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Mark Steyn: The Yanks are going home
The Spectator (U.K.) ^ | 03/15/03 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 03/13/2003 7:50:04 AM PST by Pokey78

Mark Steyn says that the high-minded, pacifist tax-and-spend ideology of ‘Eurabia’ means the future is American (but not Canadian)


New Hampshire

In 1898, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, prime minister of Queen Victoria’s great white north, declared that just ‘as the 19th century was the century of the United States, so shall the 20th century belong to Canada.’

The line caught on. ‘The 19th century was the century of the United States,’ James Longley, attorney-general of Nova Scotia, informed a Boston audience in 1902. ‘The 20th century is Canada’s century.’

‘The day is coming,’ predicted another prime minister, Sir Charles Tupper, ‘when Canada, which has become the right arm of the British empire, will dominate the American continent.’

Now, if you’ll quit laughing and wipe the tears from your eyes, I’ll get to the point. Tupper was talking to the historian John Boyd, who fleshed out the soundbite: ‘Canada,’ he explained, ‘shall dominate the American continent, not in aggression or materialism, but in the arts of peace, in the greatness of its institutions, in the broadness of its culture, and in the lofty moral character of its people.’

Does that sound familiar? It’s the European argument today: just as the 20th century belonged to America, so the 21st will belong to Europe, a Europe that cannot — and, indeed, disdains to — compete with the Yanks in ‘aggression’ (military capability) or ‘materialism’ (capitalism red in tooth and claw), and so has devised a better way. We’ve all had a grand old time these last few weeks watching M. Chirac demonstrate his mastery of ‘the arts of peace’ and his ‘lofty moral character’, but it would perhaps be fairer to choose a more representative Euro-grandee to articulate the EUtopian vision. Step forward, Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who said in London last year that ‘the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests.’

No doubt it sounds better in Finnish. Nonetheless, like the Canadians a century ago, the Europeans are claiming that the old rules no longer apply, that they’ve been supplanted by new measures of power, not least the ‘greatness of institutions’ (EU, UN, ICC, etc.). And, like the Canadians, the Europeans are doomed to disappointment. Just for the record, if you’re reading this in an obscure corner of the jungle, not only did the 20th century not belong to Canada; the decayed Dominion will be very lucky to make it through the 21st at all: I doubt it’ll get past 2025 with its present borders intact.

But that’s by the by. What the world — or, at any rate, ‘old Europe’ — wants to know is: what will it take to nobble the Yanks? Or, to be more accurate, what will it take for the Yanks to nobble themselves? The corollary to the Euro-Canadian redefinition of ‘great power’ is that a lone cowboy who sticks to tired concepts like guns’n’ammo is bound to come a cropper. As Matthew Parris put it last week, ‘We should ask whether America does have the armies, the weaponry, the funds, the economic clout and the democratic staying power to carry all before her in the century ahead. How many wars on how many fronts could she sustain at once? How much fighting can she fund? How much does she need to export? Is she really unchallenged by any other economic bloc?’

My colleague is falling prey to theories of ‘imperial overstretch’. But, if you’re not imperial, it’s quite difficult to get overstretched. By comparison with 19th-century empires, the Americans travel light. More to the point, their most obvious ‘overstretch’ is in their historically unprecedented generosity to putative rivals: unlike traditional imperialists, they garrison not remote ramshackle colonies but their wealthiest allies. The US picks up the defence tab for Europe, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, among others. As Americans have learned in the last 18 months, absolving wealthy nations of the need to maintain their own armies does not pay off in the long run. This overstretch is over. If Bush wins a second term, the boys will be coming home from South Korea and Germany, and maybe Japan, too. So the EU will begin the second decade of the century with an excellent opportunity to test Mr Lipponen’s theory: it can either will the means to maintain a credible defence, or it can try to live as the first ‘superpower’ with no means of defence. In other words, the first victim of American overstretch will not be America but Europe.

