Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Will Europe Again Be the Central Front?

In the post-Cold War world, Western Europe has slipped in status from the era that they had a central role in the confrontation with the Soviet Union. NATO struggles to scrape up battalions and individual helicopters to send to Afghanistan, and could never endure the combat against savage Shia and Sunni jihadis and Baathists that we have faced for five years in Iraq.

Yet the problem isn't that Europe lacks heart. That has always been the problem. After two world wars, Europe truly was exhausted from war. And still is. But in the Cold War, Europe was the potential battleground. Whether exhausted or not, Europe would have to fight or die if the Soviets had lunged west.

So when we despair over Europe's lack of focus on the war against Islamo-fascism, are we (well, am I) neglecting the changes that can take place over time apart from Europe's willingness to fight?

That is, while the fight against Islamo-fascists is taking place on battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, will Europe once again become the main front when victories in Iraq and Afghanistan are solidified and as Pakistan is compelled to fight the jihiadis?

Consider that Mark Steyn worries a lot about the demographics of Europe leading to Eurabia--an Islamicized Europe.

I think that Europe will rouse itself for an ugly ethnic cleansing before that defeat can take place. Indeed, Europeans are being challenged by other Europeans to confront their problem with Islamo-fascists.

But perhaps, as Spengler writes, the struggle will be ideological and involve the taming of yet another "barbarian" invasion:

As I wrote in 2005, "Now that everyone is talking about Europe's demographic death, it is time to point out that there exists a way out: convert European Muslims to Christianity." Today's Europeans stem from the melting-pot of the barbarian invasions that replaced the vanishing population of the Roman Empire. The genius of the Catholic Church was to absorb them. If Benedict XVI can convert this new wave of invaders from North Africa and the Middle East, history will place him on a par with his great namesake, the founder of the monastic order the bears his name.

Remember, our fights in Iraq and Afghanistan are crippling the appeal of jihad in the Arab world. American openness and freedom have preempted the appeal of jihad here. It is in Europe where Moslems seem most ripe for jihad these days. And Europeans are starting to get fed up with their coddled jihadis:

Forty years ago last weekend, British classicist and politician Enoch Powell warned that if immigrants bringing alien values and customs into Britain are allowed to continue their immigration, a sense of alarm and resentment would develop in the indigenous British population. He was ejected from British politics for giving that warning.

But this week, the BBC published a poll taken precisely to measure public attitudes 40 years after Powell's famous warning (and after 40 years of the British ruling class ignoring the growing danger). Seventy percent think there is high tension between the races; 63 percent expect those tensions to result in violence between the races in Britain; and 60 percent think there are too many "immigrants" in Britain.

In a similar poll taken for the Davos World Economic Forum, stunning numbers of Europeans fear a "threat" from Muslims with whom they "interact": 79 percent of Danes, 67 percent of Italians, 68 percent of Spaniards, 65 percent of Swedes and 59 percent of Belgians.

I've always felt that Europeans will not sit back and let unassimilated jihadi Moslems take over their continent. With a bloody history, Europeans will fight back and win. And they will be brutal about it if they feel desperate enough.

But if Europe becomes a battlefield again in the struggle against jihadis, must it take the route of ethnic cleansing and violence? Perhaps just as the Catholic Church waged a war against aggressive Soviet communism in Europe during the Cold War, the Church will wage a new war against aggressive jihadist Islam in Europe. Perhaps Moslems in Europe will be assimilated after all, ending the demographic time bomb that Steyn warns us to face.

Is this too hopefull by far? Well, Moslems aren't immune to conversion, though Islam likes to insist that conversion is a one-way street. Kind of like a Green Brezhnev Doctrine. And just as our invasion of Grenada signalled that America no longer accepted that rule, perhaps the still-small level of conversions from Islam signal a new form of struggle:

Hamas has an image problem, and it's getting worse. It's gotten so bad that the 30 year old son (Mosab Yousef) of one of the Hamas founders (Hassan Yousef) has not only renounced Hamas, but has become a Christian. Mosab is fed up with the terrorism/"destroy Israel" approach the Arab world has embraced over the last sixty years. Mosad notes, as have many other Arabs, that this has not worked.

The conversion angle is something Moslems are trying to keep quiet. Mosab Yousef's father pleaded with his son to keep quiet about the conversion (which took place 18 months ago). The elder Yousef knows that this is not an isolated incident. Many young Moslems are abandoning Islam. Most do so quietly. In Iran, the clerics that run the country are shocked at secret police reports about a growing number of young Iranians who have, in effect, abandoned Islam. This sort of thing is happening all over the Moslem world, but especially in Arab countries. The people who switch to Islamic radicalism get all the headlines, not the larger numbers who just walk away from Islam are largely ignored.

If Europe becomes the main battlefield where the hearts and minds of Moslem residents is waged, Europe will again be in the fight against a jihadi foe that now only America and selected allies fight with vigor outside of Europe.

Will the Europeans join the fight with words or swords?

And will Islam, under pressure from a shooting war that has allowed the most horrible elements of Islam to be the public face of all Islam, itself stamp out the jihadis to stem the loss of hearts and minds in Islam itself?