A Queda do Ocidente

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A Queda do Ocidente
« em: Outubro 20, 2006, 07:29:00 pm »
Um artigo (longo) que faz a analogia entre o Ocidente e o Império Romano e as razões da sua queda.
Para meditar...

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/feat ... rentPage=1

by Niall Ferguson October 2006 The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest. —Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, "General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West."

It was 230 years ago that Edward Gibbon published the first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a work conceived, as he put it, "amidst the ruins of the Capitol" in Rome. It was among the shining and still-intact buildings of another capital that I began (presumptuously, no doubt) to imagine a sequel that might be written: the history of the decline of the West, meaning that distinctive complex of beliefs and institutions which originated with the Greeks, was planted across Europe by the Romans, embraced Christianity under the Emperor Constantine, and crossed to the New World with Columbus.

The idea of Western decline is hardly a new one. In the aftermath of the First World War, a prematurely retired German schoolteacher named Oswald Spengler published the first volume of one of the most influential books of the 20th century, Der Untergang des Abendlandes, usually translated as The Decline of the West. These days, however, few people bother with Spengler; his prose is too turgid, his debt to the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche too large, his influence on the Nazis (for whom he voted but against whom he later turned) too obvious. And no one takes seriously his idiosyncratic theory that civilizations, like the weather, pass through seasons. In any case, events since 1945 have tended to discredit Spengler's central idea of a Western downfall. It has seemed much more convincing—and perhaps also more gratifying—to portray the history of the 20th century as part of a protracted Occidental ascendancy. "Much of the last three centuries," wrote the late British historian J. M. Roberts in his book Triumph of the West, published in 1985, "is the story of a triumph of the outright power of the West." But not only a triumph of Western power, he argued—above all, the triumph of Western civilization.

Just four years later, the 20th century appeared to culminate in a comprehensive Western victory, with the breakup of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. Famously, on the very eve of those events, Francis Fukuyama, professor at Johns Hopkins University, was moved to proclaim "the end of history" and the victory of the Western model of liberal and democratic capitalism. Far from suffering its downfall in the 20th century, as Spengler had anticipated, the West appeared to attain its historic zenith. Neoconservatives in the United States, intoxicated by their country's unrivaled status as a "hyperpower" and its achievement of "full-spectrum dominance" in warfare, wondered only how American primacy could be perpetuated for another "American century."

Yet in many ways this inversion of Spengler is a fundamental misreading of the trajectory of the last hundred years. Far from being a time of Western ascendancy, the past century has in reality witnessed something more like a re-orientation of the world—albeit only a partial re-orientation—and the relative decline of the West.

In 1900 the West really did rule the world. From the Bosporus to the Bering Strait, from Siberia to Ceylon, nearly all of what was then known as the Orient was under some form of Western imperial rule. The British had long ruled India, the Dutch the East Indies, and the French Indochina; the Americans had just seized the Philippines; the Russians aspired to control Manchuria. All the imperial powers had established parasitical outposts in China. The East, in short, had been subjugated, even if that process involved far more complex negotiations and compromises between rulers and ruled than used to be acknowledged.

Western hegemony was one of the great asymmetries of world history. Taken together, the metropoles of all the Western empires—the American, Belgian, British, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish—accounted for 7 percent of the world's land surface and just 18 percent of its population. Their possessions, however, amounted to 37 percent of global territory and 28 percent of mankind. And if we regard the Russian empire as effectively another European empire extending into Asia, the total share of these Western empires rises to more than half the world's area and population. This was a political globalization unseen before or since.

What enabled the minority in the West to rule the majority in the East in 1900 was not so much scientific knowledge in its own right as its systematic application to both production and destruction. By contrast, the empires of the East, from the Ottoman to the Qing, failed disastrously to modernize themselves. Their economies remained trapped in subsistence agriculture while the West forged ahead, colonizing and industrializing, devouring sugar and burning coal. Their tax systems were inefficient, forcing Oriental rulers to borrow from Western capital bankers. Eastern armies remained long on pageantry and short on firepower, while the West could deploy well-drilled troops equipped with machine guns and heavy artillery. Eastern navies stood no chance against the Western combination of steam and steel.
« Última modificação: Outubro 20, 2006, 07:32:04 pm por Luso »
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« Responder #1 em: Outubro 20, 2006, 07:29:29 pm »
Nothing symbolized better the humiliation of the East than the Western military intervention to suppress the Boxer Rebellion, in China, in 1900. The rebels, who had menaced Western diplomats and missionaries, relied on martial arts and magic. Having wiped them out, the Western expeditionary force staged a "grand march" through Beijing's Forbidden City and then undertook punitive raids deep into Shanxi Province, Inner Mongolia, and Manchuria.

Just a few years later, however, the East began to re-assert itself. Japan's defeat of Russia on land and at sea in 1904–5 marked a turning point in world history. From that point on, the balance of geopolitical power began to turn, slowly and painfully, back toward the more populous part of the world. It is only when the extent of Western dominance in 1900 is appreciated that the true narrative arc of the 20th century reveals itself. This was not "the triumph of the West," but rather the crisis of the European empires, the ultimate result of which was the revival of the East—beginning in Japan—and the relative decline of the West.

This has not been a decline in the sense that Spengler envisaged: a kind of corrosive metropolitan ennui. Rather, it has been an unexpected but inexorable military decline. It has been a scarcely perceptible economic decline. It has been a subtle but unmistakable cultural decline. Above all, it has been a creeping demographic decline. In short, it has been a decline in precisely the sense that Gibbon understood the decline of Rome's empire.

According to Gibbon, Rome fell through a combination of external overreach, internal corruption, religious transformation, and barbarian invasion. That the United States—and, perhaps even more, the European Union—might have something to learn from his account is too seldom acknowledged, perhaps because Americans and Europeans like to pretend that their polities today are something more exalted than empires. But suppose for a moment (as the Georgetown University historian Charles Kupchan has suggested in The End of the American Era) that Washington really is the Rome of our time, while Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union, is Byzantium, the city transformed in the fourth century into the second imperial capital, Constantinople. Like the later Roman Empire, the West today has its Western and Eastern halves, though they are separated by the Atlantic rather than the Adriatic. And that is not the only thing we have in common with our Roman predecessors of a millennium and a half ago.

II.

The Romans … had acquired the virtues of war and government; by the vigorous exertion of those virtues … they had obtained, in the course of the three succeeding centuries, an absolute empire over many countries.… The limits of the Roman empire still extended from the Western Ocean to the Tigris … but the animating health and vigour were fled.… The barbarians … soon discovered the decline of the Roman empire. —Gibbon, Chapter VII.

