Europe, Politics, Russia, Security, Top Stories, World Affairs

A Europe Divided and Unfree

Since the end of the Cold War, Europe has believed it is more resilient than it is, and less vulnerable. It has indulged the conceit that it will never again find itself at daggers drawn with its Russian neighbor. In the European imagination, post-communist Russia posed no threat, a convenient interpretation that remained intact even after the rise of the KGB’s mafia state and the projection of Moscow’s imperial designs on its “near abroad.” At the 2007 Munich Security Conference, Vladimir Putin spoke of a “unipolar world”—meaning one dominated by the United States—that would prove “pernicious not only for all those within this system but also for the sovereign itself.” America’s “hyper use of force,” declared the Russian president, was “plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts.”

At the time, with an unpopular Republican president at the helm in Washington—unpopular, that is, in Europe, though also in America—Europeans extended a generous reception to Putin’s remarks. Many Europeans retained their traditional skepticism of American power and remained committed to the idea of a “different” European foreign policy, though few bothered to explain what that might entail. Sovereignty was the all-consuming interest in Europe in those days, and with US soldiers garrisoned en masse across the broader Middle East, European officials detected more danger in American unilateralism than unchecked jihadism, let alone Russian revanchism. More than a decade later—after Russian aggression dismembered Georgia and Ukraine, and a bloody foray into the Levant, and now the prospect of Russian aid for the Belarusian dictatorship—they might wish to reconsider.

Of course, Europe was then and is now highly skeptical of any use of force as well as the notion of permanent conflict. It is no longer the Europe of Napoleon and Bismarck, much less that of Plato and Thucydides. Instead, as Robert Kagan pointed out in his ingenious 2003 work Of Paradise and Power, it is the Europe of Immanuel Kant. Traumatized by the hideous experiences of the 20th century, Europeans have adopted a postmodern and posthistorical view that military force is unnecessary—immoral, even—in a world where problems ought to be resolved through the ambit of law. Thus Europe has tended to look on America’s abidingly muscular approach in world affairs with bitter incomprehension. Until very recently, Americans have hailed from Mars while Europeans—at least since launching the European Union—have resided on Venus.

It has become clear that Vladimir Putin is not, and never was, remotely committed to building a world of universal law. Indeed, the prosecution of permanent conflict against the West is a fair description of his life’s mission, first as a KGB operative and for the last two decades as president of the Russian Federation. The common thread of his career has been burnishing the allure of Russian autocracy, which has involved him in the suppression of freedom within and beyond Russia. Putin’s Munich speech was an unfathomably cynical appeal to Kantians in Europe to pull away from the Americans who, before the retreat from global leadership initiated by Obama and accelerated by Trump, still believed in defending a liberal order by the threat and sometimes the use of armed force. Rather than focusing on the liberal ends for which American power was generally marshaled, Europeans obsessed over the martial means—the same means, incidentally, that had birthed modern Europe in the first place after its two bloody attempts at suicide—which struck them as passé and perilous.

The European view has seldom posed much problem for America’s global position. In fact it was something of a blessing—for both the United States and the world at large—that Europe was no longer (to borrow Kagan’s description) “strategically relevant.” A Europe that beat its swords into ploughshares and re-discovered the benefits of commerce and culture quietly welcomed the American hegemon while it concentrated on promoting the cause of democracy and human rights. The beneficence of this order has long eluded those on both sides of the Atlantic who advocate a diminished US role in the old continent. The critics of America’s forward engagement in Europe have failed to understand the great risks of leaving the continent to its own devices: With astonishing speed, it might forego the modern habit of cooperation and revert to its historical norms of competition and conflict.

