Short Memories & Bad Attitudes
by Alan Caruba
19 March 2004
History teaches that the failure to resist despotism always requires a far higher price than resistance.
France, Germany and now Spain have failed to join the war against global Islamic terrorism.
We all see history through the prism of our own lives. I was born just prior
to World War II in 1937. Roosevelt would begin his second term as President
that year and the United States was still struggling to get out of the Depression.
In Europe, Hitler was in control of Germany, telling them they were the “Master
Race.” France thought it was safe behind the Maginot Line, and an appeaser
named Neville Chamberlain led England. Spain was neutral and under the control
of the dictator Francisco Franco.
In 1938, at Germany’s demand, England and France would agree to carve up
Czechoslovakia, ceding the Sudetenland to Germany to avoid war. Austria would
be taken over that year. After war broke out in Europe, in 1941 Germany and
the Soviet Union divided Poland in exchange for a non-aggression act. The
original “axis of evil” was formed between Germany, Japan and Italy. Hitler
would betray every promise he made because that’s what dictators do.
By the time I was born, the Japanese Empire had controlled Manchuria since
1931 and later much of eastern China, and Korea. On December 7, 1941, they
would launch a sneak attack on the United States, bringing it into a war
that had begun in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. By the war’s end, the
US would emerge a dominant world power and, then, for the next fifty years
would face off with the Soviet Union to insure that its brand of Communism
would not enslave all of Europe and much of the rest of the world. The US
expended billions of dollars to do this. We are now repeating this process
as the world’s lone superpower.
After WWII, to protect Europe, the US and Great Britain formed the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization. We would keep our troops in Europe to protect
it from the Soviet Union for the next fifty years and they remain there today,
pumping billions into the treasuries of European nations. Under Roosevelt
and Truman, the US created the United Nations to avoid future worldwide conflicts.
Like the League of Nations before it, the UN would prove incapable of stopping
war or genocides anywhere. It would, however, seek to extend its powers into
all aspects of international affairs, moving slowly, but steadily to establish
itself as world government.
In the years following WWII, we watched China come under the control of Communists.
We protected Japan and other Pacific nations from the same fate. We would
fight and lose a proxy war in Vietnam. In time, we saw the Soviet Union implode
after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany reunited.
Throughout this long era, Americans remained utterly steadfast in our devotion
to democracy, freedom and Capitalism. We thrived. In Europe, however, Socialism
would become the order of the day and their economies would stagnate.
France and Germany, eager to be regarded as world powers, would engineer
the European Union, a huge Socialist bureaucracy, only to see new, Eastern
bloc nations join and shift the balance of power from their ambition to dominate
it. The reason they gave for the creation of the EU was to provide a counterpoint
to the economic and military strength of America. However, under the EU,
Europe has fallen further behind the US as job growth eroded, public finances
deteriorated, and across the continent, the average unemployment rate rose
to 8.1 percent. Both France and Germany are running budget deficits in excess
of 3 percent of gross domestic product, a violation of the ground rules for
a shared currency. Moreover, France and Germany have failed to make required
EU economic and labor law reforms.
Despite the obvious need to restructure the Middle East and set it on a path
toward democratic governance, following 9-11 the fiercest opposition to the
liberation of the Iraqi people came from France and Germany. It is well to
keep in mind, however, that in addition to Tony Blair’s courageous support
of American objectives, Italy, Poland and some fifty other nations supported
regime change. Even Japan and South Korea have sent troops.
We have now seen Spain reverse course in the war on terrorism, choosing a
Socialist government after bombings that killed over 200 innocent victims.
The invasion of Iraq had been unpopular with its population and Europe’s
historic inclination toward appeasement with any enemy prevailed. Along with
France and Germany, these are people with short memories and very bad attitudes.
History teaches that the failure to resist despotism always requires a far
higher price than resistance. Since the late 1970s, the fanatical Islamic
movement that has set itself against Western civilization poses the greatest
challenge to freedom everywhere.
The timidity and perfidy of France, Germany and Spain, who owe so much to
the United States and England, must be left to future historians to record.
The biggest question now is whether Europe can withstand Islamization? This
is the most significant factor that will determine its future. A dangerous
indicator of serious trouble is the rise of European anti-Semitism, always
a precursor to conflict.
Just as the dynamic of world affairs changed following the end of WWII, after
9-11 international affairs have changed dramatically. The US invaded Afghanistan
to drive out the Taliban and take this base from Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda
movement. The special relationship between the US and Great Britain has led
the way to change the Middle East by removing Saddam Hussein from power.
By July Iraq will regain a measure of its sovereignty, the gift of American,
British and other nation’s blood and money.
The United Nations, founded as an instrument to achieve world peace, has
once again demonstrated it is a failed bureaucracy incapable of fulfilling
its mandate to avoid wars and other conflicts. It needs to be retired and
replaced with a new and very different federation of powers to oversee international
The war against Islamic ambitions to dominate the world must now be fought
with relentless determination until this threat is destroyed. We have sufficient
allies in this cause. We could use the support of France, Germany, and Spain.
In this new century, once again the courage of free people everywhere is going to be severely tested in the years ahead.
Alan Caruba is the author of Warning Signs, published by Merril Press. His weekly commentaries are posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.
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