There is a well-established American tradition, perhaps best expressed by Gore Vidal in The Decline and Fall of the American Empire, of worrying that the United States might go the way of Rome. But the perennial liberal fear is of the early Roman predicament more than the late one. It is the fear that the republican institutions of the United States—above all, its hallowed Constitution, based on the careful separation of powers—could be corrupted by the ambitions of an imperial presidency. Every time a commander in chief attempts to increase the power of the executive branch, pleading wartime exigency, there is a predictable chorus of "The Republic is in danger." We have heard that chorus most recently with respect to the status of prisoners detained without trial at Guantánamo Bay and the use of torture in the interrogation of suspected insurgents in Iraq.

Gibbon could scarcely ignore the question of the Roman republic's decay. Indeed, there is an important passage in The Decline and Fall that specifically deals with the revival of torture as a tool of tyranny. Few generations of Englishmen were more sensitive than Gibbon's to the charge that their own ideals of liberty were being subverted by the temptations of empire. The year when his first volume appeared was also the year the American colonies used precisely that charge to justify their own bid for independence.

Yet Gibbon's real interest lay elsewhere, with the period of Roman decline long after republican virtue had yielded to imperial vice. The Decline and Fall is not concerned with the fall of the republic. It is a story that properly begins with the first signs of imperial overstretch. Until the time of the Emperor Julian (A.D. 331–63), Rome could still confidently send its legions as far as the river Tigris. Yet Julian's invasion of Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq, but then under Persian rule) proved to be his undoing. According to Gibbon, he had resolved, "by the final conquest of Persia, to chastise the haughty nation which had so long resisted and insulted the majesty of Rome." Although initially victorious at Ctesiphon (approximately 20 miles southeast of modern Baghdad), Julian was forced by his enemy's scorched-earth policy to retreat back to Roman territory. "As soon as the flames had subsided which interrupted [his] march," Gibbon relates, "he beheld the melancholy face of a smoking and naked desert." The Persians harried his famished legions as they withdrew. In one skirmish, Julian himself was fatally wounded.
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« Responder #2 em: Outubro 20, 2006, 07:29:55 pm »
What had gone wrong? The answer sheds revealing light on some of the problems the United States currently faces in the same troubled region. A recurrent theme of Gibbon's work is that the Romans gradually lost "the animating health and vigour" which had made them militarily invincible in the glory days of Julian's predecessor Trajan. They had lost their discipline. They started complaining about the weight of their armor. In a word, they had gone soft. At the same time, like most armies, their fighting effectiveness diminished the farther they were from home.

Most of us take it for granted that the United States Army is the best in the world. It might be more accurate to say that it is the best equipped and the best fed. More doubtful is how well it is configured to win a protracted low-intensity conflict in a country such as Iraq. One sign of the times that might have amused Gibbon has been the recent relaxation of conditions for recruits undergoing basic training. (A friend of mine who was in the army snorted with derision on hearing that trainees are now allowed eight and a half hours of sleep a night.) Another symptom of military malaise has been the heavy reliance of the Defense Department on National Guard and reserve troops, who have at times accounted for about half of the U.S. contingent deployed in Iraq.

The real problem, however, is a simple matter of numbers. To put it bluntly, the United States has a chronic manpower deficit, which means it cannot put enough boots on the ground to maintain law and order in conquered territory. This is not because it lacks young men; it has at least seven times as many as Iraq. It is that it chooses, for a variety of reasons, to employ only a tiny proportion of its population (half of 1 percent) in its armed forces, and to deploy only a fraction of these in overseas conflict zones.

In 1920, to illustrate the difficulty, when British forces quelled a major insurgency in Iraq, they numbered around 135,000. Coincidentally, that is very close to the number of American military personnel currently in that country. The trouble is that the population of Iraq was just over 3 million in 1920, whereas today it is around 26 million. Thus the ratio of Iraqis to foreign forces in 1920 was, at most, 23 to 1. Today it is around 210 to 1. To arrive at a ratio of 23 to 1, roughly one million American troops would be needed. Reinforcements on that scale are, needless to say, inconceivable.

This is the reality of what Michael Ignatieff, the Canadian Liberal politician and scholar, has called "empire lite" in his book of that name. In theory, the American military is a lean and mean fighting machine. In practice, however, downsizing has left it with too few combat soldiers to make a success of imperial policing—a labor-intensive task that renders redundant much of its high-tech hardware.

III.

The tranquil and prosperous state of the empire was warmly felt, and honestly confessed, by the provincials as well as Romans.… It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption. —Gibbon, Chapter II.

You are still not convinced. So, you say, the war in Iraq is not going well. But what about the bigger picture? How can the West possibly be regarded as being in decline when it is so economically dominant in the world? Today the combined output of the six biggest Western economies—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States—exceeds half of total global output. Gross domestic product (G.D.P.) per capita in the United States is more than 30 times higher than it is in the economies of East Asia and the Pacific.

Yet the difference between the West and the Rest is much narrower than it once was. As recently as 1968, American G.D.P. per capita was 127 times higher than that of East Asia. By this measure alone, the gap between West and East has narrowed dramatically in our time. And it will continue to narrow. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the Chinese economy is growing at a rate roughly three times that of the United States. According to Goldman Sachs, China's G.D.P. will overtake Britain's this year. By 2041 it is likely to be the biggest economy in the world.

At the same time, the Western economies have vulnerabilities that have been largely obscured by the debt-financed boom of the past five years. America's gross federal debt now exceeds $8.5 trillion, and if the Congressional Budget Office's outlook turns out to be correct, we are just a decade away from a $12.8 trillion debt—more than double what President Bush inherited from his predecessor. Moreover, the officially stated borrowings of the federal government are only a small part of the U.S. debt problem. Ordinary American households, too, have gone on a borrowing spree of unprecedented magnitude. U.S. household credit-market debt has risen from just above 45 percent of G.D.P. in the early 1980s to more than 70 percent in recent years. The remarkable resilience of American consumer spending in the past 15 years has been based partly on a collapse in the personal savings rate from around 7.5 percent of income to below zero.
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« Responder #3 em: Outubro 20, 2006, 07:30:27 pm »
For demographic reasons, Americans need to be saving much more than this. According to the United Nations' intermediate projections, male life expectancy in the United States will rise from 75 to 80 between now and 2050. The share of the American population that is aged 65 or over will rise from 12 percent to nearly 21 percent. By 2050 the elderly-dependency ratio (the ratio of the population aged 65 years or over to the population aged 15–64) could double. Only a minority of Americans have made adequate private provision for their retirement. That implies that most new retirees in the years ahead will depend to some extent on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Today, the average retiree receives benefits totaling $21,000 a year from these programs. Multiply that by 37 million (the current number of elderly Americans) and you can see why these programs already consume 42 percent of federal outlays.

All this implies that the federal government has much larger unfunded liabilities than official data imply. If you compare the current value of all projected future government expenditures—including debt-service payments—with the current value of all projected future government receipts, the gap is about $66 trillion, according to calculations by economists Jagadeesh Gokhale, of the Cato Institute, and Kent Smetters, professor at the Wharton School.

