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WRM in the WSJ
The Migration Crisis and Europe’s Crippling Doubts

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead puts the European immigration crisis into context:

What we are witnessing today is a crisis of two civilizations: The Middle East and Europe are both facing deep cultural and political problems that they cannot solve. The intersection of their failures and shortcomings has made this crisis much more destructive and dangerous than it needed to be—and carries with it the risk of more instability and more war in a widening spiral.

The crisis in the Middle East has to do with much more than the breakdown of order in Syria and Libya. It runs deeper than the poisonous sectarian and ethnic hatreds behind the series of wars stretching from Pakistan to North Africa. At bottom, we are witnessing the consequences of a civilization’s failure either to overcome or to accommodate the forces of modernity. One hundred years after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and 50 years after the French left Algeria, the Middle East has failed to build economies that allow ordinary people to live with dignity, has failed to build modern political institutions and has failed to carve out the place of honor and respect in world affairs that its peoples seek.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the Great Wave of immigration from the Middle East and North Africa is crashing into a continent beset with its own problems:

In Europe and the West, the crisis is quieter but no less profound. Europe today often doesn’t seem to know where it is going, what Western civilization is for, or even whether or how it can or should be defended. Increasingly, the contemporary version of Enlightenment liberalism sees itself as fundamentally opposed to the religious, political and economic foundations of Western society. Liberal values such as free expression, individual self-determination and a broad array of human rights have become detached in the minds of many from the institutional and civilizational context that shaped them.

Capitalism, the social engine without which neither Europe nor the U.S. would have the wealth or strength to embrace liberal values with any hope of success, is often seen as a cruel, anti-human system that is leading the world to a Malthusian climate catastrophe. Military strength, without which the liberal states would be overwhelmed, is regarded with suspicion in the U.S. and with abhorrence in much of Europe. Too many people in the West interpret pluralism and tolerance in ways that forbid or unrealistically constrain the active defense of these values against illiberal states like Russia or illiberal movements like radical Islam.

Europe’s approach to the migration crisis brings these failures into sharp relief. The European Union bureaucracy in Brussels has erected a set of legal doctrines stated in terms of absolute right and has tried to build policy on this basis. Taking its cue from the U.N.’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other ambitious declarations and treaties, the EU holds that qualified applicants have an absolute human right to asylum. European bureaucrats tend to see asylum as a legal question, not a political one, and they expect political authorities to implement the legal mandate, not quibble with it or constrain it.

As ever, we highly recommend you read the whole thing.

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  • Anthony

    For additional elaboration see “The Migrants and the Elites”:

  • Boritz

    “the Middle East has failed to build economies that allow ordinary people to live with dignity”

    Like a welfare state that caretakes from the cradle to the grave. Oh wait, that’s not dignity either.
    The post does a good job of comparing the clash and how both civilizations are, at this juncture, quite lacking.

  • mdmusterstone

    This is an existential problem being discussed and these
    articles are your contribution??!! The
    most harrowing question that a photograph, or any art or …an article… has
    to answer is, “So what?” And
    so I ask you as far as your article, “Indeed, so what?”

    And here’s an even better question, Australia
    solved this problem why, in your long list of articles are they never

  • wigwag

    Professor Mead’s Wall Street Journal article is exactly on target, but I’m afraid it’s even worse than he suggests. It’s true that the Muslim world and the western world are both experiencing their own versions of civilizational collapse, but the maladies of both civilizations are intimately intertwined. Why can we be sure that it will prove impossible for Europe to assimilate the hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring onto its shores? How can we be certain that the children and grandchildren of the current crop of refugees will end up as angry, alienated and unable to assimilate?

    The answer is simple; it simply defies logic to expect new immigrants to adopt European values and culture when European elites loathe their own values and culture. European elites are convinced that their own culture, history and religion (Christianity) are so appallingly racist, sexist, homophobic and imperialistic that it is inconceivable to ask new Europeans immigrating from foreign lands to leave their old ways behind and adopt that culture. If Europeans hate their own societies, Europe’s new immigrants can’t be expected to enthusiastically adopt the values of those very same societies. What is almost sure to happen is that the intersection of a failing Muslim culture and a failing western culture will produce a noxious stew that will be self-reinforcing and accelerate the collapse of both.