I doubt the Continentals of a decade hence will be in any mood to increase defence spending. For all M. de Villepin’s dreams of Napoleonic glory, his generation of French politicians will spend the rest of their lives managing decline. By 2050, there will be 100 million more Americans, 100 million fewer Europeans. The US fertility rate is 2.1 children per couple; in Europe it’s 1.4. Demography is not necessarily destiny, and certainly not inevitable disaster. But it will be for Europe, because the 20th-century Continental welfare state was built on a careless model that requires a constantly growing population to sustain it. In hard-hearted New Hampshire, we don’t have that problem.

According to a UN report from last year, for the EU to keep its working population stable till 2050 it would need another 1.58 million immigrants every year. To keep the ratio of workers to retirees at the present level, you’d need 13.5 million immigrants per year. Personally, I’ve never seen what’s so liberal and enlightened about denuding the developing world of their best and brightest. But, even if you can live with it, it won’t be an option much longer. The UN’s most recent population report has revised the global fertility rate down from 2.1 — i.e., replacement rate — to 1.85 — i.e., eventual population decline. It will peak in about 2050, and then fall off in a geometric progression. What this means for the Continent is that the fall-back position — use the Third World as your nursery — is also dead. The developing world’s fertility rate is 2.9 and falling. The Third Worlders being born now in all but the most psychotic jurisdictions will reach adulthood with a range of options, of which Europe will be the least attractive. If that ratio of workers to retirees keeps heading in the same direction, the EU will have the highest taxes not just in the Western world, but in most of the rest. A middle-class Indian or Singaporean or Chilean already has little incentive to come to the Continent. If the insane Bush–Steyn plan to remake the Middle East comes off, even your wacky Arabs may stay home. If it doesn’t, the transformation of Europe into ‘Eurabia’, as the droller Western Muslims already call their new colony, will continue.

So for Europe this is the perfect storm, with Jacques Chirac in the George Clooney role. Best case scenario: you wind up as Vienna with Swedish tax rates. Don’t get me wrong, I love Vienna. I especially like the way you can stroll down their streets and never hear any ghastly rockers and rappers caterwauling. When you go into a record store, the pop category’s a couple of bins at the back and there are two floors of operetta. All very pleasant, though not if you’re into surfing the cutting edge of the zeitgeist. I quite like Stockholm, too. Well, I like the babes, but they’re gonna be a lot wrinklier by 2050. And Sweden’s already got a lower standard of living than Mississippi. Its 60 per cent overall tax rate is likely to be the base in the Europe of 2020 and fondly recalled as the good old days by mid-century.

Worst case scenario: Sharia, circa 2070.

For the Americans, it doesn’t make much difference whether the Austro-Swedish or Eurabian option prevails. This is nothing to do with disagreements over Iraq: you can’t ‘mend bridges’ when the opposite bank is sinking into the river. The death of Europe in its present form is a given. The phase we’ve just begun is an interim one: America’s gone to the store, and is trying various outfits on for size. There is Bush’s wooing of Putin, who has not been so insane as to follow Jacques on his diplomatic suicide-bomber mission. There is the suggestion, floated more and more frequently vis-à-vis the Korean peninsula, that now may be the time for Japan to go nuclear. There are the Atlanticist states of Eastern Europe who declined to be shut up by Chirac. There are the President’s Latino inclinations, soon to be given expression in the Free Trade Area of the Americas. From the American point of view, the FTAA brings their principal foreign energy suppliers — Alberta and Venezuela — in-house and, in the broader sense, Catholic Latin America is more culturally compatible with the US than post-Christian Europe is.