Americans, however, are not just borrowing from one another and, in effect, from the next generation. They are also, to a vast extent, borrowing from foreigners. In all but two years since 1992, the gap between the amount of goods and services the United States exports and the amount it imports has grown wider. This year, the current account deficit—which is largely a trade deficit—could rise as high as 7 percent of G.D.P., or nearly double its peak in the mid-1980s. The result is a remarkable accumulation of foreign debt. Estimates of the net international investment position of the United States—the difference between the overseas assets owned by Americans and the American assets owned by foreigners—have declined from a modest positive balance of 8 percent of G.D.P. in the mid-1980s to a huge net liability of minus 22 percent today. In other words, foreigners are accumulating large claims on the future output of the United States. Around 20 percent of corporate bonds are now in foreign hands, and nearly 10 percent of the U.S. stock market.

These are largely hidden weaknesses at present. Yet it cannot be a sign of Western strength that the annual bill for Social Security in the United States ($554 billion) is now larger than the bill for national security ($512 billion). And it cannot be a sign of imperial vigor that the United States needs to rely so heavily on foreign investors—including Asian central banks and Middle Eastern treasuries—to help finance a foreign policy that currently has minimal international support.

IV.

The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished.… The name of Poet was almost forgotten; that of Orator was usurped by the sophists. A cloud of critics, of compilers, of commentators, darkened the face of learning, and the decline of genius was soon followed by the corruption of taste.… This diminutive stature of mankind ? was daily sinking below the old standard. —Gibbon, Chapter II.

Perhaps our most perplexing vulnerability, however, is cultural. Gibbon was acute in identifying literary decline as one symptom of a more profound Roman malaise. And if his barbed allusion to the "darkened ? face of learning" does not immediately strike a chord, then some of the other symptoms may. While "the corrupt and opulent nobles of Rome gratified every vice that could be collected from the mighty conflux of nations and manners," Gibbon wrote, "the most lively and splendid amusement of the idle multitude depended on the frequent exhibition of public games and spectacles." Orgies and circuses are not precisely the favorite pastimes of Western society today. But if you substitute pornography and NASCAR, the parallel is not so far-fetched.

Outwardly, it is true, the institutions that exist to preserve and propagate our culture are in good shape. Never has the percentage of young people attending college been higher. Never have American universities dominated higher education and academic research as they do today. Our museums and concert halls offer more exhibitions and recitals than the enthusiast can possibly hope to attend. And to enter any branch of Barnes & Noble is to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of books being published.

Yet beneath this upper crust of high culture there simmers a less appetizing stew. Few children read for pleasure. Most boys would rather fritter away their time on brutalizing video games such as Grand Theft Auto. Girls no longer play with dolls; they are themselves the dolls, dressed according to the dictates of the fashion industry. Endlessly gaming, chatting, and chilling with their iPods, the next generation already has a more tenuous connection to "Western civilization" than most parents appreciate.

Gibbon's argument against Roman "luxury" was in part that it sapped the empire's martial strength. Here, too, there is a striking analogy. For our culture's sedentary character—our strong preference for watching over doing, for virtual over real action—seems closely correlated to our changing physical shape. Gibbon's Romans became metaphorical pygmies. We, by contrast, are being transformed into actual giants. We are certainly taller on average than past generations, a consequence of improvements in nutrition. But we are also wider, since we now consume significantly more fats and carbohydrates than we actually need. According to the standard measure of obesity, the body-mass index, the percentage of Americans classified as obese nearly doubled, from 12 percent to 21 percent, between 1991 and 2001. Nearly two-thirds of all American men are officially considered overweight, and nearly three-quarters of those between 45 and 64. Only Western Samoans and Kuwaitis are fatter.
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« Responder #4 em: Outubro 20, 2006, 07:30:44 pm »
V.

The natives of Europe ? no longer possessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the sense of national honor, the presence of danger, and the habit of command.… They ? trusted for their defence to a mercenary army. The posterity of their boldest leaders was contented with the rank of citizens. —Gibbon, Chapter II.

Often fat and sometimes fatheaded, the new Romans of the United States are nevertheless less decadent than their counterparts in that part of the new West across the Atlantic, governed from the new Constantinople, Brussels. The United States remains a vigorously Christian country, thanks in part to the invigorating competition there has always been among its multiple denominations and sects. Americans also remain capable of a robust patriotism (though this seems to require regular foreign attacks on U.S. soil to be sustained). And—unlike the Romans—they still have a resilient work ethic.

Things are different in Europe. The Europeans have all but renounced warfare as a tool of policy. Their armies are puny, their weapons inferior. In some areas, standards of physical fitness are even lower than in Middle America. Take Scotland, the land of my birth. Male life expectancy in some parts of Glasgow is now as low as 54. There has been a 350 percent rise in alcohol-related deaths in the last two decades. About 13,000 people die from smoking-related diseases every year. More than a third of Scotland's 12-year-olds are overweight or clinically obese.

While Americans work, young Europeans are to a remarkable extent idle. In Britain as a whole, more than 5 million adults of working age—nearly 15 percent of the workforce—are now dependent on benefits. Nearly half of those have been living on welfare for more than five years. The reason these people do not show up in the official unemployment statistics is that many of them are counted as unfit for work rather than jobless. Every day, 23 more teenagers in Britain sign up for "incapacity benefit." This reflects a crisis of public education as much as of public health. As the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently pointed out, an exceptionally large share of British pupils leave school without any qualifications at all. One in six British adults lacks the literacy skills of an 11-year-old. It may be technically correct that the incapacitated are not unemployed. The reality is that they are unemployable.

Most striking of all, Europe has become the world's first post-Christian society. There was a time when Europe could justly refer to itself as "Christendom"; indeed, this was the most enduring legacy of both Rome and Byzantium. Europeans built the continent's great cathedrals to accommodate their acts of worship. As pilgrims, missionaries, and conquistadores, they sailed to the four corners of the earth, intent on converting the heathens to the true faith. Now, however, it is they who are the heathens. According to the Gallup International Millennium Survey of religious attitudes, barely 20 percent of Western Europeans attend church services at least once a week, while 47 percent of North Americans and 82 percent of West Africans do. And fully 15 percent of Western Europeans deny that there is any kind of "spirit, God, or life force"—more than 7 times the American figure and 15 times the West African.

The exceptionally low level of British religiousness was perhaps the most striking revelation of a recent ICM Research poll. One in five Britons claims to "attend an organized religious service regularly," less than half the American figure. And only 19 percent would be willing to die for his or her beliefs, while 71 percent of Americans say they would.

The de-Christianization of Britain is a relatively recent phenomenon, as British religious and cultural historian Callum Brown has shown. For most of the first half of the 20th century, Anglican Easter Day communicants accounted for between 5 and 6 percent of the population of England; it was only after 1960 that the proportion slumped to 2 percent. Figures for the Church of Scotland show a similar trend: steady until 1960, then falling by roughly half. As those figures suggest, British Protestants were not especially observant (compared, for example, with Irish Catholics), but until the late 1950s established-church membership, if not attendance, was relatively high and steady.

