For most of my childhood, growing up near Madison, WI meant hearing weekly sermons (daily if I listened to WPR) about how much better certain European nations were for having social programs and economic regulations not present here. Repeated mentions of 10%+ unemployment and stagnant GDP didn’t matter – to these Europhiles some maddeningly inconsistent and subjective concept of “quality of life” was all that mattered. During my last visit over Christmas to extended family who live in a neighborhood festooned with signs warning about the risks of angering the neighborhood “eco-team” if unsatisfactory recycling takes place, I was lectured on how irresponsible US social and fiscal policies are in comparison to the EU’s. Well, I’m glad I’ll probably live to see their positions proven otherwise.


CIA analysts predict the collapse of the EU within 15 years. I'd say, as predictions of doom go, that's a little on the cautious side.
But either way the notion that it's a superpower in the making is preposterous. Most administration officials subscribe to one of two views: a) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater; or b) Europe is a smugly irritating but irrelevant backwater where the whole powder keg's about to go up.
For what it's worth, I incline to the latter position. Europe's problems -- its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed -- are all of Europe's making. By some projections, the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. Already, more people each week attend Friday prayers at British mosques than Sunday service at Christian churches -- and in a country where Anglican bishops have permanent seats in the national legislature.
Some of us think an Islamic Europe will be easier for America to deal with than the present Europe of cynical, wily, duplicitous pseudo-allies. But getting there is certain to be messy, and violent.
Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there's no point picking fights with the terminally ill. The old Europe is dying, and Mr. Bush did the diplomatic equivalent of the Oscar night lifetime-achievement tribute at which the current stars salute a once glamorous old-timer whose fading aura is no threat to them. The 21st century is being built elsewhere.

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