The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

For the West the hardest is yet to come

18 November 2015 / 22:11:28  GRReporter
1969 reads

After the bloody Friday night in Paris, the shadow of terror is hanging over Europe. The old continent is facing a challenge, which it had not expected, and for which it was unprepared. Politicians, historians, journalists, citizens, we are all asking ourselves whether it was all inevitable and what awaits us in the future. We offer you the analysis of Kostas Stoupas, a columnist for capital.gr.

Many people in the West have already dug out the hatchet of war against Islam, as they have quite correctly understood that the Western way of life and values are threatened by the Muslim invasion. Others, perhaps still more numerous, are still struggling amidst the delusions of western humanism reflected in the doctrine: there is enough space for all the good ones. Both liberals and communists, the two largest scions of the latest enlightenment, seem to share this view.

The truth is that – for decades already – the West has been subject to invasion and defiance against its values, both from within and from without. The mindset, according to which the misery of the third world is due to interference and exploitation of its natural resources by rich Western countries, seems naive. The world has always looked like a cauldron, torn by wars for power, wealth and security through preventive strikes. If it wasn't for the Westerners in the Middle East or in North Africa, warranting the smooth flow of oil to the economies that need it, the Muslims would be at the gates of Seville and Vienna, as they were in 711 and 1529.

The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria are a pretext to justify the process of migration rather than its root cause. The main reasons are related to the demographic imbalance of geographical areas, as well as to the imbalances in the availability of the resources needed for the population's survival.

In other words, we have a Europe, an area of 400-500 million inhabitants, with an ageing demographics, which means a society with full fridges, and  another area of around 1.5-2 billion people, with much younger demographics and empty fridges or without fridges at all.

The enhanced productivity of major crops for food production in recent years is not proportionate to the increase in population on the planet. As a consequence, the growth of the middle class from 1 billion people 20 years ago to 3 billion people at the end of the decade, thanks to the improvement of living standards in emerging economies, has led to swelling food prices. When the Chinese or the Indian starts to consume a third of the amount of meat consumed by the Westerner, food demand will lead to a sharp rise in the prices of wheat, soybeans, corn, etc. Arable land on the planet is shrinking because of climate change and the soil erosion caused by intensive crops. This means that Egypt, for instance, a country reliant on imported wheat and which spends half of its income on food, will starve. This has already started to take place, and the sharp increase in food prices over the last decade has set in motion a chain of events, one of the most important of which was the Arab Spring. The breakup of Libya and Syria was a result of the Arab Spring.

Certainly, from hindsight the intervention of Western countries seem like a failure, as the collapse of the dictatorial regimes has unleashed the chaos of Islamic violence. If, however, the West had not intervened, how long would these dictatorships have held out in societies with such an exuberant young demographic potential? The export of Islam into Europe is reminiscent of the great migrations of peoples in history, which in many cases destroyed mighty empires and great civilizations. At regular intervals, a population – typically more primitive and hence having a youthful demographic potential – began to seek new resources either because it was suppressed by some other population or because the resources in the area where it lived were depleted. Throughout history, those civilizations, which had reached a stage of maturity, share ageing demographics. When people have reached a certain level of education and high standard of living, they tend to curb their birth rates, and hence their demographics become hoary. At the beginning of the last century, the German philosopher and historian, Oswald Spengler, wrote in his monumental work, ''The Decline of the West'', that all great civilizations in history have some common basic characteristics that determine their rise and fall. History is full of answers to the questions posed by the present day. Rome, having exhausted its resources for the sake of maintaining its exorbitant lifestyle, could no longer maintain the strength of its legions along the borders. Thus, the barbarian tribes outside the empire start penetrating it. Until they finally reach Rome, the capture of which in the 5th century by the Goths was just a formal event. Next came the Middle Ages.

Several centuries earlier, the Vandals started their migration from the area of northern Poland, and after having crossed, fighting and pillaging, almost all Europe, settled in North Africa, where in 534 they were finally defeated by the Byzantine commander Belisarius. The remaining inhabitants were assimilated by the local Berber tribes. Let us not forget that the descent of the Achaeans and Dorians to today's Greek lands was due to a process of migration.

So the West is just at the gate of a great migration of peoples. The nearest region where this happens is the area of Islam ranging all the way from Morocco to Afghanistan and harbouring 1.6 billion people. Meanwhile, in Europe itself the Muslim population amounts to 6-8% of the population, and their number is increasing rapidly. The clash of civilizations is an inevitable consequence of this. The terrorist act in Paris fits within this context. The West has huge firepower and can erase the Islamic State, which foments these attacks, from the face of the earth. The Western powers have proven their fighting ability against the regimes of the Taliban and of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. In their place, however, other, even more barbaric types of violence, have sprung up. The West cannot erase a population of 1.6 billion people from the face of the earth. The problem cannot possibly be solved with an all-out war of the West against Islam, as they did at the time of the Crusades, nor by perpetuating the failed policy of assimilating Muslim communities in the societies of Europe.

The issue with Islam will keep shaking western societies over many years, and it has the potential to destroy them. Most likely, it will alter the foundations of the western way of life. It might distort the foundations of democracy, open society and free markets, which created the prerequisites for the prosperity of Europe in recent decades.

Recent polls show that conservative xenophobic parties in Europe, which want the restoration of borders and dismantling of the common currency, the euro, are gaining momentum. The disintegration of the European Union, however, will reduce the possibilities of coping with the trends. Instead, the solution lies in further consolidation.

These enormous historical challenges have gripped tiny Greece amidst one of the fiercest economic, political and social crises during the 200 years of existence of its modern state. The world collapses, and we keep preoccupying ourselves with how 50-year-old pensioners could continue to receive their pensions, or how bribe-hungry doctors, corrupt politicians and government officials could perpetuate their parasitic life in the name of an already waning prosperity obtained on credit. After PASOK and New Democracy, SYRIZA represents the hardest core of Greek confusion and decline. An awakening is forthcoming, and it will make itself palpable in a rather painful way.

Tags: terrorist act Paris analysis Islam Europe West
SUPPORT US!
GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
Subscription
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus