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Who is the “we” for whom Murray claims to speak? It is clear that he, in common with large pluralities and sometimes majorities of Europeans, sees Islam as a rising and threatening power. What, though, is the “fatal blow” that will deliver the coup de grace to a dying continent? It seems that demography really may be destiny: unless something changes, Christianity will be replaced by Islam as the dominant religion of Europe during the lifetimes of many of us. In the race between the Europeanisation of Islam and the Islamisation of Europe, it appears that the latter is winning. All attempts to revive the Jewish and Christian faiths of our fathers have struggled to gain traction, even as our hollowed-out rites of passage seem to mock the religious rituals and habits of mind that have defined our civilisation. Even that indomitable Nestor of secularism, Jurgen Habermas, laments the vacuum bequeathed by a church reduced to pleading for the godless to act as if they believed in God.

So how do the symptoms of this civilisational exhaustion impact on the practical sphere? Let us consider the most basic task of any government: the defence of the realm. What has happened to the armies, navies and air forces that won the Cold War without firing a shot? Apart from US forces, which have been starved of resources under Obama but remain formidable, the Nato allies are spending less on defence (even including intelligence gathering) than in their entire history. Most have never seen action, and there is a striking reluctance to risk armed conflict even as part of a deterrence strategy — for example, to protect the Baltic states or stand up for Israel at the United Nations, let alone to intervene against the aggression of tyrants, predators and fanatics overseas. There is also more than a suspicion that this aversion to active service is in part due to the fact that neither the personnel nor their equipment are fighting fit. My memory of a few days spent training with the Bundeswehr during the 1980s is quite different: the German army then stood ready to defend not only its own territory but the free world too. The demographic decline of our ageing societies has been accelerated by a demoralisation that manifests itself in a desire to avoid confronting evil at any price, echoing the Europe that offered so little resistance to the Nazis and so little assistance to the Jews. It is no coincidence that the revival of anti-Semitism in Europe has accompanied this demoralisation, and I shall return to this later.

In the three score years of my lifetime there have been two epochal events: the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11. Both came as a complete surprise to the West, blind as ever to the warnings of the Moirai, the Norns and all the other fates. Their long-term consequences, with which we are still living, were also unforeseen. It would be rash to predict the third such epochal event. But I cannot refrain from speculating that it may well involve the State of Israel.

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Iddo
August 6th, 2017
11:08 AM
Articulate and compelling. Guarantees to Israel from Europe won't suffice. For every John 23 there is a Pius 12, even today. The ability to be an Anti-smite while occupying the moral high ground is just too attractive to many of today's Christian Europeans. Though they endanger themselves, theirs is the cry of Samson "let me die along with the Philistines". My hope is that reasonable views, such as yours, will prevail in the never ending struggle.

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