And a more immediate danger has emerged in recent years: the return of great-power rivalry between the United States and a revanchist Russia. This has made America’s political commitment and military presence in Europe as crucial as at any point in the post-Cold War era. The plausible threat of Russian aggression has exposed the dangers of European weakness and therefore of Europe’s continued holiday from history. But whether Europe will take note is an open question. The European approach resembles American attitudes in the immediate aftermath of World War Two, which Averell Harriman, the then-US Ambassador to the Soviet Union, characterized as wanting “to settle all of our differences with Russia and then go to the movies and drink Coke.” (Admittedly, in Milan or Munich they might prefer the opera and pinot noir.) As long as Russia’s power and ambition were limited and dwarfed by America’s stalwart commitment to European unity, this was a reasonable desire. What seemed prudent in a unipolar moment without great-power rivalry has become precarious when Russia looms as large as a source of trouble for Europe as the United States does as a source of help.

Although Putin adopted a disingenuous pose while addressing Munich in 2007, he was not wrong to be alarmed by the implications of a unipolar world for his strategy of overturning the post-Cold War settlement. That order may have been centered in Washington but it received broad and deep assent from across the European continent (arguably most of all in those proud but vulnerable states adjacent to the Russian frontier that Putin hoped to subvert and control). Unlike the Kantians in the audience who had bought into a theory of “perpetual peace” that presumed the natural evolution of man and history, Putin knew better. Putin understood that chaos, not order, was the natural state of humanity, and a return to chaos could be exploited by a Kremlin intent upon restoring Russian amour propre. The modern liberal order to which Europeans and Americans and many others around the world were so enthralled was an exception to the pattern of history that had been carved out by the supreme power of the United States. The liberal order had arisen on account of power and would, Putin knew, collapse on account of a withdrawal of that power.

This insight has made Putin eager to curtail American hyperpower, and seek to cripple the basis on which that power can be effectively employed. It is America’s comprehensive power that has always been the de facto guarantor of a liberal order that chafes against Putin’s traditionalist grievances with the modern world. Its support of the sovereignty and independence of NATO nations in Russia’s “near abroad” impinges upon Putin’s sense of Russia’s national interests. Given Putin’s ambition to increase the allure of authoritarianism and restore Russia’s old sphere of influence, he has had good reason to be apprehensive about America’s continued presence in Europe. The third Rome that Putin hopes to create will never be permitted to materialize within range of American armored divisions.

What is much less justified, though no less understandable, is Europe’s aversion to American leadership, and its deficient sense of responsibility for its own fate. There is some evidence that Europeans are becoming aware of the discrepancy between modern Europe’s strategic outlook and the preservation of European interests in an increasingly hostile world. In March 2019, the European Union demonstrated strategic foresight on China, labeling the communist regime a “systematic rival.” But its collective action against the Kremlin has been wanting.

The advocates of engagement have generally pointed to Europe’s dependency on Russian energy to justify this supine posture. But this is misleading. It is true that Europe gets a third of its energy from Russia in total. But Europe draws 80 percent of Russia’s energy exports, giving it considerable leverage over Moscow should it wish to exercise it. Even the threat of an EU boycott, or even a stiff tax, on Russian energy imports would make Putin’s people sweat. If it was paired with a program to promote human rights in neighboring nations and in Russia itself, rather than treating it like a cheap bargaining chip, it would undoubtedly alter the behavior of the Russian regime.

It’s been well said that Putin’s Russia is more revanchist than it is resurgent. With a staggeringly un-diversified extraction economy, it is dependent on high energy prices; its growth is limited by a declining population; its wealth is exploited as a colony by its own native oligarchy. In short, the Russian regime is committing immense sums to fortifying its military capabilities while the bulk of its population languishes. In geopolitical terms, then, Putin’s KGB mafia state is playing a weak hand well, thanks to the unlovely coincidence of a cunning Kremlin strategy as well as a distracted Western alliance.

It behooves Europeans to recognize that Putin’s Russia is not a respecter of national sovereignty, whatever was said in Munich all those years ago. And it is Europeans’ unrelenting veneration for that ideal while failing to muster significant power on its behalf that is beginning to threaten the project of a Europe “whole and free.” If Americans will no longer inhabit Mars, Europeans must begin to leave Venus.

 

Brian Stewart is a New York-based political writer primarily focused on US foreign and defense policy. You can follow him on Twitter @bstewart1776.

Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

Comments

  1. Europe is in the midst of reconstructing itself into a post-colonial Empire, ruled from Brussels. The main area in which members in the European Parliament are punished for dissenting views is for euro-scepticism, with those who oppose further integration of Europe most likely to be on the receiving end of a majority vote which runs counter to their interests.

    The announcement for the potential formation of a European army was delayed until one day after the UK’s referendum. Recently, the EU voted itself tax-raising powers in response to COVID-19. This is a power the EU will be unlikely to want to rescind. The biggest threat to the liberty of any European is the EU itself- with the unelected bureaucrats of the EU taking powers normally reserved for elected national politicians, unto themselves.

  2. Assuming that your premise is true (you fail to substantiate it, but for the sake of the argument, let’s assume it holds water), why would you call it ‘semitic’ and ‘anti-Russian’? Is calling the invasion of Georgia, Ukraine and theft of Crimea what they are, by their name, anti-Russian? Furthermore, why is it ‘anti-White’? Are Jews (that you call both ‘globalist’ and 'anti-White) some other race or colour - other than White? Also, are you sure that all Jews stand united under the same banner of globalism, White-eradicating masterplan, all 15M individuals?

    Secundo, assuming that the media is ‘Jewish’, what do you think we should do about it? It sounds as if this quasi-total ownership of the media by the Jews is something that we need to rebel against. If that’s the case, what is your solution? Should we take it back from them and by what means? Are all means on the table - like confiscation?

    The rights of the Russian people? What about the rights of the Georgian people? What about the rights of the Ukrainian people? What about the rights of the Baltic peoples? What about the (historically ignored) rights of the Polish and Romanian people? Where do they fit in this dog-eat-dog worldview of yours?
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it awfully sounds like there’s a Russian exceptionalism that the rest of the world fails to acknowledge. If that’s the case, should Russia have a free pass until it gets what is bound by destiny to have?

  3. Ok, I guess a thanks is in order for the lengthy and quick response. I am afraid that this went really fast into whataboutism territory, but heck, why not discuss this anyway?

    I don’t know what you mean about the Palestinians. Can you clarify, please? Syrians? Again, who infringed on their rights? I don’t understand this either, and I most definitely don’t get it when it comes to Lebanon.
    Who says that America or the UK should be white? Don’t get me wrong, I’m as white as white goes, but I don’t see any reason why one would claim that we should fight the demographics. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it sounds as if the White race has any preeminence and should be defended above all else - and that’s a very slippery slope, because the attempt to maintain racial purity tends to end in bloodshed and terror. Come to think of it, I can’t recall any counter-example when it didn’t.
    On top of that, the AA in the US make a small percent of the entire population (13-14%) and it doesn’t seem that the whites are bound to be displaced anytime soon as the majority; in the UK, it’s even less so.
    If your claim is whites should have the right to ‘proud’ of their race or ancestry, then I fully agree, provided that being proud of your race is something any sensible and rational individual should seek. I don’t understand why one would take pride in sheer luck - you don’t chose your race and you don’t get to piggy-back on the deeds of your ancestors. It’s what you do that should matter.
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the way things are going. It seems that Whitey has caught itself in a self-lashing loop, one that makes itself guilty by default and others the victims of eternal oppression. It’s the Western values that made the world a better place and I honestly think these achievements should be defended, but not because they emanate from said Whitey, but because they’revaluable and the best we have.

    Not true - Eastern Europe, Finland stand testimony to that. What right did Russia had to invade Poland, Finland or Romania’s Moldova? Even if that’s true (which is patently absurd), does US’ interference anywhere on the globe mean that Russia has the right to do the same? Are you sure this is the argument you want to defend?

    Maybe, but it doesn’t mean Russia should.

    Wait, what? Restrained to to its traditional lands? What the hell are you talking about? How are the lands stolen from Moldova, Poland or Finland traditional Russian lands? Even assuming you’re right (and you’re not), would you argue that the invasion of Crimea and the subsequent illegal referendum is the way to go? I don’t think you’re giving this ‘Russia has the right to grab the lands where the Russian ethnics are the majority’ argument enough thought. Does that mean all the countries should grab lands from other sovereign states in the virtue of their ethnic composition? I don’t think you understand what that entails, sorry.

