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Short Memories & Bad Attitudes
by Alan Caruba
19 March 2004Spain

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 affairs.

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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