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Friday, June 03, 2005

Europe in decline

Opinion - Gerard Baker US Editor Times Online:

Out here, beyond the lights winking from the grand mansions that hug the Asian shoreline, begins the vast land mass into which the founders of Western civilisation poured in search of treasure and conquest. Millennia later, to the demoralised successors of those same enterprising Europeans, the traffic seems all the other way. Asia offers only threat, not promise; the future one of outsourced telemarketers in India and offshore manufacturing in China. From here, too, at a more mortal crisis in Europe’s history, the Ottoman Empire stretched to every point of the compass, around the Black Sea, across the Middle East, into North Africa and deeper and deeper into a collapsing Europe. Today, it seems that the Caliph’s successors are reclaiming that territory, only this time moving more or less unopposed towards their goal.
The article goes on to discuss the problems Europe is facing and their causes. I think one of the biggest causes, and the reason Turkey is a threat rather than the salvation of Europe, is the lack of integration in Europe itself. A Turk can come to America and become an American. A Turk who goes to the Netherlands, that model of tolerance, will always remain a Turk. Even if he adopts Dutch language and culture, he is still a Turk, not a Dutchman. This is of course not unique to Europe, most of the world has the same relationship with immigrants. In a globalized world though, this is a huge weakness. I expect that some of Japan's economic issues are connected to this issue as well.


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