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Like other observers in Holland and elsewhere, Buruma sees van Gogh's death as emblematic of the fate of Europe itself, one of other such symbolic events both representing and intensifying the collision of Islamism and the rest of the Continent:.

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Just how unprepared many non-Muslim Europeans are, how baffled by the apparent ebbing in the past two decades of Kantian eternal peace against the flowing of what looks like Islamist eternal mau-mauing, is also clear from Buruma's account. So shocking was van Gogh's murder in pacific Amsterdam, he reports in one telling detail, that the two policemen who had helped to apprehend the killer actually embraced one another at the trial and wept with joy upon learning that he purposely decided against killing them that morning as well.

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Methodical and impersonal, it details both vignettes of Islamism in Britain today and the manifold capitulations of the various elements of the British establishment in the face of it — both developments on a scale that will almost certainly come as a shock to American readers. First, to the obligatory and obvious disclaimer. Phillips is perhaps edgiest on the subject of British capitulation, arguing that over and again the desire of a complacent and otherwise contented public not to acknowledge the poison out in plain view permeated reaction to Islamism, and always for the worse.

Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within Doubleday , is another reality check that is similarly packed with information guaranteed to shock almost any American who has not lately spent months on the Continent. An expatriate of some years' standing he moved first to Amsterdam in , and his book also covers events in Oslo, Copenhagen, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Stockholm , Bawer here presents a compelling account of both his own evolution from Europhilia back to an appreciation of his own country and, more broadly, a painfully detailed portrait of what tolerance and capitulation toward Islamist enemies have wrought.


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Quite apart from the all-important issue of terrorism to which Bawer naturally devotes most of the book, the extent of bargaining and accommodation on other Islamic and Islamist issues is little understood on this side of the Atlantic. And therein lies a tale of how small capitulations may lead to large ones.

Female genital mutilation, for example, takes place in nearly every country of Western Europe; Sweden, Norway, Britain, and France have even passed laws against it. But like many such laws in Europe they're never enforced. Only in one department of France have serious measures — namely, mandatory medical exams — been instituted to prevent mutilations; but though they've proved spectacularly effective, no other jurisdiction in Europe has adopted similar procedures.

Only once, moreover — also in France — has anyone ever been put on trial for subjecting a child to such an operation. Even so, his book solidly connects the dots between capitulating on points like these only to find the pressure then increased to capitulate elsewhere as well. Like Bawer, she too is preoccupied by the pathological tangle of elite capitulation, anti-Americanism, and Islamist power. Through the unlikely alliance of the Muslim Right and the British Left, anti-Americanism has escaped its circumscribed association with privileged, self-enamored sophisticates, permeated Britain's underclass, and become inextricably conflated with a raw strain of racial and religious resentment.

Like Bawer, Berlinski also connects the attempts to appease the actual and would-be terrorists on the one hand, and the increased probability of future attacks on the other. Citing a document published four months before the Madrid attacks by an organization with ties to al Qaeda, for example, both authors argue that the motive underlying the killings was to produce a withdrawal of Spain from Iraq. They also arrested a cell of Pakistani criminals with links to al Qaeda and to the terrorists who killed Daniel Pearl in Pakistan.

Their video collection also happened to include surveillance of several large buildings in Barcelona. In doing so, they condemned many more of us to death. Why wouldn't the murderers repeat such a successful experiment? Is it any surprise that they did, in London, in July ? These are good questions, and they point to a most unsettling conclusion: Not only did European governments raise the risks to their people in turning a blind eye to the Islamists in their midst, but Spain has further increased that risk by proving that attacks work — the bigger, the better.

Certainly a truly systematic treatment of Islam and Islamism in Europe has yet to appear. Both the Bawer and Berlinski volumes, in particular, are deeply personal; part of Bawer's narrative concerns the effect of Islamism on the homosexual marriage he moved to Europe to obtain, and Berlinski for her part writes as a sophisticated and opinionated young woman steeped in the same kinds of liberties that Western-hating Islamists would snuff out. In neither case, however, do the personal and impressionistic details undermine the book's theses.

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For that matter, so detailed with facts from the public record are all these volumes that readers hoping for a kinder and gentler look at Islamism in Europe will have a hard time writing any of them off. Writing of the Bawer, Berlinski, and Phillips books in the Claremont Review , eminent British thinker Theodore Dalrymple who now lives in France cautioned against rhetorical overkill. Yet he also contributed this emblematic story behind the Phillips book, which perhaps makes her larger point most tellingly of all:. In September, Pope Benedict xvi gave a speech in Regensburg quoting a fourteenth-century Byzantine emperor suggesting that Islam was sometimes advanced through violence.

Wrath from Muslims around the world followed in various forms, including the now-customary calls for jihad, the killing of a nun in Somalia, and the firebombing of seven churches in the West Bank and Gaza. In Denmark in October, two young artists from a group called Defending Denmark posted cartoons on a website mocking the prophet Mohammed.

Following reaction from Muslims around the world, they are now in hiding and under police protection. That same month, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, both famous and infamous for its avante-garde interpretations, cancelled a planned performance of the Mozart opera Idomeneo after police warned that a scene featuring the heads of Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha might give offense to Muslims. In more news from Britain that month, a citizen born in India who converted to Islam pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy in what authorities said was a plot to blow up the New York Stock Exchange and several other targets in the United States, including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank buildings in Washington, the Citigroup building in New York, and the Prudential building in Newark.

