Which Way Europe?

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Which Way Europe?

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Tom Friedman is an astute observer of the global world. While watching him on a recent news talk show I heard him say that Europe was a "museum" in comparison to China and India, the rising Asian economic giants. Friedman's observation is echoed by a lot of other writers.

This essay by Theodore Dalrymple appeared recently on the Cato-unbound.org site. Here is a sample of his article, "Is 'Old Europe' Doomed?

Nevertheless, it is undeniable that a pall of doom does currently overhang Europe. In retrospect, the Twentieth Century may be considered Europe's melancholy, long withdrawing roar (to adapt Matthew Arnold's description of the decline of religion). And just as, according to Disraeli, the Continent of Europe would not long suffer Great Britain to be the workshop of the world, so the world would not, and did not, long suffer the Continent of Europe to dominate it, economically, culturally and intellectually. Europe's loss of power, influence and importance continues to this day; and however much one's material circumstances may have improved (just take a look at photographs of daily life in France or Britain in the 1950s and compare them to daily life there today), it is always unpleasant, and creates a sense of deep existential unease, to live in a country perpetually in decline, even if that decline is merely relative.

Fareed Zakaria writes in this week's edition of Newsweek, under the headline "Decline and Fall of Europe",  that "Europe is in deep trouble. These days we all talk about the rise of Asia and the challenge to America, but it might well turn out that the most consequential trend of the next decade will be the economic decline of Europe".

A recent special report  in the Financial Times  raised the question of "The Future of Europe". Leaders met last month in Saltzburg to begin a long discussion aimed at answering the question of where Europe goes after the rejection of the European constitution last year by France and other nations.

The recent flap over publication of cartoons about the Prophet Mohamed has highlighted a spirit of appeasement in some few the elite quarters of European leadership. However, there may be a a few glowing embers smoldering beneath the ashes of European discontent.

This article on National Review online by Emanuele Ottolenghi entitled, "In Europe Not All is Lost", describes a recent poll among European citizens that shows more concern about the state of affairs than some of the headlines might suggest. Are there significant numbers of Europeans who would like to see decisive action taken against Iran's nuclear ambitions or a stronger stand against Islamic militants burning Danish embassies? Perhaps. Look at the figures presented in this paragraph:

Enter the European Foundation for Democracy, a Brussels-based nonprofit organization. EFD has just released a poll, taken during the run-up to the IAEA vote on Iran's nuclear program, of European attitudes to Iran and its nuclear ambitions. The poll was taken in four countries - Austria, the current holder of the EU presidency and host to the IAEA in Vienna, France, Germany, and Great Britain, the members of the EU-3 team that negotiated with Iran over its nuclear program.

Some remarkable data emerge from the surveys. Most respondents are "somewhat worried" or "very worried" about Iran's program: 51 percent in the U.K., 67 percent in Germany, 73 percent in Austria, and 83 percent in France. Most Europeans believe Iran's intentions are not peaceful: 54 percent among French respondents say that Iran's nuclear program aims at nuclear weapons as well as nuclear energy, with a further 24 percent assuming its main goal to be just nuclear weapons. In Germany the breakdown is 62 percent and 20 percent, in Austria it's 71 percent and 14 percent, and in the U.K. it's 43 percent and 9 percent. Even in Great Britain, home of the Guardian and the BBC, more than half of the public understands what the Iranians really want. The public feels that the Iranians' goals should be "strongly prevented" or "somewhat prevented": if one adds up the two categories, 76 percent of Austrians, 74 percent of Germans and French, and 56 percent of Britons wish the Iranian plans to be thwarted.

He concludes there are a number of Europeans who are not willing to lay down and let this tide of apathy continue, they are only waiting for a "wake up call" from strong leadership. Where will this leadership come from?

This column believes there will come a strong voice of leadership that will stir Europe from its current drowsiness. Bible prophecy shows in Revelation 13 that a strong political leader will combine forces for a period with a strong miracle working religious leader. The result will be a a revival in Europe of a strong political system along the lines of the old Holy Roman Empire.  It is likely the existing political structures in Europe will be transformed to accommodate this system. But the groundwork is being laid for this system to emerge out of the current European Union. Read Melvin Rhodes' article on this subject in the current issue of World News and Prophecy.