Clearly, the migration of Middle Eastern and African refugees into Europe is an extremely important historical event. Anatomy may not be destiny, but demographics often are.
European cultures have been trying to assimilate those who come from foreign cultures, with mixed success. America has always done better, though today’s multiculturalism has made the task more daunting.
One suspects that much of the problem lies in the numbers. If a manageable number of immigrants from culture X arrives in a new nation, it will be obliged to assimilate. It need not dispense with all its old ways but it will feel pressured to become part of the new culture. If a large number of immigrants from culture Y arrives in a new nation, it will reproduce the old neighborhood in the new neighborhood, will feel at home and will feel less pressure to assimilate.
Also, some cultures are more adaptable than others. Some immigrants avoid all forms of assimilation because they believe it a betrayal of their ancestors. If the new culture does not accommodate their behaviors, they will blame the new culture. Other immigrants embrace their new culture because they are happy to have found a home.
Today, Europeans are suffering a mass invasion of migrants from the Middle East. David Goldman, for one, is not sympathetic to the Europeans’ plight. After all, he notes, they could have sent troops to the Middle East to put an end to ISIS and even to the war in Syria. But they see themselves as peace loving peoples, so they did not. They are reaping the whirlwind:
The Europeans, to be sure, are a pack of cynical hypocrites. If they had cared about Syrians, they might have sent a couple of brigades of soldiers to fight ISIS. But not a single European will risk his neck to prevent humanitarian catastrophe. The last time European soldiers got close to real trouble, in Srebrenica in 1995, Dutch peacekeepers stood aside while Bosnian Serbs massacred 8,000 Muslims.
We like to think of all migrants as peace loving people looking for a better life. And yet, how many of them possess the skills to become part of advanced industrial economies? They have been fighting wars for years now and have become brutal and brutalized. Like it or not they are bringing social pathologies:
The social pathologies that this brutal and brutalized population bring Europe will change Germany in a predictably nasty way. Even worse, the open door policy will attract an order of magnitude more such refugees, as the Interior Minister of the State of Bavaria, Joachim Herrmann, warned yesterday. To no avail: Germans have spent the past seventy years feeling badly about themselves and are determined to take this opportunity to feel good about themselves.
Goldman believes that Germany is on a guilt trip. It believes that it has been given an opportunity to atone for its past:
The refugees have given the Germans the sort of frisson of good feeling that one gets from adopting a stray puppy. This one redemptive act, they seem to believe, compensates for the country’s criminal behavior during the middle of the past century. It is one thing to take in one stray, however, and quite another to find a pack of hungry dogs baying at one’s door. At that point one calls the dog-catcher.
Among the triggers of this mass migration is Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal... the one that major European powers signed on to. Now that the deal has elevated Iran into a major power and provided it with the funds to wreak havoc across the region, the war between Shia and Sunni looks to be unstoppable:
The international recognition of Iran as a major regional power in the P5+1 nuclear deal will persuade the Sunni states to use whatever instruments are handy to contain Iranian power, including ISIS and assorted al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Iran’s $150 billion windfall under the nuclear deal will allow Tehran to increase its support for the Assad regime in Syria, for Hezbollah in Lebanon, for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and other Shi’ite elements that it has cultivated as cat’s paws. The Sunnis will respond in kind. Turkey, meanwhile, will redouble its efforts to crush the nascent Kurdish state emerging on its border in Iraq and Syria. Europe supported the P5+1 deal in part because it was the path of least resistance, and in part because it hoped to make money once the Iran sanctions were lifted. It will pay a big price for its sloth and cynicism.
For his part, Bret Stephens takes a more philosophical look at the situation this morning in the Wall Street Journal:
How did this happen? We mistook a holiday from history for the end of it. We built a fenceless world on the wrong set of assumptions about the future. We wanted a new liberal order—one with a lot of liberalism and not a lot of order. We wanted to be a generous civilization without doing the things required to be a prosperous one.
Europe decided that peace and love were their guiding principles. They attacked the so-called militarism of the USA. They were anti-war, no matter what. They decided to adopt socialism light, and become the most benevolent of states. They ignored the fact that they could indulge this luxury because they were an American military protectorate.
In 2003 the political theorist Robert Kagan wrote a thoughtful book, “Of Paradise and Power,” in which he took stock of the philosophical divide between Americans and Europeans. Americans, he wrote, inhabited the world of Thomas Hobbes,in which “true security and the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might.”
Europeans, by contrast, lived in the world of Immanuel Kant, in which “perpetual peace” was guaranteed by a set of cultural conventions, consensually agreed rules and a belief in the virtues of social solidarity overseen by a redistributive state.
But then something changed. America elected a president who adopted the Kantian view, who aspired to turn his nation into a European welfare state, and who eschewed the use military force.
These differences didn’t matter much as long as they were confined to panel discussions at Davos. Then came the presidency of Barack Obama,which has adopted the Kantian view. For seven years, the U.S. and Europe have largely been on the same side—the European side—of most of the big issues, especially in the Mideast: getting out of Iraq, drawing down in Afghanistan, lightly intervening in Libya, staying out of Syria, making up with Iran.
And, of course, liberal elites believe that we are all citizens of the world, that nationality does not matter, that all cultures are of equal value and that when someone, somewhere is hurting, we must rush to help. They do not believe in fighting and defeating evil; they do believe in humanitarianism for all.
Victor Davis Hanson explains this aspect of the problem:
Westerners are hoist on their own petards of “fairness” and “equality” in the age of globalization and instant communications: If Sudanese or Oaxacans are deprived of free annual check-ups or are in need of climate-change instruction, then Brussels and Washington are just as culpable for their plight as if they had shorted their own Slovakians or Alabamans.
Elites who are exempt by virtue of their money and influence from the consequences of living among millions of displaced Africans, Arabs, or Latin Americans berate ad nauseam their less-well-connected, supposedly illiberal fellow citizens. But note that no elite Westerner wants to face the cause of the malady: namely, that the failure in the Third World to adopt Western ideas of consensual government, equality between the sexes, free-market capitalism, individual liberty, and transparent meritocracy logically leads to mayhem and poverty.
Now, we are expecting that people who have never adopted Western ideas, who have been acculturated in anti-Western and anti-Judeo-Christian thought are going to become immediately Westernized.
The elite radical intellectuals who hate Western civilization are not unhappy. This new migrant invasion that will spell the end to the West.