The Spectacle Blog

‘Europe Won’t Fight’

By on 2.7.06 | 9:51AM

The prevailing wisdom, backed up at the United Nations, in the streets of Paris, and by popular perception, is that when push comes to shove in the clash of civilizations, Europe will not fight. And Europe will lose.

I have shared this fear -- fear because a weak Europe that allows itself to be overrun and brought to heel is a bad outcome for the United States and Western civilization. Not by a long shot am I adequately convinced that a round of terror bombings won't send Europe into a "we deserve it" spiral of preemptive surrender.

But we should recognize stiffness of spine when we see it, and ask ourselves just who we mean when we warn that "Europe won't fight." To wit: the Scandinavians, especially the Danes, appear largely impervious to the cartoon intifada. The Germans -- ruling pacifists of Europe -- have taken the lead on the continent in speaking up for free speech, in keeping with Merkel's strongest of stands on kidnapping blackmail in Iraq. One does not expect Central Europe, including Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, to go wobbly anytime soon. And Britain, of course, has made its position clear, despite its resident barbarist protesters. Finally, there's Turkey -- which wants earnestly to be counted in Europe, and here deserves to be. The Turks are being very interested and very quiet. The birth of the modern and quite successful Turkish nation was the repudiation of Islamism as the mode of government. We need not fear a popular explosion there, and this alone sets Turkey apart in its neighborhood.

So what Europe are we worried about? France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Holland: these are the real points of vulnerability. And, unfortunately, they are enough to throw the odds on any European fight.

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