Europe in the Rearview Mirror
In watching the imploding EU, I am afraid that we are forgetting the uniqueness of what Europe was and in large part remains. The demography of the United States, and the nature of present-day legal and illegal immigration, will soon ensure that the majority of Americans either claim heritage from Asia, the New World, or Africa, or have no memory of their European ancestors’ roots — and thus no particular affinity for the old notion of a “mother country” or continent. More regrettable, the old idea that one could be of any color and claim to be a child of the West — and hence Europe, given our allegiance to shared values and protocols — is now passé. Tribalism in America instead demands that how we look is how we are to think. When President Barack Obama called on Latinos to punish "our enemies," or just made a video and website calling for African-Americans to vote for him out of shared racial identity, or when Eric Holder referred to "my people," they were only reifying some 40 years of multicultural ideology.
Multiculturalism in our schools insists that we are not all that privileged by Western civilization, as if a pyramid of human sacrifice at Tenochtitlan in 1520 must be seen as architecturally and civically impressive as the Parthenon circa 440 B.C, as if Iroquois meeting in loose tribal counsel were the political equivalent of a Swiss canton, as if a pictograph from the Near East was just “different” from Homer’s Odyssey.
Somehow in the 1980s we redefined in our schools colonialism, slavery, and imperialism as exclusively European, rather than merely human pathologies — as if the Arab world did not match or trump the European slave trade, as if the Ottomans had no empire before the Europeans in the Mediterranean, as if Persians, Japanese, and Chinese had not sought to conquer, enslave, and exploit their weaker neighbors.
A Fading Heritage
We seem to have forgotten that what is admirable in the U.S. is not just the result of the vast American landscape, a natural selection of the more audacious and risk-taking immigrants, frontier life, and the resulting rugged individualism, but because the Founders were nursed on the European Enlightenment, Christianity was imported from Europe, and Anglo-Saxon law was built upon in a new continent. We live in such a strange age of lies: to say the above is considered heresy, but to live our daily lives on political or economic premises other than the above is synonymous with chaos and misery. So we live two lives: the counterfeit one that we declaim loudly in a politically correct fashion, and the real one we live by but do not dare articulate.
In other words, we have ancient and legitimate interests, loyalties, and affinities with Europe that reflect our religion, language, literature, economics, politics, sociology, and culture. In more mundane terms, that means keeping a strong NATO (“America in, Russia out, Germany down”) commitment to protect Germany in a way that does not allow such a naturally dominant power to translate its economic success into military assertion that so frightens its neighbors. Without a NATO, very soon someone in a rich powerful Germany will ask, “Why are the weaker UK and France nuclear and not us?” or “These defaulting borrowers at least have some other assets, do they not?”
The Obama administration is the most anti-European administration in our history — ironic given the fashion in which liberal Europe continues to fawn over him, and American academics prefer the European Union model. Now we are moving troops out of Europe to Asia. We belittle Britain, whether concerning the Falklands, or in trite gift-giving, or in its snubbed small contribution to our fleet. We consider Russia more important than Eastern Europe. South Korea, Taiwan, China, and Japan are said to be our future partners, not a dynamic Germany or our old ally in extremis the British. Yet even in disarray, the collective economy and population of the EU members are greater than our own. Instead, we talk nonstop of China, but does the Rhine run likewise green with pollution as do Chinese rivers, or is the air of London unchanged from 1860 and thus resembles Beijing’s?
As Greece implodes, as southern Europe goes into default mode, and as the entire European Union totters, America should promote its alliance and friendship with individual European countries more than ever. The next ten years are going to be scary ones for Europeans, as dreams shatter, fantasies dissipate, the “German problem” returns, energy becomes scarce, nationalism returns, issues of demography and immigration acerbate, Russia flexes in eastern Europe and its former republics, and the southern shore of the Mediterranean becomes Islamic— and as a different U.S. decides that its real interests and friends are in Asia.
A small suggestion: given that we have let in 11 million illegal aliens without legality, capital, education, or English, why not announce that we will fast-track into citizenship 100,000 Europeans a year who speak English, have a BA degree, and can come with $50,000 in capital? Set the immigration at exactly the same number we do for legal immigrants from Mexico — and then listen and watch what happens!
Article printed from Works and Days: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson
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