And then there’s the conservatives’ favourite: National Review’s current cover shows Bush, Blair and John Howard above the headline ‘Three Amigos’. Five years ago, when Bill Clinton launched his non-Chirac-sanctioned mini-war on Baghdad with the assistance of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, I noted that what those countries had in common was a perverse determination to recoil from the notion that they had anything in common. For a generation, these countries’ elites have worked tirelessly to deny the reality of language, culture and history. Much of the territory Anglospherists claim is already lost — Canada and New Zealand, for starters — and anyone who wants to make it a going concern had better step on it, because it will be a lot harder to do in another generation. Where Britain will lie depends on how serious Mr Blair is about going down with the Franco–Belgo–German ship.

All these arrangements in embryo, however, have one thing in common: the intention is that America’s partners should be both economically and militarily credible — or, in that Canadian historian’s terms, they’re being evaluated in terms of ‘aggression and materialism’. Australia will never be as powerful as America, but it doesn’t, as Mr Lipponen does, trumpet its arthritic defects as a virtue and demand that these should be accepted as the new global norm. Indeed, once you stick a black void in the centre of the map where Western Europe is, it’s amazing how the global outlook improves.

I should add that by ‘Europe’ I’m using the Chiraquist shorthand for a European Union run on sclerotic Franco–German lines. What we’ve seen in the last few weeks is that for Europeans the real clash of civilisations is not between Islam and the West but between what the French call ‘Anglo-Saxon’ capitalism and Eurostatism. I was amused by the sheer snobbery of Martin Amis’s analysis in the Guardian last week: the condescension to Bush’s faith, the parallels between Texas and Saudi Arabia, both mired in a dusty religiosity. America’s religiosity, now unique in the Western world, is at least part of the reason it reproduces at replacement rate, also uniquely in the Western world. Besides, for all Amis’s cracks, Texas doesn’t seem as fundamentalist as the radical secularism of post-Christian Europe. Why would anyone think a disinclination to breed or to defend oneself is the recipe for success? Just because there’ll always be an England? As Bernard Shaw wrote almost 90 years ago in Heartbreak House, of a Europe too smug and self-absorbed to see what was coming, ‘Do you think the laws of God will be suspended in favour of England because you were born in it?’


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Germany; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: marksteynlist

1 posted on 03/13/2003 7:50:04 AM PST by Pokey78
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

2 posted on 03/13/2003 7:51:20 AM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
The UN’s most recent population report has revised the global fertility rate down from 2.1 — i.e., replacement rate — to 1.85 — i.e., eventual population decline. It will peak in about 2050, and then fall off in a geometric progression. What this means for the Continent is that the fall-back position — use the Third World as your nursery — is also dead. The developing world’s fertility rate is 2.9 and falling.

Worth repeating. The fall in the developing world's birthrate is particularly noticeable in Latin America.

3 posted on 03/13/2003 7:58:54 AM PST by Clemenza (East side, West side, all around the town. Tripping the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York)
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To: Pokey78
I quite like Stockholm, too. Well, I like the babes, but they’re gonna be a lot wrinklier by 2050.

Australia will never be as powerful as America, but it doesn’t, as Mr Lipponen does, trumpet its arthritic defects as a virtue and demand that these should be accepted as the new global norm.

There are always some real gems in every Steyn article.
4 posted on 03/13/2003 8:00:12 AM PST by July 4th
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To: Pokey78
‘the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests.’

An empire built on a foundation of LIES - no doubt who "The Father" of this nation is... They also have no problem "selling" these same arms to rogue terror sponsering nations..

5 posted on 03/13/2003 8:01:26 AM PST by joesnuffy
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To: Pokey78
What Steyn doesn't add is that all the third world crazies WILL chose to go to Europe, because they're subzidized by the welfare state.....also, the themes in his article really explain why the "new Europe", i.e. the former Soviet colonies, are so pro-American, it's because they instinctively know that they will need the US to defend them against FRanco-German pressure..both economic and military....
6 posted on 03/13/2003 8:07:22 AM PST by ken5050
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To: Pokey78
Thanks bump.
7 posted on 03/13/2003 8:11:59 AM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Pokey78

8 posted on 03/13/2003 8:16:14 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: Pokey78
Great read bump.
9 posted on 03/13/2003 8:20:00 AM PST by Ditto (You are free to form your own opinions, but not your own facts.)
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To: Pokey78
‘The day is coming,’ predicted another prime minister, Sir Charles Tupper, ‘when Canada, which has become the right arm of the British empire, will dominate the American continent.’

