Few things in contemporary America are as unstable as things are in Europe. Economies across the eurozone are implementing massive austerity measures in the midst of severe economic crisis and uncertainty. Ireland and now potentially Portugal, Spain and Italy want to avoid the dreaded EU bailout and the ruthless fiscal penalties that come along with it. Marching in step with economic implosion, Europe’s immigration problems intensify with each passing week.
First there were problems in France and Switzerland. Now Germany, England and most of Southern Europe are embroiled. It is hard to know where Europe’s troubles will end, but what is clear is that the United States should pay close attention because America’s problems are strikingly similar to Europe’s.
With economics absorbing America’s attention, thoughts of Europe run first to economics. It makes sense. The indebtedness of the European Continent threatens to dissolve an already weakened EU. Falling like dominoes, the EU’s weak performers cannot all be bailed out by the European Central Banks, or, as they are more appropriately termed, Dutch-German banks.
To prevent a disastrous outcome, one that could fragment or destroy the EU, severe austerity measures are being implemented to restore fiscal balance. But this reflexive policy reveals still more problems.
The bloated public sectors of the European welfare states will suffer the most as various European governments try to regain solvency. Fear of deep public-sector cuts is prompting sizable demonstrations in France, Spain, Italy and, of late, Britain. This is particularly alarming because most of the proposed cuts have yet to be implemented. Who knows what the response will be when they actually take effect?
Meanwhile, the Swiss passed what probably is the first of many harsh anti-immigration laws to come. Under the new proposal, non-Swiss citizens convicted of rape, violence, drug trafficking and even “abuse of social aid” will automatically be deported from the country. This seems rather draconian, but similar immigration problems in Germany pressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to state publicly that multiculturalism has “utterly failed,” characterizing Germany as a Christian nation, perhaps borrowing a line from her French counterpart, President Nicolas Sarkozy, in a reaffirmation of Europe’s fundamental identity.
During an EU Africa summit this past week in Tripoli, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi warned that unless “Christian, white,” European countries provide North African states with adequate funding to control illegal immigration, Europe will turn “black” with new waves of illegal immigrants. Perhaps Mr. Gadhafi thinks his threat will ensure that Europe’s borders remain open and undefended?
What has this to do with the United States? After all, Americans do not share any of these problems, right? The American zest for free markets and small government has prevented the growth of a large and insolvent public sector equipped with an arsenal of entitlement programs, right? And, in contrast to the Europeans, we Americans turned illegal immigration from the Third World into a boon for economic growth, right?
Wrong. In fact, the similarities between Europe and America are frightening.
As in Europe, America’s immigration problems stem mainly, but not exclusively, from uncontrolled borders open to human trafficking and increasingly violent criminality. However, America has roughly 15 million to 20 million illegal immigrants within its borders, a number that dwarfs the numbers of Muslims living in France, Germany and Great Britain combined. Unlike the Europeans who are rejecting the false promise of multiculturalism, far too many American politicians maintain the fiction that legitimates multiculturalism, that foreign nationals can become American citizens without also becoming Americans.
Entitlement programs already cost the American taxpayer tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities. Yet in contrast to states like Germany and Britain that are scaling back their public expenditures, the United States is recklessly printing and borrowing money in the hope of stimulating a structurally unsound economy.
So what is to be learned from Europe? Clearly, the policies that threaten Europe’s recovery and prosperity are the same that threaten us - especially multiculturalism and the notion of democratic socialism. If we are to recover, we must adroitly shift course by reaffirming our Western identity as an English-speaking country that rests on the foundation of Western civilization, Christian culture, economic freedom and political liberty. Europe’s tragic condition should emphasize the need for this affirmation and divert us from the same road to ruin.
Cameron Macgregor is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.