Friday, August 19, 2011

An Arab Europe?

In The National Interest, respected historian Walter Laqueur has posed a most somber question: Is Europe headed for what he calls “a slow death?” Dr. Laqueur outlines several possible scenarios, concluding that “the scenario most likely to happen and least likely to succeed: a bit of reform and a bit of business as usual. The richer countries will help the poorer ones to muddle through. It may work this time, but it is unlikely to be sufficient to deal with the next crisis.”

Dr. Laqueur, who is Jewish, knows something about Europe: As a teenager, he managed to escape just before the Holocaust began in earnest. Both of his parents died in it. In addition, his academic credentials are formidable: director of a program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, professor at both Brandeis andGeorgetown universities, and visiting professor at Harvard, Chicago, Johns Hopkins, and Tel Aviv universities.

His analysis is sobering: “The outlook is bleak. But it is also true that nil desperandum, never say die, is a better guide to action than the violent changes in mood about the future ofEurope that we have witnessed over the years.” Well, that’s true, to a point: Hopelessness is no catalyst for confidence.

Yet hope not grounded in reality is mere wishful thinking, and Dr. Laqueur’s analysis disinvites realistic hope. But perhaps the most intriguing sentence in his article is this one: “Given its demographic weakness, Europe will need immigrants. To read more, click here.

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