    So, the Russian people is one Putin’s disappearance of the world stage away from insanity? Isn’t that rude to the Russian people itself, a people that never got to taste freedom and wealth to this day? I would argue that for all the suffering that Russian and Soviet despots inflicted upon the world, it was the Russians that suffered the most, even by the virtue of them being the most numerous people under their rule.

    Why not? Does one’s wrong (again, I’m conceding for the sake of the argument) give a free hand to another’s intentions? I mean, we can discuss Palestine all we want, but, whatever happened there doesn’t justify others doing equally or even worse.

  4. There was a time that powerful nations expanded their political power and influence (with military and technical means, railways, infrastructure) wherever they thought it could or was desirable, an endless growth and shrinking of national borders and empires, say, roughly uptil 1900. The countries overrun now had new masters and ruling and tax systems, often also dominant language and culture Then came Woodrow Wilson with his right on self determination, the new world powers only had to see to it that this was carried out internationally by the strong and weaker nations. Alas, the New League of Nations already soon crumbled. But what can we expect if such a hybridical construction is the new ideal??
    The US have tried for some time, Europe had mainly given up after WWII (though at times only after some desperate reargard action), Russia still is not quite convinced (and already in an early stage, in that League and the later UN, voted for decolonization, but against self determination of neighbouring nations, the Baltics, Orthodox folks and such. Also China and the Middle East are not firm believers and not so amused with the new deals (Uygurs, Tibet). I hear even sounds and voices such as cultural influence spheres , civilisation states replacing sovereign nation states, Putin’s Euro-Asian state/sphere!

    The worst situations evolve where people and folks think they have all the rights, but miss all the means and powers.Europe has made serious , naive mistakes here during the Majdan revolution in the Ukrain. How will it end up in Bela Russia? Has Europe learned ?
    BTW, there is nothing like a European civilisation, I can’t imagine a continent more divided (though not military wise) than the European continent, every nation has its own culture, food habits, priorities, history,jokes, sensibilities. Ask a Dutch citizen about the Duke of Alva, ask a Spanish one what he knows about the family, you get two completely different answers (about the same family and the same persons, though different periods, the Spanish most likely will mention a contemporary frivolous Duchess, the Dutch a martial general at the wrong side, the arch enemy). And this diversity means, of course, that an eventual military threat by Europe is no option. For that, one needs a single federal, non existing political leader, the missing volonte general of Rousseau.

    EDIT: yesterday in my newspaper, the man speeching on the Maidan plaza (the Dutch Hans van Baalen, chairman of the Alliance of EU liberals and democrats) made a comparison with the situation in BelaRus. he did not say to repent his Maidan speech of once ( " We are with you…"), and now writes that Europe, in such situations, Belarus included, has to " Speak softly and carry a big stick", Teddy Roosevelt’s words thus. He explains: diplomacy has to go with trustworthy military threat…Forgetting for a moment that in Kiev he spoke rather big, with no stick behind his back, big or small, at all.
    BTW, he was hiding again here behind the US back, because said that R.s words are valid for the EU, AND the US. Ohohoh…empty, idle talk, once more, no teeth, just mumbling. I hear Putin laugh…

  5. Oh, wow. Fair enough, I’ll admit that what I said is wrong and badly phrased(albeit it doesn’t look like you can even admit that Israel too has the right to defend itself as a nation). Is there any claim that the Palestinians have over what’s today Israeli territory and that the Jews don not have? Again, it’s an honest question and I’m curious as to what your answer is.

    Is this your level of sophistication, calling me a moron or a malevolent ideologue? Don’t you think that’s uncalled for? It’s obvious we don’t agree on any of the points we’re discussing, but that’s low, buddy.

    Let’s not presume stuff about each other - it’s useless and a waste of time for everyone.