Prior to 1960, most marriages in England and Wales were solemnized in a church; then the slide began, down to around 40 percent in the late 1990s. Especially striking is the decline in confirmations of baptized children. Fewer than a fifth of those baptized are now confirmed, roughly half the figure for the period from 1900 to 1960.

Contrary to popular belief, it was not the British Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton who said, "When men stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing. They believe in anything." But he could have said it. Chesterton viewed atheism with the utmost suspicion. Those who disbelieve in God on supposedly rational grounds, he argued, merely become prey to pseudo-religions and superstitions. His neatest formulation was in The Miracle of Moon Crescent, where he wrote, "You all swore you were hard-shelled materialists; and as a matter of fact you were all balanced on the very edge of belief—of belief in almost anything." Evidence to support his point is now abundantly available in post-Christian Europe, where all kinds of New Age cults and irrational beliefs flourish. Otherwise intelligent people choose apartments on the basis of feng shui. They delude themselves into thinking that attendance at a concert will reduce poverty in Africa. They are simultaneously against poverty and against global warming, when it is precisely the reduction of poverty in Asia that is increasing emissions of carbon dioxide. Drawn to conspiracy theories as the ancients were to superstitions, some Europeans blame the U.S. government for rising sea levels (not to mention the 9/11 terrorist attacks).
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« Responder #5 em: Outubro 20, 2006, 07:31:06 pm »
With the decline of Christianity, Europe is also experiencing a rise in what politicians euphemistically call "antisocial behavior." The restrained civility that was once a hallmark of English life has all but vanished, to be replaced by a startling rudeness. Profanity in the street and on television has become the norm. Once, a lifetime ago, an English writer warned of a future in which the state would keep the population under permanent surveillance. Today, George Orwell's imaginary Big Brother is the name of a television series in which individuals volunteer for surveillance by the rest of the population. Far from being inhibited by their loss of privacy, they glory in mutual degradation. Shame has gone; so has civility. On Friday and Saturday nights, most English city centers become no-go zones where drunken, knife-wielding youths brawl with one another and the police. Another striking symptom of this new primitivism is the extraordinary surge in the popularity of tattoos, once associated with the unruly Picts of the Far North. In this modern decline and fall, it seems, at least some of the barbarians come from within the empire.

VI.

A perpetual stream of strangers and provincials flowed into the capacious bosom of Rome. Whatever was strange or odious, whoever was guilty or suspected, might hope, in the obscurity of that immense capital, to elude the vigilance of the law.… It was the just complaint of the ingenuous natives that the capital had attracted the vices of the universe and the manners of the most opposite nations. —Gibbon, Chapters XV and XXXI.

Nothing changed Rome more than immigration. The same is true of the West today. But whereas a large proportion of immigrants to the United States come from countries that were colonized by Roman Catholics and quickly find jobs in America's dynamic labor market, the situation in Europe is altogether different.

The demographic transformation of the West has its roots in feminism. Legislation against sex discrimination opened all kinds of careers to women that had previously been dominated by men. At the same time, the ready availability of contraception and abortion gave women an unprecedented control over their own fertility. Beginning in the late 1970s, the average Western European couple had fewer than two children. Today the figure is around 1.4, whereas it needs to be slightly higher than 2 for a population to remain constant. Europeans, quite simply, have ceased to reproduce themselves. The United Nations Population Division forecasts that, if Spanish fertility persists at such low levels, within 50 years the country's population will decline by more than 4 million. The population of Italy will fall by a fifth. The overall reduction in native-born European numbers could be as much as 14 million. Not even two World Wars inflicted such an absolute decline in population.

Meanwhile, however, the combination of relative poverty and religious revival had a very different effect on Europe's southern and eastern neighbors. Since the 1950s, according to U.N. figures, the crude birthrate in seven of the Muslim countries to the south and east of the Mediterranean—Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria—has been two or three times the European average. The gap between Pakistan and Britain has been even wider. The total number of children per woman in Britain today is around 1.7. The latest figure for Pakistan, one of the principal sources of immigrants to Britain, is 4.3.

The first wave of immigration to Europe after World War II was a post-imperial phenomenon; people from former colonies migrated in response to apparent labor shortages. Many family members later followed. Now, as European societies age, they are attracting immigrants from rather closer to home—from Eastern Europe especially—but the flow from the Muslim periphery continues, much of it illegal. The trouble is that many of the newcomers are moving to residential ghettos with miserable economic prospects. In France, the Western European country with the largest Muslim population, the unemployment rate among foreign-born residents is more than twice the national average, which, at 9 percent, is already high enough.

Today, around 20 million Muslims make their home in the European Union, and that number is certain to rise, even if Middle East expert Bernard Lewis's recent prophecy—that Muslims would be a majority in Europe by the end of the 21st century—surely goes too far. Fouad Ajami, director of the Middle East Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University, is more realistic when he anticipates that Muslim "colonization" will continue to be concentrated in certain regions of Europe, just as it was when the Moors ruled southern Spain (which they did from the 8th to the 15th century), or when the Ottomans ruled the Balkans (from the 14th to the 19th).

Those historic parallels are a reminder that Islam played a crucial role in Gibbon's explanation of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. For it was Islam that struck a heavy blow to what remained of the Roman Empire in the West when the Moors advanced into France as far as Poitiers, where they were finally halted, in 732. And it was again Islam which finally decapitated what remained of the empire in the East when the Turks sacked Constantinople in 1453.
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« Responder #6 em: Outubro 20, 2006, 07:31:32 pm »
Gibbon's account of monotheism is certainly the most controversial part of his great work. It was the spread of Christianity within the Roman world, he argues in the notorious 15th chapter of The Decline and Fall, that tended to dilute the martial values of the Romans. Venerating the Virgin Mary was very different from venerating Mars, the god of war. Yet the monotheism of Muhammad had a very different character from that of Christianity. Islam, in Gibbon's account, was always a belligerent religion. "The intrepid souls of the Arabs were fired with enthusiasm" by it, he notes. "The death which they had always despised became an object of hope and desire."

That passage resonates in our own time, when suicide bombers stalk our transport systems, dreaming of heavenly trysts with multiple virgins. The problem, as Europeans have come to understand, is that it takes only a few would-be martyrs within a single Muslim community to produce a calamity.

VII.

Gibbon called the decline and fall of the Roman Empire "the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene in the history of mankind." Could a still more awful scene be unfolding in the form of the West's decline and fall? For Gibbon, Rome's decline was the result of military overstretch, inner decadence, religious conversion, and barbarian invasion. To my mind, all of these are operating today to undermine what remains of Western dominance in the world. If the United States suffers mainly from the first and second, the European Union seems even more afflicted by the third and fourth.

