Mark Steyn

Only Bush can save Europe

Mark Steyn says that the US President’s ‘transformational’ response to Muslim fundamentalism can save the Old World; European ‘managerialism’ can’t

Mark Steyn says that the US President’s ‘transformational’ response to Muslim fundamentalism can save the Old World; European ‘managerialism’ can’t

New Hampshire

Last July, speaking to the United States Congress, the only assembly on the planet in which he’s still assured of a warm reception, Tony Blair remarked: ‘As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible but, in fact, it is transient. The question is: What do you leave behind?’

Excellent question. Britannia will never again wield the unrivalled power she enjoyed at her imperial apogee, but the Britannic inheritance endures, to one degree or another, in many of the key regional players in the world today — Australia, India, South Africa — and in dozens of island statelets from the Caribbean to the Pacific. If China ever takes its place as an advanced nation, it will be because the People’s Republic learns more from British Hong Kong than Hong Kong learns from the Little Red Book. And of course the dominant power of our time derives its political character from 18th-century British subjects who took English ideas a little further than the mother country was willing to go.

A decade after victory in the Cold War and end-of-history triumphalism, the ‘what do you leave behind?’ question is more urgent than you might think. ‘The West’, as a concept, is dead, and the West, as a matter of demographic fact, is dying. On the first half of the question, whoever makes the late Osama bin Laden’s audio cassettes these days showed a shrewd understanding of the situation in offering a ‘truce’ to any European nation that distances itself from America. Hard to see how some of ’em could distance themselves from America any more short of relocating to Mars, but that’s the point. Though many commentators see the offer as a sign of al-Qa’eda’s weakness, the jihad boys are being rather cunning.

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