Why Europe Sleeps

“Europe has no military power and would not use it if it did,” Theodore Dalrymple writes at City Journal:

No one wants to let the genie of war out of the European bottle yet again. Just as important, the European population doesn’t give fig what happens in or to Ukraine, so long as whatever happens doesn’t drive tens of millions of Ukrainians westward. Those few who have followed developments in Ukraine over the last few years have probably lost all faith in the possibility of a minimally honest and upright government there. Who wants to risk anything for one group of corrupt oligarchs rather than another?

Fabius’s Tweet pointed with laudable succinctness to the difficulty politicians in parliamentary democracies face in confronting still distant threats: their electorates are prepared to make no sacrifices to meet such threats, least of all in economic circumstances that are already precarious. For most electorates in Europe, Ukraine is, like Czechoslovakia in 1938, a faraway country of which they know nothing; what they want, and will judge their governments by, is prosperity at home. And only more immediate threats will arouse their national passions sufficiently to resign them to the slightest economic hardship.

Hubris brings nemesis, but hubris takes many forms. One is the belief that the need for vigilance has been abolished because everyone now has the same worldview as ourselves, that the end of history has come, and we are it.


An assumption of our very European president, which has recently been shattered, before he too returned to slumber.


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