Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Recognizing the Problem

Mathias Doepfner, chief executive of German media group Axel Springer, writes the following withering essay in The Australian:
Let's face facts, Europe's being run by cowards
Europe, your family name is appeasement. That phrase resonates because it is so terribly true.
This hypocrisy continues even as it is discovered that some of the loudest critics of US action in Iraq made illicit billions - indeed, tens of billions - of dollars in the corrupt UN oil-for-food program.

Today we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in The Netherlands, Britain and elsewhere in Europe? By suggesting - wait for it - that the proper response to such barbarism is to initiate a Muslim holiday in Germany.

I wish I were joking, but I am not.
What atrocity must occur before the European public and its political leadership understands what is really happening in the world? There is a sort of crusade under way; an especially perfidious campaign consisting of systematic attacks by Islamists, focused on civilians, that is directed against our free, open Western societies, and that is intent on their utter destruction.
Only two recent US presidents have had the courage needed to shun appeasement: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The US's critics may quibble over the details, but in our hearts we Europeans know the truth, because we saw it first hand.

Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of Europe from almost 50 years of terror and slavery. And Bush, acting out of moral conviction and supported only by the social democrat Tony Blair, recognised the danger in today's Islamist war against democracy.

In the meantime, Europe sits back in the multicultural corner with its usual blithe self-confidence.
Where does this self-satisfied reaction come from? Does it arise because we are so moral? I fear that it stems from the fact that we Europeans are so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.

For his policy of confronting Islamic terrorism head-on, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the US economy. But he does this because, unlike most of Europe, he realises that what is at stake is literally everything that really matters to free people.

While we criticise the capitalistic robber barons of the US because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our welfare states. "Stay out of it. It could get expensive," we cry.

So, instead of acting to defend our civilisation, we prefer to discuss reducing our 35-hour work week or improving our dental coverage, or extending our four weeks of annual paid holiday.


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