Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Friday, January 07, 2005

It's 1938 all over again

At least one European, Matthias Dopfner, Chief Executive of German publisher Axel Springer AG, is beginning to realize that, in Europe, it's 1938 all over again:

Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to agreements. Appeasement stabilized communism in the Soviet Union and East Germany in that part of Europe where inhuman, suppressive governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities. Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo and we Europeans debated and debated until the Americans came in and did our work for us. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word 'equidistance,' now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians. Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore 300,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, to issue bad grades to George Bush. A particularly grotesque form of appeasement is reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere by suggesting that we should really have a Muslim holiday in Germany. What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians and directed against our free, open Western societies. It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than the great military conflicts of the last century -- a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by tolerance and accommodation but only spurred on by such gestures, which will be mistaken for signs of weakness.
Where I differ from Dopfner is in his belief that something will happen that will result in "the European public and its political leadership get[ting] it." I think Europe is too far gone. A strained analogy: if you get blood poisoning and treat it quickly, you can stop the infection from taking over; however, if you wait too long, nothing can stop the body from turning septic, with one organ system after another failing. I think Europe no longer has a localized appeasement infection; I think the body politic (and the body social) is septic, and we're just going to sit back and watch a downward spiral. It always amazes me that, for several hundred years, Europe aggressively, and at great loss of life, fought off Islamic encroachments. (A little history is that the Viennese cafe originated when the Ottoman Turks came within striking distance of Vienna in the 17th century and, when beaten back, left their coffee behind.) Now, the Islamists are positioned for an almost bloodless conquest, made easy by the fact that the Europeans invited them in, and encouraged their most extremist elements (mostly by backing the Palestinians, thereby sending the message that radicalism, murder, genocide, and fundamentalist ideological rule are all okay).