is more optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than of Old Europe. Provocative, but not that wrong. Found in the
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Bicultural Europe is doomed
Three years ago -December 2002 - I was asked to take part in a symposium on Europe and began with the observation: "I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark."
At the time, this was taken as confirmation of my descent into insanity. I can't see why. Compare, for example, the Iraqi and the European constitutions: which would you say reflected a shrewder grasp of the realities on the ground?
Or take last week's attacks in Jordan by a quartet of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's finest suicide bombers. The day after the carnage, Jordanians took to the streets in their thousands to shout "Death to Zarqawi!" and "Burn in hell, Zarqawi!" King Abdullah denounced terrorism as "sick" and called for a "global fight" against it. "These people are insane," he said of the husband-and-wife couple dispatched to blow up a wedding reception.
For purposes of comparison, consider the Madrid bombing from March last year. The day after that, Spaniards also took to the streets, for their feebly tasteful vigil. Instead of righteous anger, they were "united in sorrow" - i.e. enervated in passivity. Instead of wishing death on the perpetrators, the preferred slogan was "Basta!" - "Enough!" - which was directed less at the killers than at Aznar and Bush. Instead of a leader who calls for a "global fight", they elected a government pledged to withdraw from any meaningful role in the global fight.
My point in that symposium was a simple one: whatever their problems, most Islamic countries have the advantage of beginning any evolution into free states from the starting point of relative societal cohesion. By contrast, most European nations face the trickier task of trying to hold on to their freedom at a time of increasing societal incoherence.
True, America and Australia grew the institutions of their democracy with relatively homogeneous populations, and then evolved into successful "multicultural" societies. But that's not what's happening in Europe right now. If you want to know what a multicultural society looks like, read the names of America's dead on September 11: Arestegui, Bolourchi, Carstanjen, Droz, Elseth, Foti, Gronlund, Hannafin, Iskyan, Kuge, Laychak, Mojica, Nguyen, Ong, Pappalardo, Quigley, Retic, Shuyin, Tarrou, Vamsikrishna, Warchola, Yuguang, Zarba. Black, white, Hispanic, Arab, Indian, Chinese - in a word, American.