Europe's Dream Disturbed

Europe's Dream Disturbed

Mini Teaser: Now that the EU constitution has been defeated, the Euro-elites can come down from the clouds.

by Author(s): Conrad Black

Third, Europe will have to face the Islamic problem, as the suicide bombings by domestic but foreign-inspired Islamic extremists in London on July 7 and July 21 demonstrated. It should admit Turkey and encourage Turkey's European vocation. But with the Turks, as with the former colonial populations in French North Africa, Angola and elsewhere, there must be some limits to residential movement in Europe. Europe cannot continue to reach out to Turkey when it needs an ally in the Middle East and reject it when Turkey seeks to approach Europe. In this, Europe has something to learn from American and Canadian treatment of Mexico, which has facilitated, for the first time, genuine democracy, efficient commerce and a stable currency in that country.

Europe, for the sake of its own social and political stability, should not pad its own population by an indiscriminate admission of Muslim Arabs. But, out of justice and its own strategic self-interest, it should grant a gradual accession to Turkey, with reasonable limits to demographic flows within the EU. To placate Turkey while reducing widespread concerns about the inundation of Europe by Islam will be a delicate operation; delicate but very necessary and not impossible.

Western Europe will have to revive its own birthrate, resign itself to a declining population or maintain itself by continued expansion to the East, including ultimately Russia (though it is suffering the greatest population implosion of all). Russia, which has been irritated by the encroachments of the EU and NATO on its former sphere of influence, is not inconsolable at the current EU difficulties, but in its present state it is unlikely to be able to do much about it. If the EU becomes a loose enough federation, Russia might even seek membership.

It is ultimately unnatural for people not to reproduce themselves. There is much debate about the origin of this problem in Europe, but every sensible commentator (including Pope Benedict XVI), recognizes that the current trend toward the Islamization of Europe is not the answer to the demographic problem. But the Turks should not pay the price of Europe's aberrant shortcomings of prolific virility. And if Turkey is made to pay for it, it will more likely be Europe that ultimately pays when Turkey--which has less natural affinity for the Arabs than is often claimed by France and Britain--joins and leads the enemies of Europe in the Muslim world, in its pre-Atatürk role.

Some such program as this would capitalize on the virtues of pan-Europeanism and the distinction of Europe as a center of human culture and creativity. It would confer on Europe a strength in the world to which it has aspired but has failed to attain. It is not beyond the wit of Europe's leaders to implement such a policy. Failure to restore economic growth in Germany, which will not be easily weaned away from its socialist habits, will lead eventually to the disintegration into sub-units of the European Union.

From the American perspective, it would be an entirely positive turn of events for an Anglo-German leadership group to implement market-economic reforms and a more leisurely federalist schedule. The ascent of America's closest ally, the UK, within Europe would be positive in itself. The promotion of something closer to the American economic model (though obviously far from identical to it) would in itself reduce tensions, especially those arising from the widespread European affectation of cultural superiority by disdaining America as a hideously commercial and garish society.

And as China and India, representing 40 percent of the world's population, rise economically, the United States is eventually going to need to reinforce its unique standing in the world by closer relations with compatible economies, aggregating a comparable demographic scale to the Asian giants. Europe is the closest natural associate for America, although both Japan, which is already discountenanced by the rise of China, and Latin America, sluggish and uneven though progress there has been, should also be encouraged.

The conciliatory policy of all postwar American administrations, including the present one, has given the United States an ideal position to assist Europe to do what is good for Europe and for the United States. Europe should start by abandoning this banal and almost incomprehensible constitution of nearly 500 Internet pages. There is no sign that it is ready to do this, but if Europe has any real will to cohere, its elected and bureaucratic leaders should stop forcing the pace. They should take a leaf from de Gaulle, who wrote as the entire preamble of the constitution of the Fifth Republic: "The French people proclaim their belief in the rights of man and of the citizen, and in the principles of national sovereignty." If Europe's leaders are not guided by what Europeans want and what will work, the European project will fail.

Essay Types: Essay