    Nobody here argued that the Chinese people (or any other people, for that matter) should or would disappear, LGH - except you. You say that the majority US and European whites are under attack by an evil cabal of Jews and they’re supposed to be replaced by another race, but fail to bring any proof or reason as to why a handful of people (by comparison), all white would do such a thing. It’s like the Jews meet in the dead of the night in conspiratorial houses and plan for the replacement of the Germans, Yanks and Poles because they’re having such a great time with African Sub-saharan Blacks and Arabs. I’m not even sure it’s a good idea to discuss this lunacy, but here we are. Anywho, it might help you to refer to Hitchens’ and Occam’s razor, because what you say is poorly substantiated.

    No, I’m not and no, it’s not. Both the USSR and Russian Federation draw their raison d’être from the previous incarnations of Russia based on and with legal concepts and consequences. Why does Russia have a place in the UN Security Council? Why does Russia get to keep nukes? Isn’t it because it’s the rightful heir of the USSR?
    Also, you still haven’t answered my question: is what happened in Georgia and Ukraine/Crimea legal? If so, should all ethnically mixed states split along the borders you talk about?

    No, it’s not hypocritical. One evil doesn’t excuse another. Also, Western nations with a history of invasion and genocide against Whites and Christians? What on Earth are you talking about? Isn’t it the mantra du jour (mostly coming from the woke and progressives) that only the Westerners have a history of genocide against non-White, non-Christian?

    Is that so? Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been occupied by Russia with the subsequent displacement of minority Georgians in another country. Benevolent much?

    Care to give some numbers, since you seem to measure evils? How many did the US kill and how many did the Russians under various regimes?

    Where did you get your numbers from, bud? Sources, facts, you know, proof?

    This is so painful to watch, LGH. Get your facts straight, man, and come back with a better response - what you have is of no use.

  6. scroll scroll scroll scroll…

  7. Well, it seems that those rights do not matter or are not relevant as long as the Russian, Orthodox, Slavic purity is kept. Also, the rights of other people do not really amount to much if they’re at odds with the rights of the bully he seems to fiercely defend. Again, like I said above, it’s the Russian people that suffer the most because seeking ethnic purity is expensive and the costs are inflicted upon the very simpleton Putin claims to defend. As for rights to speak your mind, associate, travel, run for presidency, point out the faults of the regime, some other time. I mean, the guy only had 20 years in power - let’s cut him some slack.

  8. The opportunity was presented to forge a genuine friendship with post-communist Russia in the early '90s. It was blown.

  9. This is Arafat’s goal. The real meaning of it, of course, is for the Arabs to overwhelm the Jews and kick them out, as Arafat was clear about. It is the equivalent of wanting to “solve” the little problem between Nazis and Jews by having a binational state - half Nazis, half Jews. Or, perhaps a better analogy, to have the rapist whose goal is to kill his victim marry her. If they only lived together, I’m sure they’ll work it out. Needless to say such binational states failed everywhere, but that is sort of the point of supporting it: it is simply the desire to destroy the Jewish state in socially acceptable language.

    So no, I see little difference between @LGH’s views and yours, as far as Israel is concerned. Both of you deny the Jewish state has a right to exist, consider it illegitimate, and want it destroyed. You just say it in a different language.

  10. Well, one of the points of having a Jewish state in the first place is not giving an airborne fornication what people who hate you and think you have no right to live think about you being a “racist”. Oh, Israel is an evil colonialist monster and I am an evil racist? Too bad, so sad, your problem.

    In any case, back to the subject, what could have possibly made me think there is a remote connection between Nazism and Palestinian nationalism?

    הורדה

    Things have not changed. Here is the moderate Abbas, reading a moderate Palestinian newspaper, where a moderate cartoon shows a moderate Israeli monster moderately poisoning a moderate Palestinian baby:

    But I am sure a binational state will be fine. Abbas, after all, is a moderate. He is also an intellectual. Like you and me, he has a Ph.D. His Ph.D. is from Moscow University, where at the time, the 60s and 70s, the KGB was supporting many terrorist groups, Abbas’ PLO included. His Ph.D. thesis? It claims the holocaust is a Zionist lie.