    Their was a time that the United States seemed immune to the pervasive self-hatred that is slowly destroying Europe. Unfortunately that is changing and not for the better. Our academic elites are now every bit as bad as their European counterparts; examples abound. For a particularly horrifying example, this article by Heather McDonald is a must read,

  • 11B40


    Islam is the millstone. It’s nothing more than the globalization of 7th Century A.D. (if I may) predatory Arab tribal culture under a thin veneer of religion. And if your plan doesn’t include constraining, undermining, or eradicating Islam, you don’t have a plan. WHat you have is a hope.

  • stan

    The professor nails it. The lefties hate capitalism and hate the military. That hatred is destroying the ability of western civilization to defend itself or prosper. Of course, Mead voted for one of the biggest haters and most destructive lefties for president.

    Based on his analysis and his voting choice, can we conclude that the professor desires the destruction of western civilization?

    • Terenc Blakely

      I wonder if he felt a ‘tingle’ up his leg during Obama’s first campaign, lol. What was it about so many so called ‘experts’ that they overlooked the glaring lack of Obama’s accomplishments and that his only work experience was that of a rabble rouser? Sadly, I think it boiled down to that they viewed Obama as a well groomed, non-threatening black man who’s election would be a sop to their race guilt. In other words, they elected an incompetent, narcissist for purely emotional, irrational reasons.

      Gag, worst political class ever.

  • WalterHorsting

    Europe has run out of other peoples money, have wasted 1 Trillion Euros on failed Green energy

    And now they are importing and paying for the Future Sharia Law governance of Europe. Europe needs to end the welfare state and force anyone wanting to be a citizen to work and be fluent in the local language and customs. Turn down Saudi’s offer of free Mosaics.

  • Terenc Blakely

    Western style socialist countries are all in a death spiral of low birthrates, cultural apathy and a lack of will to even defend themselves. They’ve only lasted this long because of the US and that is becoming a weak reed to rely on. When civilization becomes effete and incompetent the barbarians start circling.

  • JDsHandsomeSon

    Western civilization will experience the wrath of Mother Nature who does not tolerate any species unable, or unwilling, to care and defend itself. When a species regresses to such a point, She will send in a predator of some sort to start eliminating it. It may be a disease, or a stronger species, but something will move in to clear out the deadwood. The West has been decaying for a long time and Mother Nature is fed up with it. The rabid Muslim invaders will begin killing their hosts when they are settled in government funded houses and when their checks start to arrive regularly in the mail. This is righteous and just since Europeans and Americans have become too fat, lazy, stupid and cowardly to go on living.

  • bittman

    Unfortunately, the USA foreign policy makers need to start planning for the fact that Europe will most likely end up being a Muslim continent. The Europeans are not having children due to the high cost of raising them and all of the taxes they have to pay so that all of their entitlement programs can be funded. Concurrently, the Muslim population is very prolific and are recipients of Europe’s welfare and entitlement programs. As the Muslim population grows, they will become more involved in the politics of Europe and eventually (just based on demographics) will become its political leaders. Before that happens, or shortly thereafter, the non-Muslims will be forced to pay the tax Muslims require that all non-Muslims pay if they wish to live and are not willing to convert to Islam. The Jews are already emigrating. The LGBTU’s will leave also if they wish to live. The European atheists and Christians will be no safer than the Jews or LGBTU’s. The timing of the European transition will be greatly accelerated as a result the ongoing massive invasion by Muslim refugees — some of which are bound to be members of ISIS on a jihad mission. By allowing the refugees into their countries, the Europeans are clearly expediting their own demise. The rich Middle East countries recognize the dangers involved — that is why they are not accepting any refugees.

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