Imagine this proclaimed in the voice of Benjie or Frankie Mouse.
10 posted on 03/13/2003 8:22:16 AM PST by aruanan
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To: Pokey78
Thanks for the ping, but there are so many good quotes in this article that I'll just bump it.
11 posted on 03/13/2003 8:22:41 AM PST by xJones
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To: Pokey78
You should also read the article by Oriana Fallaci on Opinion Journal along the same lines, but much more moving.
12 posted on 03/13/2003 8:27:38 AM PST by Eva
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To: Pokey78
"Why would anyone think a disinclination to breed or to defend oneself is a recipe for success?"

He's not only funny, but he asks all the right Menckenesque questions.
13 posted on 03/13/2003 8:36:45 AM PST by headsonpikes
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To: Pokey78
Good grief ! >>>

Step forward, Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who said in London last year that ‘the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests.’

No doubt it sounds better in Finnish.

...or in French !
14 posted on 03/13/2003 8:38:45 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye Saddam! / Check out my Freeper site !: http://home.attbi.com/~freeper/wsb/index.html)
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To: Pokey78
BUMP
15 posted on 03/13/2003 8:40:04 AM PST by RippleFire
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To: Pokey78
Step forward, Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who said in London last year that ‘the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests.’

Again the denial of the existence of evil. Despite what moral relativists say, human beings are not "inherently good" and thus we have checks, balances, and a big stick.

16 posted on 03/13/2003 8:40:23 AM PST by Drawsing (Want to see some awesome 3D graphics? Go outside and take a walk.)
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To: Pokey78
‘the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests.’

In other words, they are 1940-era France, all too willing to roll over (or bend over, pick your analogy) for whatever oppressive, freedom-denying regime comes along.

17 posted on 03/13/2003 8:42:22 AM PST by mountaineer
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To: Pokey78
What we’ve seen in the last few weeks is that for Europeans the real clash of civilisations is not between Islam and the West but between what the French call ‘Anglo-Saxon’ capitalism and Eurostatism.

This clash is not only manifesting itself in Europe, but also in the United States Legislature. It is essentially Judeo-Christianity v. Atheism at it's core. Morality v. Humanism.

18 posted on 03/13/2003 8:50:42 AM PST by ez (Advise and Consent = Debate and VOTE!!)
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Bump!
19 posted on 03/13/2003 8:59:16 AM PST by RedWhiteBlue
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To: Pokey78
I continue to be amazed by this man's prose, wit, and insight.
20 posted on 03/13/2003 9:12:15 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: Pokey78
The death of Europe in its present form is a given.

Will a new Islamic Empire take it's place? It's got a good start!

Imagine what the (remaining) French will think when they start dynamiting Notre Dame and the Louvre!

21 posted on 03/13/2003 9:27:17 AM PST by Gritty
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To: Pokey78
Bump for Brilliance!
22 posted on 03/13/2003 9:31:52 AM PST by Freakazoid
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To: SkyPilot
I continue to be amazed by this man's prose, wit, and insight.

And the volume of it.  This man produces  several columns a week of always-fresh
insight, flashy humor, and political wisdom.  I can't imagine the brainpower he draws on.
23 posted on 03/13/2003 9:41:51 AM PST by gcruse (When choosing between two evils, pick the one you haven't tried yet.)
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To: Pokey78
Nothing to add. Steyn seems to nail every subject he tackles.
24 posted on 03/13/2003 9:44:01 AM PST by colorado tanker (beware the Ides of March)
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To: Pokey78
Thanks, Pokey.
25 posted on 03/13/2003 10:08:02 AM PST by reformed_democrat
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To: ken5050
What Steyn doesn't add is that all the third world crazies WILL chose to go to Europe, because they're subzidized by the welfare state...

