For decades, we have been taking our freedom for granted. But suddenly authoritarian populists are threatening liberal societies worldwide.
Time to wake up.
Die Zeit, 4 August 2016.
The headline and subtitle come from Die Zeit, Germany’s most prestigious and “highbrow” weekly broadsheet. Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was co-publisher and co-editor.
The headline is extraordinary.
Since the early 2000s, populists have been gaining ground across Europe, Russia, Turkey and China have become increasingly authoritarian – and the Islamic Awakening began in the 1970s after the catastrophic Arab defeat to Israel in the Six Day War – or even in 1928 with the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or the shock defeats of Muslim armies during Napoleon’s Egypt campaign in the late 1790s.
Obama was elected in 2008 on Yes We Can, and Trump was ahead of Clinton until his monumental Khan gaffe – precisely because people were enraged at dysfunctional domestic, economic and foreign policy.
The political, media and business elites are now surprised at developments – because they are decades behind the curve and have been sleepwalking for decades and even more so since 9/11.
In 1992 I was in Kyrgyzstan, one of the “Stans,”, and wrote a review of a book just published by Germany’s leading Islam expert Bassam Tibi, who has taught at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cornell and UC Berkeley. The final paragraph of that book reads in part:
If the people in the scientific and technologically advanced hegemonic West… do not dial back their arrogance and their megalomania and fail to understand the underdogs better… it is likely that religious fundamentalism in the 21st century will remain the response of these people. Globalisation cannot be reversed… but can be reduced to a minimum by joint efforts. That is the only hope. Otherwise, due to the grave population increase in the world of Islam (doubling every 25 years) and the resultant migration to the rich lightly-populated Western industrial countries, the 21st century will see global civil war. [emphasis in the original].
Across the West, politics and the media are still ignoring this warning. Uncontrolled mass immigration continues, even though radical Islamic has been exploiting the Islamic Diaspora in the West for decades – notably the 9/11 attackers.
By 2050 the global population is due to shoot up by some 2 billion and the Muslim population from 1.6 billion now to 2.9 billion.
The West’s problems have not even begun!