Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Crisis in Europe :: The Hudson Review

Crisis in Europe :: The Hudson Review

David Horowitz shares this last irritation. A sometime Marxist who told the story of his own political journey in Radical Son (1998), Horowitz is appalled by left-wing American academics and activists who claim to support the rights of women and gays but who, since 9/11, have romanticized, whitewashed, and marched alongside Islamic fundamentalists who reject those rights.17 As Horowitz underscores in Unholy Alliance, this partnership between certain leftist elements and Islamic fascists is founded not on shared beliefs but on shared hatreds (America, capitalism) and shared mindsets (puritanical, apocalyptic, utopian): “Both movements are totalitarian in their desire to extend the revolutionary law into the sphere of private life, and both are exacting in the justice they administer and the loyalty they demand.” Like Lewis, Horowitz recalls the historical connections between Western totalitarianism and Muslim extremists: “During the 1930s and after, Arab nationalism in Palestine, Syria, and Iraq modeled itself on Italian and German fascism. In the 1950s Arab nationalists forged military and diplomatic alliances with the Communist bloc and incorporated the Marxist indictments of the West in their own.” Later, the Ayatollah Khomeini won the support of Western leftists “by portraying his movement as a revolution of the oppressed.” And today, many of those who view Castro as a heroic David to America’s Goliath have little trouble casting Islamist leaders as valiant underdogs. Though Horowitz has been accused of labeling opponents of the Iraq War anti-American, he makes it clear that while he respects principled antiwar positions, he doesn’t respect those who deny the reality of oppression in the Muslim world or who glibly equate Western democracy with, say, the tyranny of the Taliban.

III

In their views of Islam, the authors of the above books differ on many points, but all of them enhance one’s understanding of the beliefs and prejudices that animate Europe’s immigrant multitudes. They also help one to understand why so many of these newcomers have so firmly resisted integration. But no book explains the European Muslim situation, in all its complexity, more ably than Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, in which an Egyptian-born Jewish writer who lives in Switzerland and calls herself Bat Ye’or (Hebrew for “daughter of the Nile”) argues that the high immigration and low integration levels are the result not of European leaders’ well-intentioned naïveté but of an extensive pattern of political, economic, and academic collaboration between the left-wing European establishment and Arab governments that has been underway for decades. The long-term goal of this collaboration is to bring the two sides of the Mediterranean together into a single confederated entity.18 Ye’or calls it Eurabia.

It’s hard to overstate this book’s importance. Ye’or would seem to have done nothing less than discovered the Grand Unifying Theory of Euro-Muslim relations. At first blush, indeed, her explanation seems too simple; one wonders whether she is peddling a paranoid conspiracy theory—a Protocols of the Elders of Brussels, as it were. But her documentation is thorough, her research apparently unimpeachable. At the center of her story is something called the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD), a joint initiative of the EU and Arab governments whose meetings are closed, proceedings unpublished, and activities thus “shielded from scrutiny and democratic control.” One result of the EAD’s efforts has been the institutionalization, in European media, schools, and universities, of a strict political correctness that has bred a reflexive antagonism toward the U.S. and Israel and that brooks no criticism of Arab governments or immigrants. Europeans, writes Ye’or, have unwittingly endured “thirty years of constant indoctrination,” and while most of them “harbor no hate,” a culture of animosity toward America, Jews, and Israel has indeed been thrust upon them and has, despite “the enormous gap between Eurocrat theorists and the European population,” had an inevitable effect, as manifested, for example, in the massive anti-American demonstrations that have taken place in European cities in recent years.

This Euro-Arab collaboration dates back to the Cold War, when French leaders, instead of establishing a solid postwar alliance with America in the cause of freedom (which they had lost to the Nazis and were in danger of losing again to Communism), became quasi-allies of the U.S. while steering a middle course between the two superpowers that they believed would restore something of France’s vanquished power and glory. As Napoleon had once sought to bring all of Europe under French rule, and as his nephew, Napoleon III, had attempted to establish “an Arab empire stretching from Algiers to Turkey,” so France’s rulers now aimed to form an essentially French-run European confederation with the entire Arab world as a protectorate, the idea being that France, as the head of such a formidable entity, could play a leading role on the world stage as power broker between the Americans and Soviets. Out of this cynical, amoral calculus was born the EU—and the EAD.

To be sure, obtaining an empire of sorts for France has not been the only purpose of either the EU or the EAD. In their dealings with Arab governments, European leaders have also been motivated by a desire to win markets, placate terrorists, and secure the European oil supply. To these ends, the EU has funneled massive amounts of money to tyrants and terrorist groups, has leavened the Euro-Arab dialogue with grotesquely inflated praise of Arab cultures and oppressive Arab regimes and with hearty denunciations of the U.S. and Israel, and has taken in and supported millions of Arab immigrants. According to Ye’or, Europe’s failure to integrate these immigrants has been absolutely intentional, the result of “special arrangements through the EAD for the preservation of the migrants’ separateness, particularisms, and for maintaining them under [the] jurisdiction [of their countries of origin].” Ye’or predicts that as the Arab population of Europe continues to increase, the Gallic dream of an empire straddling the Mediterranean will indeed come true; it will not be a European-led confederation of free peoples, however, but an oppressive Arab caliphate.

Eurabia is eye-opening and required reading for anyone seriously interested in understanding Europe’s current predicament and its probable fate. To be sure, I’d strongly question the implication that the entire European political establishment has been in on the effort to unite Europe and the Arab world, and to this end has labored to encourage immigration and discourage integration. As Ye’or herself admits, some European governments have, in recent years, actually taken steps to compel integration and stem immigration. While some European leaders may indeed be consciously working toward Euro-Arab fusion, one suspects that most of them are either irresponsible multiculturalists who refuse to recognize the consequences of the policies they’ve pursued or cynical operators who are somehow profiting by their actions.

As Ye’or recounts decades of behind-the-scenes Euro-Arab collaboration through dialogue, Kenneth R. Timmerman, in The French Betrayal of America, recounts decades of secret French-Iraqi collaboration through arms deals, kickbacks, and payoffs.19 Timmerman—an American investigative reporter who lived in France for many years—is no glib France-basher, happily acknowledging America- and Israel-friendly actions by France during the Cold War, mostly when François Mitterand was president. For example, Mitterand secretly assisted Israel when it took out Iraq’s French-built Osirak nuclear reactor, covertly arranged to keep strategic mobilization plans out of the hands of his Communist transportation minister (who would’ve turned them over to the Soviets), and, most impressively, shared with the U.S. a breathtaking trove of information acquired by French spies about Soviet attempts to acquire Western military technology. Though a Socialist, in short, Mitterand “chose America as his ally” and thus “helped President Reagan win the cold war.” Yet if Mitterand stood by America’s side in the confrontation with the Soviet Union, he rejected U.S. involvement in North Africa (notably the 1986 attack on Libya), since his country’s political class regarded that continent, a rich source of “commissions and kickbacks to French political parties,” as “its baronial domain.” Nor did Mitterand’s staunch cold-war support last: in the late 1980s, pecuniary considerations led him to “switch sides” on the issue of military sales to the Soviets.

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