  11. The US had a valid casus belli against Afghanistan, witnessed by the widespread international support in troops, after the invasion. The problems in Syria and the collapse of Libya were largely a product of the Arab Spring. Venezuela caused its own crisis by adopting Socialism- yes, the collapse in oil prices didn’t help, but they had already ruined their agricultural sector by attempting to give it back to unproductive poor people, and in almost every area of the economy, management had been handed over to useless cronies. Standard fare for socialism.

    It’s why shops in Cuba don’t sell anything and you have to queue for hours to get petrol.

  12. Untrue, although it might have been an initial concept, given many of the theories about civilian populations behaviour under sustained bombing prevalent during the thirties, which the blitz proved wrong. No, the real goal of the allied bombing campaign was to prohibit Nazi Germany’s ability to supply itself with both advanced war materials and the resources to run them.

    It worked. If we look at war production for the Soviets, the US and, to a lesser extent the Brits, in the late period of the war compared to Germany, then we can see that Germany never got close to the levels of war production growth experienced by these other countries from late 1941 and '42 onwards. They certainly should have had higher production figures. Their industrial base dwarfed mainland Britain’s whose economy had financialised, to their industrial detriment, from the 1890’s onwards.

    Although they were limited in some areas by raw resources, such as oil, they had the ability to refine aviation spirit from coal and to drastically expand capacity in this area. They also had Heinz Guderian and Albert Speer running the show, who both proved to be able organisers of industrial efforts. But the fact remains that Germany lagged behind in terms of production, even after Hitler finally ordered the shift from Consumer Goods production rather late, with a view to Total War. The only plausible reason for this lacklustre performance lies in disruption by Allied bombing. The campaign was so successful it caused the Germans to move many areas of key production underground- a costly effort doomed to failure at scale.

  13. I’ve followed your thread on Israel, and I see you highlighting many problems but not providing any feasible solutions. Since 2000, roughly 9,545 Palestinians have been killed and 1,246 Israelis- that doesn’t seem outrageously disproportionate given the asymmetry of their positions. I understand that it’s distressing to see the deaths of innocent civilians, especially children, but what alternative is there really when Palestinian terrorists routinely locate their bases of operations inside schools and hospitals, in a cynical attempt to create negative PR incidents, with which they can curry favour for these cause throughout the Western world?

    By far the greatest loss of life in recent years was in the 2014 Gaza Conflict. This BBC article provides good background to the period:

    The investigators also said Palestinian militants had fired more than 6,600 rockets or mortars at Israel, noting some armed groups had released statements indicating they intended to attack civilian targets.

    On the Palestinian side, 2,251 people, of whom 1,462 were civilians, were killed, the report said. That makes nearly 800 combatants- not a inordinately high ratio of civilian deaths, in terms of collateral damage- certainly closer to the Western model of imperatives for warfare, than say Russia or Saudi Arabia. Remember, the Western approach to the avoidance of civilian casualties in war is extraordinarily scrupulous by historical standards or by comparison to the types of efforts most of the world’s militaries would attempt.

    I also think that your concept of Israel as a Binational State is deeply flawed. There is a reason why Palestinian Leadership has always baulked at the prospect of a Two-State solution, or insisted upon an irrational Right to Return, when financial compensation for lost land would be a far more feasible prospect. It’s because they seek to achieve through diplomacy what force of arms has not managed- namely the dismantling of Israel and the expulsion of Jewish habitation and Jewish influence within the region.

    This article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali details the all-pervasive nature of anti-Semitism in Somalia, but it might as well be written about Palestinian attitudes towards the Jews, or those of any Middle Eastern country towards Israel. The elites in UAR or Saudi Arabia might be seeking some form of rapprochement with Israel, as part of a regional alliance against Iran, but the attitudes of the average man in the street are still just as likely to be filled with the same old bitter hatred of the Jews, unless they prostrate themselves in the position of the dhimmi.