A hundred years ago, as we have seen, the West could justly claim to rule the world. After a century during which one Western empire after another has declined and fallen, that can no longer credibly be claimed. Empires, of course, take time to decline and fall. Gibbon begins his narrative in A.D. 96; he ends it in 1430, more than a millennium later. Yet there can be no question that the pace of imperial descent has quickened in modern times. The longest-lived empire after the Romans was the Ottoman Empire, which endured for 469 years. The East European empires of the Habsburgs and the Romanovs each existed for more than three centuries. The Moguls ruled a substantial part of what is now India for 235 years. Of an almost identical duration was the realm of the Safavids in Persia. The Spanish, Dutch, French, and British empires can all be said to have endured about 300 years. The lifespan of the Portuguese empire was closer to 500.

The empires created in the 20th century, on the other hand, were all of comparatively short duration. The Bolsheviks' Soviet Union (1922–91) lasted less than 70 years, a meager record indeed, though one not yet equaled by the People's Republic of China, established in 1949. Japan's colonial empire, which can be dated from the conquest of Taiwan in 1895, lasted barely 50. Most ephemeral of all modern empires was the so-called Third Reich of Adolf Hitler, which did not extend beyond its predecessor's borders before 1938 and had retreated within them by the end of 1944. The remaining empires of the West are young by Roman standards. But by the standards of modern times, the United States—at 230 years—is quite long in the tooth. The day when the Capitol in Washington, D.C., will be reduced to a picturesque ruin may seem to us infinitely remote. History—including the greatest historian of them all, Edward Gibbon—suggests that it may come sooner than we think.

Niall Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. His latest book, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, comes out this month from Penguin Press.
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« Responder #7 em: Outubro 23, 2006, 08:00:43 pm »
Atenção que está em castel... cast... castelh...
Mas o assunto não é nada para rir: leiam!

http://noticiasdeeurabia.wordpress.com/ ... de-europa/

La invasión de Europa
Publicado por Augusto on 23/10/06

Cuando en una población los musulmanes alcanzan el 10% comienza entonces la violencia.

En 10 años la población musulmana en Inglaterra pasará de 2 millones a 6 millones. En Inglaterra ya hay 1000 mezquitas.

Londres se ha tranformado en la Meca europea, las autoridades calculan que hay en Inglaterra de 10.000 a 15.000 miembros de Al Gaeda, por lo menos 600 fueron instruídos en campos de Afganistan. En 30 años de 84.000 musulmanes se han aumentado a 2 millones . Estos musulmanes han dicho claramente que no tienen ninguna intención de integrarse.

Dinamarca: 200.000 immigrantes musulmanes , anti-israel, anti Usa y anti occidente. Son el 5% de la población pero reciben el 40% de la ayuda social. Son el 65-75% de encausados y culpables de violación en el país, las victimas no son musulmanas. Los dirigentes musulmanes no ocultan su deseo de establecer una legislación musulmana. En 40 años cada tercer habitante de Dinamarca será musulman. Los judíos son solamente 6.000. El gobierno pretende no ver el problema e impide cualquier tipo de actitud en defensa de sus ciudadanos, aun ante las amenazas concretas recibidas por los judíos en el barrio de Norrebrl en Copenhagen.

Suecia: Cada 22 suecos uno es musulman, Islam es la segunda religion en Suecia. De 9 Milliones de habitantes 400.000 son musulmanes. Se han perpetrado acciones antisemitas contra los 18.000 judíos que viven en Suecia como así tambien contra gente rubia y de ojos azules, tan comun en esos lugares.

Holanda: se admiten a los grupos terroristas por la falta de una legislación antiterrorista. Los Musulmanes son el 15% de la población. En 20 años la mayoría de los niños holandeses seran musulmanes. En Amsterdam, el nombre mas usado para los recien nacidos es “Mohammed”

 Alemania: 3 milliones de musulmanes. Un million en Italia; 800.000 en España; 500.000 en Belgica La mitad de los recien nacidos en Belgica son musulmanes.

11.000.000 de musulmanes en Europa occidental ! Entonces está claro quienes son los que organizan en Europa demostraciones anti-israelíeslíes y antiamericanas!

En Italia el 95% de los violadores son musulmanes , 85% de los asesinos son musulmanes. Para los musulmanes „limpiar“ el territorio de cristianos no es un crimen ya que ellos se rigen por la ley islamica y no por nuestras leyes.

 Francia En 1945 habían 100.000 musulmanes hoy son, 6 Milliones en una población de 60 Milliones! En 20 años cada cinco  franceses, uno será musulman y en 25 años seran mayoría. El 60% de los presos son musulmanes ! En todas las regiones se afincan musulmanes, africanos y árabes. La quinta parte de los nacimientos es de musulmanes  y tambien el nombre mas usado es el de Mohamed. Paris tiene el grupo mas numeroso de árabes musulmanes, fuera del cercano oriente! La mayoria de ellos se niega a estudiar o trabajar y viven de las ayudas estatales. 1000 musulmanes estan bajo observación gubernamental . 700 como violentos; 400 como extremadamente violentos . 95% de los violadores son musulmanes 85% de los asesinos , 58% de los asaltadores, guerras callejeras, amenazas a maestros y ciudadanos respetables. Hay 1000 Mezquitas en Francia. Oh, mon dieu?

En la UE viven entre 14 y 17 Miliones de musulmanes, si una pequeña parte de ellos decide librar aqui la guerra santa de Ben laden, nuestra seguridad se verá ante un callejon sin salida.

 Hasta aquí los datos estadísticos del artículo, que cada uno saque sus propias conclusiones.

Yo he perdido el sueño…

 Proximamente cón la situación en USA y Canadá.
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« Responder #8 em: Outubro 23, 2006, 08:46:43 pm »
E para quem diz que o Norte de África é "tranquilo" e "não há risco" de virar fundamentalista

Citar
Argélia: Pelo menos 31 mortos em atentados durante o mês do Ramadão

Argel, 23 Out (Lusa) - Pelo menos 31 pessoas foram mortas em ataques de fundamentalistas islâmicos armados durante o mês do Ramadão na Argélia, de acordo com um balanço hoje publicado no diário argelino "L'Expression".

      O Ramadão, o mês de jejum dos muçulmanos, começou a 24 de Setembro e termina terça-feira com a festa religiosa do Aid al-Fitr.

      As últimas vítimas registadas foram dois militares, perto da localidade portuária de Dellys, a 70 quilómetros a leste de Argel.

      Os militares seguiam numa coluna que foi atingida por uma mina accionada por controlo remoto. Na explosão, registada no fim-se- semana, ficaram feridos cinco militares.

      O ataque mais mortífero ocorreu no passado dia 15, quando oito guardas comunais, armados pelo governo, foram mortos numa emboscada feita por um grupo fundamentalista islâmico na região de Ain Defla, a 160 quilómetros ocidente de Argel.

      Pelo menos 17 dos 31 mortos pertenciam às forças de segurança argelinas - guardas comunais, "gendarmes" e militares.

      As autoridades atribuíram os ataques ao Grupo Salafista para a Prédica e o Combate (GSPC), que sempre recusou a proposta de reconciliação nacional do presidente Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
"Portugal civilizou a Ásia, a África e a América. Falta civilizar a Europa"

Respeito
 

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« Responder #9 em: Outubro 23, 2006, 09:30:22 pm »
E em Marrocos as coisas não serão assim tão lineares como parecem...
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« Responder #10 em: Outubro 24, 2006, 01:54:24 pm »
"En Italia el 95% de los violadores son musulmanes , 85% de los asesinos son musulmanes. Para los musulmanes „limpiar“ el territorio de cristianos no es un crimen ya que ellos se rigen por la ley islamica y no por nuestras leyes. "

"95% de los violadores son musulmanes 85% de los asesinos , 58% de los asaltadores, guerras callejeras, amenazas a maestros y ciudadanos respetables. Hay 1000 Mezquitas en Francia. Oh, mon dieu? "

 Porque é que eu não acredito nestes números?- Porque é que se formos às páginas oficiais dos ministérios da Justiça dos paises mencionados, estes nºs não estão lá?
 Porque é que estes nºs começam a cheirar a "cozinhado"?
 Porque é que subitamente estes nºs começam a lembrar-me uns FALSOS e infames "90% dos actores de Berlim são Judeus, 85% dos Banqueiros são Judeus, 80% dos Ladrões são Judeus, 90% dos violadores são Judeus" dito por um senhor Alemão que usava um bigode ridiculo, isto em 1933?
 Coincidências...

 Outra coisa, o texto da Vanity Fair é péssimo, e é péssimo porque se baseia num FANTÁSTICO  livro que tem o defeito de ter 230 anos e estar completamente ultrapassado...
 Para quem não sabe, a Roma que cai às mãos dos Godos em 476 é habitada por uns muito Cristãos, conservadores e MILITARISTAS Romanos (é engraçado mas os recursos, "o orçamento" se lhe pudermos chamar assim, que o Império consagrava às despesas militares foi crescendo ao longo dos séculos) , uma imagem muitissimo diferente da que a maior parte das pessoas têm...

 Senhores, como já escrevi numa outra board, o mundo Islâmico não é um concorrente estratégico do Ocidente, por muito que gostasse de ser, enquanto metade da sua população (a parte feminina) estiver afastada do tecido produtivo e dos centros de decisão, enquanto estiver tecnologicamente meio século atrasado em relação à Europa e aos Estados Unidos, finalmente enquanto o conjunto de TODOS os estados Árabes do mundo tiverem um PIB inferior ao Espanhol!
 Concorrentes, existem, mas estão mais a Oriente e creio que com esses conseguimos coexistir pacificamente, quanto aos Árabes já não estou tão certo disso...

 Portanto, a noticia da morte do Ocidente peca por ser um pouco exagerada...
 É engraçado, mas, esta história do fim do Ocidente surge de década a década ao longo dos ultimos, digamos, mil anos, pelo menos...
 O texto da Vanity Fair, com as devidas ressalvas, lembra-me uns textos medievais...
 

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« Responder #11 em: Outubro 24, 2006, 05:50:47 pm »
Sintra, procure Theodore Dalrymple, um médico psiquiatra britânico que trabalha com as classes pobres do Reino Unido e que já andou por esse mundo a trabalhar para os mesmos...

Pode haver alguma esperança porque ainda haverá alguma flexibilidade para inovar e ultrapassar problemas. Mas quando penso nos líderes que temos torno a ficar pessimista.
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« Responder #12 em: Outubro 24, 2006, 06:46:15 pm »
Também tenho dificuldades em acreditar em algumas das estatísticas.
Fazendo umas contas por alto, na Dinamarca, com o actual crescimento, dentro de 40 anos eles representaríam 9% da população e não 33%.

Acredito que o problema existe, mas neste momento ( e admito não fiz nenhuma pesquisa sobre o assunto) não estou a ver como viáveis os dados apresentados.

Eles parecem mais uma extrapolação efectuada por alguns orgãos de comunicação social, que agarram em estatísticas de bairros onde a maioria da população é muçulmana, estudam a taxa de crimes e depois extrapolam para a cidade onde essa comunidade está inserida.

É como se se analizassem bairros problemáticos na região de Lisboa e depois concluíssem que 95% dos crimes cometidos em Portugal são cometidos por africanos oriundos das ex-colónias portuguesas.

= = =

Posto isto, o movimento de pressão sobre a Europa é inegável, e ele não é exclusivamente de origem árabe, mas sim africana. O Islão tem interpretações muito diferentes para um sub-sahariano, ou para um árabe.

Mas há que admitir que o problema existe.

E quando os sistemas de segurança social são aproveitados para sustentar  familias muito numerosas, isso é problemático.

Os ocidentais, reduziram o numero de filhos, exactamente porque têm padrões de exigência para a sua educação, que são hoje muito mais altos.
Já uma mãe muçulmana de origem magrebina, cria as filhas para as "vender" a um bom partido, não tem problemas com a sua educação porque se as gfilhas souberem ler já é suficiente, e os filhos também não precisam de grande especialização no ensino.

Logo, fica barato ter filhos, e enquanto para um ocidental o sistema de  subsidios é apenas um apoio à educação das crianças, para migrantes do Maghreb, é possível criar filhos com o dinheiro da assistência social de países como a Dinamarca e a Holanda.

= = =

Fico igualmente espantado, com a aliança entre uma certa esquerda (em Portugal representada por partidos como o Bloco de Esquerda, mas que também se encontra no PS) e os movimentos ditos de "integração", que pretendem integrar grupos que não se querem de facto integrar em nada, mas apenas viver do estado social, criado por aqueles que os integristas islâmicos criticam como decadentes, mas cujo dinheiro não recusam.

Há que reconhecer que a Europa está metida numa camisa de sete varas, e este é um problema que tem uma solução complicada.

Nós sempre fomos um país com um crescimento populacional elevado, que levou muitos portugueses a emigrar, mas a queda nas taxas de natalidade é preocupante.

E acreditar que os emigrantes vão resolver o problema, não é a solução, porque se eles resolvem o problema da sustentabilidade da segurança social, podem ameaçar a nossa propria existência num futuro talvez não muito distante.

E é grave o absoluto autismo de muitos politicos, porque se ninguém fizer nada, isto vai acabar com partidos extremistas a despontar por toda a Europa. Eles estão a meter a cabeça dentro do saco.

Tragicamente, como o fizeram no passado.

Cumprimentos
 

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« Responder #13 em: Fevereiro 11, 2007, 10:09:14 pm »
Um texto longo de Hitchens, retirado de http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_1_u ... steyn.html


Facing the Islamist Menace
Christopher Hitchens

Mark Steyn’s new book is a welcome wake-up call.

