington is hardly in a position to prevent it. Plus there’s something to be said for the theory that, as the EU constitution is a disaster waiting to happen, you might as well cut down the waiting and let it happen. CIA analysts predict the collapse of the EU within 15 years. I’d say, as predictions of doom go, that’s a little on the cautious side.
But either way the notion that it’s a superpower in the making is preposterous. Most administration officials subscribe to one of two views: a) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater; or b) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater where the whole powder keg’s about to go up.
For what it’s worth, I incline to the latter position. Europe’s problems — its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed — are all of Europe’s making. By some projections, the EU’s population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. Already, more people each week attend Friday prayers at British mosques than Sunday service at Christian churches — and in a country where Anglican bishops have permanent seats in the national legislature.
Some of us think an Islamic Europe will be easier for America to deal with than the present Europe of cynical, wily, duplicitous pseudo-allies. But getting there is certain to be messy, and violent.
Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there’s no point picking fights with the terminally ill. The old Europe is dying, and Mr. Bush did the diplomatic equivalent of the Oscar night lifetime-achievement tribute at which the current stars salute a once glamorous old-timer whose fading aura is no threat to them. The 21st century is being built elsewhere.
Read the rest. Jonah Goldberg’s line a few years ago that America is essientially the headmaster and Europe is a one big Animal House-style college dorm continues to look spot-on.
Update: Captain Ed looks at just one of many examples of why Europe is a potential powder keg.
Another Update: Follow the link in this Power Line post for more from Steyn himself on Europe’s future.