    It never ceases to amaze me, the attitude of those sympathetic to Socialism. They never mind bloodshed if it brings about the revolution, but don’t seem willing to accept the blood price for preserving things in the far more humane, laudable and abundant situation which most Wealthy Nations find themselves in. The only real barrier for Palestinians to possess a country of their own, is that they peacefully accept the existence of a Jewish State of Israel in perpetuity. For many this would seem to be a price too high to pay.

  14. Whatever one thinks of Zionism, it couldn’t be colonialism, by definition, since the Jews who came to Palestine didn’t come from a Jewish state to create a colony to that state but to create the Jewish state precisely because the Jews were previously stateless. It is quite possible to think the creation of Israel was nevertheless a bad idea, but colonialism has nothing to do with it.

    The claim that the Jews were “European colonialists” brings a bitter smile to my face, since my grandfather and many others were kicked out of Europe precisely because he was not a European, being a Jew. As I see it, the “Jew! You don’t belong here! Go back to Europe, where you came from!” is simply the new version of “Jew! You don’t belong here! Go back to Palestine, where you came from!”

    I have not the slightest doubt that if just that does happen, if the Jews do go back to Europe, it will take about a week for the “not antisemites, just anti-colonialists” to become “not antisemites, just against stateless foreigners” and demand the Jews be kicked out again to where they (recently) came from.

    Of course this sudden switch would makes no sense, but antisemitism never does. I’ve got 2000 years of experience with this sort of thing, after all. There is always some excuse why the Jews - or the Jewish state - do not deserve to exist; at least, not here, where they are so unwanted.

    Besides, more than 50% of Jews in Israel are Levantine Jews, having been kicked out of their Arab countries, where most lived for centuries, in the 1940s as a revenge for the establishment of Israel. Funny how that is never mentioned by those whose every second word is “Nakba”. But the again, they’re the same folks who fall to sleep out of lack of interest when, say, 200,000 Palestinians are made refugees in a day by Assad, or 100,000 kicked out of Kuwait as Saddam’s punishment for something Arafat said.

    When was the last time you’ve heard an “anti-Zionist” mention that? They have no sympathy for Palestinian suffering - unless the Jews can be blamed, which shows quite well the real motivation behind their “humanistic concern” for the Palestinians.

  15. Phew. All of the comments I have read (not all, some skimmed) left me as someone from the UK feeling that the US people do not quite get Europe (or the UK). Your comments, and dare I say LGH’s, I can understand although not necessarily fully agree with.
    I’m not half as clever as anyone on here and can’t write anywhere near as well, but FWIW, the point you raised about immigration and how to ensure incomers understand the rules I can say something about.
    Very simply, it worked when immigration into the UK was around 30,000 net per annum. I’m not sure how many incomers that net figure involved, but it was a level that existed more or less through the late 70s into the late 90s. In a population of 60m odd it worked, the infrastructure coped and actually people became far less racist without everyone and his aunt banging on about racism. People in the US cannot comprehend this. They don’t have issues re size of country, a dominant pre-existing culture and one which really had minimal incomers for centuries whatever liberal re-writes of history might try to tell us.
    Then in 1997 Blair decided to “rub the nose of the Right in diversity” and opened the floodgates. Net immigration into this small island of 300,000 pa. And it simply hasn’t eased up. In fact since the Brexit vote it may even have increased.
    Now immigrants don’t assimilate or integrate as they used to. It’s much, much harder because many of them don’t really have much to do with the indigenous population because thay can quite easily just mix with their own. And the way we teach history in schools, few learn anything about anything other than the two WWs.
    I even had a young Ukrainian girl tell me she hardly ever spoke English and so liked chatting with me to improve her skills. I suggested she watch some English language films on TV. She informed she only watched TV in Russian. Then when I was blathering on about British history she nearly fell of her chair when I said something about the US gaining independence from Britain. No idea that Britain ever had an empire.
    Sorry, too long a post. But just to say we cannot have social cohesion at the pace of immigration we have had since 1997. It feels like it’s falling apart. Which is what the Brexit vote was about.

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