Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The dangers of biculturalism

Mark Steyn's current biweekly (subs. only) installment in the National Review is a bit of downer but it doesn't detract from his usual strong argument. He hits two key themes that are worth noting, the perils of 'isolationism' and the dangers of biculturalism.

As for the calls for a broad US retreat, 'Why should we police the world?' Steyn argues persuasively that retreating inside Fortress North America won't protect us.

And I’m a little unnerved at the number of readers who seem to think the rest of the world can go hang but America will endure as a lonely candle of liberty in the new dark ages. Think that one through: a totalitarian China, a crumbling Russia, an insane Middle East, a disease-ridden Africa, a civil-war-torn Eurabia — and a country that can’t even enforce its borders against two relatively benign states will somehow be able to hold the entire planet at bay?
The hyperpower has to be engaged with the world, if only because splendid isolation is rarely seen as such by others. What was the biggest single factor in the radicalization of young British Muslims? The then-Conservative government’s conclusion in the 1990s that it had no dog in the Balkans junkyard. As Osama bin Laden put it, “The British are responsible for destroying the Caliphate system. They are the ones who created the Palestinian problem. They are the ones who created the Kashmiri problem. They are the ones who put the arms embargo on the Muslims of Bosnia so that 2 million Muslims were killed.”

How’d a list of imperial interventions wind up with that bit of non-imperial nonintervention? The point is that for great powers detachment from the affairs of the world is not an option: Evenhandedness by Washington will be received as a form of one-handedness by the time its effects are felt in Wackistan or Basketkhazia. In other words, isolation doesn’t travel.

I would add leaving the world to its issues in the least could lead inevitably to the victory of the reasoning currently infecting the left side of SCOTUS, i.e., American law should follow international law. "But everyone is doing it this way."

One problem with the fetishization of multiculturalism is that it has led to the rise of bicultural societies.

Europe’s ability to solve the problem is hampered by the fact that its professed “multiculturalism” is in reality mostly bicultural. You have hitherto homogeneous Scandinavian societies whose cities have become 40 percent Muslim in the space of a generation. Imagine colonial New England when it was still the Mayflower crowd and one day they woke up and noticed that all the Aldens and Allertons, Billingtons and Bradfords were in their 50s and 60s and all the young guys were named Ahmed and Mohammed. That’s what’s happened in Rotterdam and Malmö.

Whatever the virtues of multiculturalism, bicultural societies are the most unstable in the world, whether relatively benignly so (Fiji) or genocidally (Rwanda). The problem Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent. All those Bush Doctrine naysayers who argue that Iraq is an artificial entity that can never be a functioning state ought to take a look at the Netherlands. You think Kurds and Arabs, Sunnis and Shiites are incompatible? What do you call a jurisdiction split between post-Christian secular gay potheads and anti-whoring anti-sodomite Islamists? If Kurdistan’s an awkward fit in Iraq, how well does Pornostan fit in the Islamic Republic of Holland?

Steyn argued repeatedly that Europe indeed should be very supportive of the Bush Doctrine for selfish reasons. Recent events, it appears, have awakened Old Europe to the danger in their midst - whether it can propel them to make meaningful and decisive moves to counter is in question.

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