In the prologue to his new book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, Mark Steyn sarcastically alludes to two people whom, in different ways, I know well. The first is novelist Martin Amis, ridiculed by Steyn for worrying about environmental apocalypse when the threat to civilization is obviously Islamism; the second is Jack Straw, formerly Tony Blair’s foreign secretary, mocked for the soft and conciliatory line he took over the affair of the Danish cartoons. The dazzling fiction writer and the pedestrian social-democratic politician are for Steyn dual exemplars of his book’s main concern: the general apathy and surrender of the West in the face of a determined assault from a religious ideology, or an ideological religion, afflicted by no sickly doubt about what it wants or by any scruples about how to get it.

I might quibble about Steyn’s assessment—Amis has written brilliantly about Mohammed Atta’s death cult, for example, while Jack Straw made one of the best presentations to the UN of the case for liberating Iraq. But it’s more useful to point out two things that have happened between the writing of this admirably tough-minded book and its publication. Jack Straw, now the leader of the House of Commons, made a speech in his northern English constituency in October, in which he said that he could no longer tolerate Muslim women who came to his office wearing veils. The speech catalyzed a long-postponed debate not just on the veil but on the refusal of assimilation that it symbolizes. It seems to have swung the Labour Party into a much firmer position against what I call one-way multiculturalism. Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed the shift with a December speech emphasizing the “duty” of immigrants to assimilate to British values. And Martin Amis, speaking to the London Times, had this to say:

There’s a definite urge—don’t you have it?—to say, “The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.” What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportation—further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan. . . . Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children. . . . They hate us for letting our children have sex and take drugs—well, they’ve got to stop their children killing people.
I know both of these men to be profoundly humanistic and open-minded. Straw has defended the rights of immigrants all his life and loyally represents a constituency with a large Asian population. Amis has rebuked me several times in print for supporting the intervention in Iraq, the casualties of which have become horrifying to him. Even five years ago, it would have been unthinkable to picture either man making critical comments about Islamic dress, let alone using terms such as “deportation.” Mark Steyn’s book is essentially a challenge to the bien-pensants among us: an insistence that we recognize an extraordinary threat and thus the possible need for extraordinary responses. He need not pose as if he were the only one with the courage to think in this way.

The most alarming sentences that I have read in a long time came from the pen of my fellow atheist Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, at the end of a September Los Angeles Times column upbraiding American liberals for their masochistic attitude toward Islamist totalitarianism. Harris concluded:

The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization [italics mine].
As Martin Amis said in the essay that prompted Steyn’s contempt: “What is one to do with thoughts like these?” How does one respond, in other words, when an enemy challenges not just your cherished values but additionally forces you to examine the very assumptions that have heretofore seemed to underpin those values?

Two things, in my experience, disable many liberals at the onset of this conversation. First, they cannot shake their subliminal identification of the Muslim religion with the wretched of the earth: the black- and brown-skinned denizens of what we once called the “Third World.” You can see this identification in the way that the Palestinians (about 20 percent of whom were Christian until their numbers began to decline) have become an “Islamic” cause and in the amazing ignorance that most leftists display about India, a multiethnic secular democracy under attack from al-Qaida and its surrogates long before the United States was. And you can see it, too, in the stupid neologism “Islamophobia,” which aims to promote criticism of Islam to the gallery of special offenses associated with racism.

The second liberal disability concerns numbers. Any emphasis on the relative birthrates of Muslim and non-Muslim populations falls on the liberal ear like an echo of eugenics. It also upsets one of the most valued achievements of the liberal consensus: the right if not indeed the duty to limit family size to (at most) two children. It was all very well, from this fatuously self-satisfied perspective, for Paul Ehrlich to warn about the human “population bomb” as a whole, just as it is all very well for some “Green” forces to take a neo-Malthusian attitude toward human reproduction in general. But in the liberal mind, to concentrate on the fertility of any one group is to flirt with Nuremberg laws. The same goes for “racial profiling,” even when it’s directed at the adherents of an often ideological religion rather than an ethnic group. The Islamists, meanwhile, have staked everything on fecundity.

Mark Steyn believes that demography is destiny, and he makes an immensely convincing case. He stations himself at the intersection of two curves. The downward one is the population of developed Europe and Japan, which has slipped or is slipping below what demographers call “replacement,” rapidly producing a situation where the old will far outnumber the young. The upward curve, or curves, represent the much higher birthrate in the Islamic world and among Muslim immigrants to Western societies. Anticipating Harris in a way, Steyn writes:

Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since World War Two? In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic age, you can’t buck demography—except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out—as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you can’t outbreed the enemy, cull ’em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.
This is a highly reductionist view of the origin and nature of the Bosnian war—it would not account, for example, for Croatian irredentism. But paranoia about population did mutate into Serbian xenophobia and fascism, and a similar consciousness does animate movements like the British National Party and Le Pen’s Front Nationale. (Demographic considerations do not appear to explain the continued addiction of these and similar parties to anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.)

Nor can there be much doubt that the awareness of demography as a potential weapon originates with the Islamists themselves. Anybody who, like me, has publicly criticized Islamism gets used to the accusation that he has “insulted a billion Muslims.” A vague but definite threat underlies this absurd charge, and in parts of Europe it already intimidates politicians. Gilles Kepel, the French scholar of Islam, once told me that when he lectures in North Africa his listeners often ask how many Muslims live in France. If he replies that he believes the official figures to be mostly correct, scornful laughter erupts. The true figure, his listeners say, is much higher. France is on its way to becoming part of the dar-al-Islam. It is leaving the dar-al-Harb (“House of War”), but without a fight. Steyn has no difficulty producing equally minatory public statements from Islamist triumphalists. And, because his argument is exponential, it creates an impression of something unstoppable.

Yet Steyn makes the same mistake as did the late Oriana Fallaci: considering European Muslim populations as one. Islam is as fissile as any other religion (as Iraq reminds us). Little binds a Somali to a Turk or an Iranian or an Algerian, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes—seeking asylum and to build a better life. A young Afghan man, murdered in the assault on the London subway system in July 2005, had fled to England from the Taliban, which had murdered most of his family. Muslim women often demand the protection of the authorities against forced marriage and other cruelties. These are all points of difference, and also of possible resistance to Euro-sharia.

The main problem in Europe in this context is that many deracinated young Muslim men, inflamed by Internet propaganda from Chechnya or Iraq and aware of their own distance from “the struggle,” now regard the jihadist version of their religion as the “authentic” one. Compounding the problem, Europe’s multicultural authorities, many of its welfare agencies, and many of its churches treat the most militant Muslims as the minority’s “real” spokesmen. As Kenan Malik and others have pointed out in the case of Britain, this mind-set cuts the ground from under the feet of secular Muslims, encouraging the sensation that many in the non-Muslim Establishment have a kind of death wish.

Steyn cannot seem to make up his mind about the defense of secularism in this struggle. He regards Christianity as a bulwark of civilization and a possible insurance against Islamism. But he cannot resist pointing out that most of the Christian churches have collapsed into compromise: choosing to speak of Muslims as another “faith community,” agreeing with them on the need for confessional-based schooling, and reserving their real condemnation for American policies in the war against terrorism.

This is not to deny Steyn’s salient point that demography and cultural masochism, especially in combination, are handing a bloodless victory to the forces of Islamization. His gift for the illustrative anecdote and the revealing quotation is evident, and if more people have woken up to the Islamist menace since he began writing about it, then the credit is partly his. Muslims in one part of England demand the demolition of an ancient statue of a wild boar, and in another part of England make plots to blow up airports, buses, and subway trains. The two threats are not identical. But they are connected, and Steyn attempts to tease out the filiations with the saving tactic of wit.

I still think—or should I say hope?—that the sheer operatic insanity of September 11 set back the Islamist project of a “soft” conquest of host countries, Muslim countries included. Up until 9/11, the Talibanization of Pakistan—including the placement of al-Qaida sympathizers within its nuclear program—proceeded fairly smoothly. Official Pakistani support for Muslim gangsters operating in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and India went relatively unpunished. Saudi funds discreetly advanced the Wahhabist program, through madrassa-building and a network of Islamic banking, across the globe. In the West, Muslim demands for greater recognition and special treatment had become an accepted part of the politically correct agenda. Some denounced me as cynical for saying at the time that Osama bin Laden had done us a favor by disclosing the nature and urgency of the Islamist threat, but I still think I was right. Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have had to trim their sails a bit. The Taliban will at least never be able to retake power by stealth or as a result of our inattention. Millions have become aware of the danger—including millions of Shi’a Muslims who now see the ideology of bin Laden and Zarqawi as a menace to their survival. Groups and cells that might have gotten away with murder have wound up unmasked and shut down, from Berlin to Casablanca.

Of course, these have not been the only consequences of September 11 and its aftermath. Islamist suicide-terrorism has mutated into new shapes and adopted fresh grievances as a result of the mobilization against it. Liberalism has found even more convoluted means of blaming itself for the attack upon it. But at least the long period of somnambulism is over, and the opportunity now exists for antibodies to form against the infection.

Steyn ends his book with a somewhat slapdash ten-point program for resistance to Islamism, which includes offhand one-line items such as “End the Iranian regime” and more elaborate proposals to get rid of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Authority, and (for some reason) NATO. His tenth point (“Strike militarily when the opportunity presents itself”) is barely even a makeweight to bring the figure up to ten.

Steyn is much more definite about the cultural side of his argument, in other words, than about the counterterrorist dimension. If I wanted to sharpen both prongs of his thesis, I would also propose the following:

1. An end to one-way multiculturalism and to the cultural masochism that goes with it. The Koran does not mandate the wearing of veils or genital mutilation, and until recently only those who apostasized from Islam faced the threat of punishment by death. Now, though, all manner of antisocial practices find themselves validated in the name of religion, and mullahs have begun to issue threats even against non-Muslims for criticism of Islam. This creeping Islamism must cease at once, and those responsible must feel the full weight of the law. Meanwhile, we should insist on reciprocity at all times. We should not allow a single Saudi dollar to pay for propaganda within the U.S., for example, until Saudi Arabia also permits Jewish and Christian and secular practices. No Wahhabi-printed Korans anywhere in our prison system. No Salafist imams in our armed forces.

2. A strong, open alliance with India on all fronts, from the military to the political and economic, backed by an extensive cultural exchange program, to demonstrate solidarity with the other great multiethnic democracy under attack from Muslim fascism. A hugely enlarged quota for qualified Indian immigrants and a reduction in quotas from Pakistan and other nations where fundamentalism dominates.

3. A similarly forward approach to Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the other countries of Western Africa that are under attack by jihadists and are also the location of vast potential oil reserves, whose proper development could help emancipate the local populations from poverty and ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

4. A declaration at the UN of our solidarity with the right of the Kurdish people of Iraq and elsewhere to self-determination as well as a further declaration by Congress that in no circumstance will Muslim forces who have fought on our side, from the Kurds to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, find themselves friendless, unarmed, or abandoned. Partition in Iraq would be defeat under another name (and as with past partitions, would lead to yet further partitions and micro-wars over these very subdivisions). But if it has to come, we cannot even consider abandoning the one part of the country that did seize the opportunity of modernization, development, and democracy.

5. Energetic support for all the opposition forces in Iran and in the Iranian diaspora. A public offer from the United States, disseminated widely in the Persian language, of help for a reformed Iran on all matters, including peaceful nuclear energy, and of assistance in protecting Iran from the catastrophic earthquake that seismologists predict in its immediate future. Millions of lives might be lost in a few moments, and we would also have to worry about the fate of secret underground nuclear facilities. When a quake leveled the Iranian city of Bam three years ago, the performance of American rescue teams was so impressive that their popularity embarrassed the regime. Iran’s neighbors would need to pay attention, too: a crisis in Iran’s nuclear underground facilities—an Iranian Chernobyl—would not be an internal affair. These concerns might help shift the currently ossified terms of the argument and put us again on the side of an internal reform movement within Iran and its large and talented diaspora.

6. Unconditional solidarity, backed with force and the relevant UN resolutions, with an independent and multi-confessional Lebanon.

7. A commitment to buy Afghanistan’s opium crop and to keep the profits out of the hands of the warlords and Talibanists, until such time as the country’s agriculture— especially its once-famous vines—has been replanted and restored. We can use the product in the interim for the manufacture of much-needed analgesics for our own market and apply the profits to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

8. We should, of course, be scrupulous on principle about stirring up interethnic tensions. But we should remind those states that are less scrupulous—Iran, Pakistan, and Syria swiftly come to mind—that we know that they, too, have restless minorities and that they should not make trouble in Afghanistan, Lebanon, or Iraq without bearing this in mind. Some years ago, the Pakistani government announced that it would break the international embargo on the unrecognized and illegal Turkish separatist state in Cyprus and would appoint an ambassador to it, out of “Islamic solidarity.” Cyprus is a small democracy with no armed forces to speak of, but its then–foreign minister told me the following story. He sought a meeting with the Pakistani authorities and told them privately that if they recognized the breakaway Turkish colony, his government would immediately supply funds and arms to one of the secessionist movements—such as the Baluchis—within Pakistan itself. Pakistan never appointed an ambassador to Turkish Cyprus.

When I read Sam Harris’s irresponsible remark that only fascists seemed to have the right line, I murmured to myself: “Not while I’m alive, they won’t.” Nor do I wish to concede that Serbo-fascist ethnic cleansing can appear more rational in retrospect than it did at the time. The Islamist threat itself may be crude, but this is an intricate cultural and political challenge that will absorb all of our energies for the rest of our lives: we are all responsible for doing our utmost as citizens as well as for demanding more imagination from our leaders.
Ai de ti Lusitânia, que dominarás em todas as nações...
 

 

Tempestade na Pérsia 'Achmadinejad versus o ocidente'

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Última mensagem Setembro 06, 2019, 07:40:26 pm
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