His computer records also showed plans for using limousines packed with explosives to be detonated in underground parking garages in Britain.

His seven co-defendants are still awaiting trial. Incidentally, the American indictment notes that he spent time in college in the U. To stand back from even a sketchy account of these facts — for which many more could have been substituted — is to grasp something of the atmospherics of Europe these days that rhetoric about the Iraq war and other U.

And to stand those facts alongside what many Americans have viewed as a puzzle — i. After all, what if we are no longer looking at a comfortably static Europe, good old Venus to the American Mars, but at a culture whose raw domestic facts have been changing radically? What if European accommodationism today is not so much reflexive and historically ingrained, as conservatives in the U.

For though governments may cooperate cheerfully behind the scenes and tourism and trade on both sides continue at prodigious rates, there is no avoiding the fact that the traditional condescension toward Yanks in parts of Europe has taken a virulent new turn — one that also cannot be written off as disgust over Iraq because it encompasses so much more than the war alone.

It has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid reflux, that fashionable American sickness. Seeing anti-Americanism not as some sui generis virus in itself, but rather as a natural consequence of anxiety over Islamism in Europe, also explains certain events that otherwise seem inexplicable. Perhaps they are not after all. But given that there are real grounds to fear what France's Islamists might do — and Britain's, and Holland's, and Spain's, and Germany's, and everyone else's; just as important, given that one thing they do or threaten to do is retaliate for whatever they perceive to be an offense — the felt public need for flight into some other explanation makes psychological sense even if it is intellectually and otherwise wrong.

None of this is to deny that Europe and America have real and substantial differences with one another quite apart from the issue of Islamism just as they also have many critical political and economic matters in common, of course. Leaving aside security and strategy, the sheer demographic divide between the U. But where anti-Americanism was formerly fussy, today in some quarters it is ferocious; and it defies common sense to assign all the blame for that ferocity on Bush and the war in Iraq.

To repeat, the anti-Americans themselves cast the net far wider. In sum, given the information now assembling about just what is going on in Europe, about how accomodationist European politicians already are, and about how much more they are being called upon to do to appease restive Muslims both Islamist and otherwise, a new, unorthodox answer to the puzzle of anti-Americanism suggests itself.

Perhaps these days, on the Continent, the widespread, all-explaining urge to lay everything at the door of the U. Perhaps it does not have much to do either with the post-Cold War unipolar world. Perhaps it is not even really about Iraq.

Table of contents

The same is true of the pundits who have made a different industry of scapegoating in the U. My memories from Texas history classes and a junior-high field trip to the Alamo evoke different explanations for why Mexico lost Texas. Tyrannical rule, military occupation, forced conversions, lack of representation in the federal government, and the brutality of Gen.

But any narrative depends not just on how it is told, but why. The story told by the right, replete with references to invasion, is one of middle America under siege culturally, even militarily. From the left comes a rights-based narrative emphasizing the human consequences of hard-line immigration policies. The intertwining cultural, political, and practical threads of these competing stories are part of a bigger debate. At issue is what America is about. Not just what the country should look like, who belongs here, or even who Americans are when interacting with newcomers, but the relationships between businesses and employees; the future of the middle class and low-income Americans; and the shaping of politics by reason or by hysteria.

A second part of the question has been just as important: What to do once people arrive?

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Debates have raged not only over how long immigrants should have to wait before naturalizing five years it was decided in , but whether they should be naturalized at all, be granted land as an enticement the answer was no , own land before naturalizing yes , and vote before becoming citizens yes, if they were free white landowners. Many arguments centered on culture and national character—both important questions for a union formed on an untested political formula.

Ultimately, pragmatism usually determined policy, and rhetoric shifted in turn. What mattered was what kind of immigrant might ally with which political party, how much land the government would be able to sell, how much profit shipping and railroad companies might make, and to a lesser extent how individual states might keep out those likely to become wards of the state. Immigration played heavily into politics leading up to the Civil War, providing new sources of cheap labor and voters likely to oppose slavery. In the midth century, the Whig Party struggled to balance the nativist fervor of its rank and file with its commitment to a business-minded economic program, but failed and ultimately dissolved.

In the early s, the nativist camp eventually prevailed over business interests as strict national-origins quotas were imposed, severely limiting immigration for the next four decades. Zolberg quotes inventor Samuel Morse invoking the imagery of an invading army of immigrants when he penned a series of articles and books blaming immigration for undermining the American character.

Tom Tancredo. Discontent had been rising over the controversial bracero guest-worker program, begun in to ease a wartime shortage of farmworkers. Francis E. Their response was a back-door solution: an expanded guest-worker program, but with a ban on allowing guests to become permanent residents. The immigration reform officially ended openly racial bias. But it also created a new mechanism—legal status—designed to permanently marginalize parts of the population, creating a host of new problems.

Both Sides of the Border

Anti-immigrant agitation took hold in the mines and in the urban labor movement in the midth century. During the debate in South Carolina held May 15, Romney stated that in his view "We ought to double" the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. He then went on to say, in reference to combatants captured in Iraq, "I want them in Guantanamo where they don't get the access to lawyers they get when they're on our soil.