That bears repeating. What will happen is twofold - first, that to the EU will go the labor that that sort of society needs - low-paying, manual "dirtywork" labor that forms the lower strata of an increasingly class-based, aging welfare society. And second, that to the United States will go the young, highly-educated, risk-tolerant innovators who are looking for the rewards success brings there but not in Europe, and worse from the EU point of view, these won't just be from the third-world countries populating the EU but from the EU's best and brightest as well.

This is not the recipe for pulling even with the United States in terms of technology, culture, or economics. But it is an old pattern.

26 posted on 03/13/2003 10:25:07 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: ken5050
What Steyn doesn't add is that all the third world crazies WILL chose to go to Europe, because they're subzidized by the welfare state.....

The problem with that is that the old European welfare state is on the verge of total and utter collapse, probably within the next five to ten years or so (our American welfare state is in danger in some ways itself, but the situation is not nearly as dire here). What will take place in Old Europe once that happens is uncertain at this point, but I guarantee it won't be pretty. We're on the cusp of some very interesting, and possibly frighteningly violent, times ahead of us.

27 posted on 03/13/2003 10:27:21 AM PST by jpl
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To: Pokey78
"In 1898, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, prime minister of Queen Victoria’s great white north, declared that just ‘as the 19th century was the century of the United States, so shall the 20th century belong to Canada.’"

Part of their diabolical plan will include forcing Americans to eat Vinegar on their Freedom Fries, and drink Molson Gold!

28 posted on 03/13/2003 10:28:43 AM PST by Destructor
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To: Drawsing
Most people are quite good and wish to do the right thing and live peaceful, prosperous lives. The problem arises because ther are always enough exceptions and some of them rise to positions of power. The idea that goodness will prevail simply because of the "greatness of institutions" is utterly myopic, wishful thinking, and in the extreme, suicidally insane. That there are politicians who are so stupid as to believe such nonsense is the best reason I know to stay well-armed.
29 posted on 03/13/2003 10:39:23 AM PST by 45Auto (Peace through superior firepower)
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To: Pokey78
Thand you, Poke, for a great read.

BOOKMARKING IT!
30 posted on 03/13/2003 10:45:31 AM PST by kitkat
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To: Destructor
Part of their diabolical plan will include forcing Americans to eat Vinegar on their Freedom Fries, and drink Molson Gold!

Then they've already won.

31 posted on 03/13/2003 11:46:41 AM PST by vollmond
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To: Destructor
I think you guy's should have called them 'Froggy Fries' instead of 'Freedom Fries'......more insulting to the Franc's.
32 posted on 03/13/2003 11:49:01 AM PST by FreeCanuckistan
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To: Pokey78
So for Europe this is the perfect storm, with Jacques Chirac in the George Clooney role.

Heh, Heh. How appropriate, because we all know what happened to Clooney's character at the end.

33 posted on 03/13/2003 11:57:32 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: 45Auto
If virtue automatically prevailed over brute force and aggression, we wouldn't need police or jails.
34 posted on 03/13/2003 12:19:30 PM PST by Britton J Wingfield
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To: Pokey78
bump!
35 posted on 03/13/2003 1:04:44 PM PST by CyberCowboy777 (In those days... Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.)
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To: Pokey78
So for Europe this is the perfect storm, with Jacques Chirac in the George Clooney role. Best case scenario: you wind up as Vienna with Swedish tax rates.

Chirac is certainly very much an over-reacher as was Clooney in the film.

36 posted on 03/13/2003 1:18:18 PM PST by foreshadowed at waco
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To: Pokey78
[A] European Union run on sclerotic Franco–German lines

What I like to call Vichy Germany.

37 posted on 03/13/2003 1:57:11 PM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets
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To: Pokey78
Great article, as usual from Steyn. Europe thinks they have built the perfect model in which military might is no longer necessary. Europe overlooks the fact that it has had peace for the last 50 years solely because the United States footed the bill to protect it.
38 posted on 03/13/2003 2:19:44 PM PST by TaxMe
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To: jpl
(our American welfare state is in danger in some ways itself, but the situation is not nearly as dire here).

We have the ability to correct ourselves when the welfare state gets too overpowering. We did with the welfare reform bill, and it's likely that we will make more progress with SS and Medicare/Medicaid reforms soon.
America attracts people who want to become rich. And many of the people born here want the same thing. Welfare states don't offer that chance. There are a lot of Americans who want to take care of the needy, but not very many of them want to give up their chances of becoming wealthy.

39 posted on 03/13/2003 3:56:32 PM PST by speekinout
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To: Pokey78
The only ingrediant missing from this excellent essay is: Close the borders to Canada and Mexico. Anything less will simply allow Eurostatism to threaten us from these erstwhile neighbors.

For as long as people have called for sticter border controls the argument has been the cost is too high. But if we pull our troops home and stop propping up Europe, Japan and S.Korea's defenses we will have cash to spare, IMO.

40 posted on 03/13/2003 4:37:39 PM PST by twntaipan (Defend American Liberty: Defeat a demoncRAT!)
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To: Drawsing
Hard to believe this comes from the nation that stood up to the Soviet Union in 1940.
41 posted on 03/13/2003 5:46:58 PM PST by You Dirty Rats
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To: Pokey78
For the Americans, it doesn’t make much difference whether the Austro-Swedish or Eurabian option prevails. This is nothing to do with disagreements over Iraq:you can’t ‘mend bridges’ when the opposite bank is sinking into the river.

Another zinger.

42 posted on 03/13/2003 7:03:08 PM PST by secretagent
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To: Pokey78
Bump for another great Steyn! Thanks Pokey!!!
43 posted on 03/14/2003 12:31:35 AM PST by lainde
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To: lainde
BUMP
44 posted on 03/14/2003 12:49:05 AM PST by nopardons
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Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

To: jpl
Said ken5050:

What Steyn doesn't add is that all the third world crazies WILL chose to go to Europe, because they're subzidized by the welfare state.....

Replied jpl:

The problem with that is that the old European welfare state is on the verge of total and utter collapse, probably within the next five to ten years or so (our American welfare state is in danger in some ways itself, but the situation is not nearly as dire here). What will take place in Old Europe once that happens is uncertain at this point, but I guarantee it won't be pretty. We're on the cusp of some very interesting, and possibly frighteningly violent, times ahead of us.

The welfare stampede is self-defeating for this very reason. By sheer numbers they will destroy the institutions that are subsidizing them. I don't see how Steyn's 'Austro-Swedish' scenario can ever be realized.

'Eurabia' or some other third-world equivalent is Europe's far more likely future.

[Insert standard followup comment regarding America's potential similar future]

46 posted on 03/17/2003 9:41:36 AM PST by Constitutionalist Conservative (http://c-pol.com)
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To: Pokey78
Bump
47 posted on 07/03/2003 9:01:48 PM PDT by Stultis (Do I really need sarcasm tags?)
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To: Destructor; Pokey78
In 1898, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, prime minister of Queen Victoria’s great white north, declared that just "as the 19th century was the century of the United States, so shall the 20th century belong to Canada."
Laurier didn't take enough iron supplements: his government collapsed when he backed a free trade agreement with the United States in 1911. While the U.S. Congress passed the law for trade reciprocity, Laurier went before the Canadian public and got clobbered in a referendum.

Here's the irony: the high priest of Britishness himself, Kipling, intervened to declare the agreement an abrogation of all things British. By stoking fear that the deal would lead to annexation of Canada by the U.S., Laurier's opponents kicked him out of office.

48 posted on 07/03/2003 9:47:35 PM PDT by nicollo
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