Europe Was Yesterday

By Harriss, Joseph A. | The American Spectator, October 2007 | Go to article overview

Europe Was Yesterday


Harriss, Joseph A., The American Spectator


Europe Was Yesterday The Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent By Walter Laqueur (THOMAS DUNNE BOOKS/ST. MARTIN'S PRESS, 243 pages, $25.95)

Reviewed by Joseph A. Harriss

OFTEN DECLARED IN ITS DEATH THROES Over the last 200 years, Europe has been a long time dying. France in particular, bled white by Napoleon's wars, was considered down for the count following its defeat by the Prussians in 1871, and again after the humiliating capitulation of 1940. Twentiethcentury European historians and philosophers from Oswald Spengler to Jean-Paul Sartre saw no future for it following the determined destruction and mass slaughter ofthat century's two European wars. More recently articles with titles like "The End of Europe" and "The Decline and Fall of Europe" have appeared regularly in the U.S. media. But Europe has continued to show signs of life, creating seeming prosperity and welfare for all, plus six-week vacations.

Still, what if an insidious cancer, long ignored, covered by taboos, too late detected, really did threaten the Old World? Could the obvious exhaustion of Europe's creative juices-virtually all its popular culture today comes from America-its second-rate universities, high unemployment, hand-out mentality, and rising violent crime be the signs of a deep-seated malaise? From being the world's leader in 1900, when it boasted far-flung colonies, great military power, the strongest economy, and a population six times that of the United States, is it destined to become "a cultural theme park, a kind of Disneyland on a level of a certain sophistication for well-to-do visitors from China and India"?

These are the questions that the veteran historian Walter Laqueur poses in his latest work. European-born, polyglot author of more than 20 learned books, mostly about Europe and, lately, terrorism, Laqueur has taught at Georgetown, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins, and chaired the International Research Council of Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies. After observing Europe professionally for 40-odd years, he decided that it was time, he writes, "for a summing up, as the Europe I have known is in the process of disappearing.... The general direction seems to be clear, and it is not one that fills my heart with great joy.... I hope it will be more than that of a museum."

Recent developments seem to have changed Laqueur's mind considerably. The rosy picture he painted 15 years ago in his Europe in Our Time was full of praise. "The history of postwar Europe," he wrote then, "unlike many other periods in the history of the continent, reads almost like a Hollywood movie of the old-fashioned kind, with all kinds of tensions and conflict but a strikingly happy ending." A spirit of freedom reigned, it had become a civilian superpower and once more a partner in world leadership. He devoted barely two pages to problems posed by new immigrants. Muslim fundamentalism got short shrift. Terrorism was the homegrown variety of Basques, IRA, and Italian Red Brigades, not Islamic jihadists.

That was yesterday. Today Laqueur finds the European economy plagued by slow growth and high taxes, while the European Union is stumbling and trying to find a second wind after the failure of its draft constitution and ill-considered enlargement to 27 members. But what makes Laqueur despair of Europe's future are its demographic decline in the face of uncontrolled immigration, and the turbulent rise of militant Islam.

To illustrate the fast-changing face of Europe, Laqueur takes us on a brief tour of cities and towns being transformed. In Brussels he notes that over half of the children born in 2004 were of immigrant, mainly North African, parents. Bangladeshis are taking over the East End of London, a.k.a. Londonistan, while in Germany's Ruhr over half of the cohort under 30 will soon be non-German, mainly Turkish, in origin. (Note to travelers: A world atlas published by London's Times carefully identifies the country's language as German and Turkish. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Europe Was Yesterday
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.