Monday, February 06, 2006

Is Europe this era's 'Sleeping Giant'

Victor Davis Hansen has an excellent piece up at Real Clear Politics on a Europe that is awakening to the threat of radical Islam. I recommend the entire article, but it was this portion that got me thinking.
So is Europe now finally at the front or will they retreat Madrid-like in the face of the inevitable second round of terrorist bombings and threats to come?

Americans are not confident, but we should remember at least one simple fact: Europe is the embryo of the entire Western military tradition. The new European Union encompasses a population greater than the United States and spans a continent larger than our own territory. It has a greater gross domestic product than that of America and could, in theory, field military forces as disciplined and as well equipped as our own.

It is not the capability but the will power of the Europeans that has been missing in this war so far. But while pundits argue over whether the European demographic crisis, lack of faith, stalled economy, or multiculturalism are at the root of the continent’s impotence, we should never forget that if aroused and pushed, a rearmed and powerful Europe could still be at the side of the United States in joint efforts against the jihadists. And should we ever see a true alliance of such Western powers, the war against the fascists of the Middle East would be simply over in short order.

At first I thought VDH was being a little too pie in the sky with this piece, but then a 'what if' hit me. What if, as Europe gradually takes seriously the threat radical Islam poses to it, terrorists partake in a 9-11 style attack somewhere in Europe? Would that shock the continent into action the way Pearl Harbor shocked the original sleeping giant, the U.S., into action in 1941? I don't know the answer to that question. In some ways I find Europe as too lost a cause to think it possible, but at the same time isn't it human nature to fight back if punched far enough into a corner? Could the European giant awaken without having its nose bloodied? A lot of questions that I think we'd all prefer not to have to learn the answer to, but it is possible that one day we will.

No comments: