Kaplan is one the useful stooge lackeys who knows little, but pontificates a lot….
As for invoking the future threat of the “dementia of ideologies,” what is Kaplan talking about? The only “dementia” apparent in Europe today is that of Muslim migrants in mental thrall to the ideology of Islam and, just as worrisome, the dementia of those non-Muslims who, like Robert Kaplan, fail to see what is staring them in the face – not the promise of a “new Europe” but the threat of a Europe that could be destroyed by the failure of its citizens to recognize, halt, and determinedly turn back, what has now become a Muslim invasion.
ROBERT KAPLAN: ‘EUROPE WAS DEFINED BY ISLAM. AND ISLAM IS REDEFINING IT NOW.’
Is it really Europeans who need to compromise?
Robert Kaplan, a contributing editor to The Atlantic, has just published a piece on Islam and the future of Europe. He claims, startlingly, that Europe “was essentially defined by Islam,” by which he means that before Islam swept across North Africa, Europe consisted of a single civilization, on both banks of the Mediterranean — that of the Roman Empire — and that Islam’s arrival severed “the Mediterranean region into two civilizational halves.” It is true that Muslim conquerors swept across North Africa in the seventh and eighth centuries, but not quite true, pace Kaplan, that they “extinguished Christianity there.”
Millions of Coptic Christians remained a majority in Egypt until the 14th century (that is, for at least 700 years after the time that Kaplan claims Muslim armies “virtually extinguished Christianity” in North Africa). And while it is true that the Roman Empire was sundered, it was not only by the forces of Islam, as Kaplan appears to believe: before the Arab armies arrived, others had been seizing territory from Roman control, including the Visigoths in Spain and the Vandals, who conquered the Roman province of Africa in 433 and held it till 539.
Kaplan quotes with evident approval Jose Ortega y Gasset that “all European history has been a great migration toward the North.” Is that true? The Roman Empire fell because of a great migration of the Germanic tribes from the north and northeast to the South; it was they, the Barbarians, who beat down the steady Roman legions and seized Rome in 476 A.D., with the Germanic warrior Odoacer placed on the throne. And even before the Fall of Rome, the Roman Empire had divided into Eastern and Western Empires, one ruled from Rome, the other from Constantinople. Surely that split was just as significant, for the future of European civilization, with the Western empire embracing Latin Catholicism, and the Eastern empire Orthodox Christianity, as the loss of North Africa to Islam.
Racing through the centuries, Kaplan in the same sentence leaps from “the breakup of the Roman empire” (into East and West, but he says nothing further about the colossal effect of that split) to “that northward migration” which “saw the Germanic peoples (the Goths, Vandals, Franks, and Lombards) forge the rudiments of Western civilization.” This is a doubly bizarre remark, since it was their southern migration which brought the Germanic peoples within the borders of the Roman Empire and ultimately to Rome. And it was the Romans of both the Western and Eastern Empires, not the Germanic tribes, who forged more than the rudiments of Western civilization, including such monumental achievements as, in the Eastern Empire, the Code of Justinian.
Kaplan fleetingly mentions, exactly three times, what should be at the center of any history of Europe: Christianity itself. He writes that the Slavs and Magyars “adopted Christianity,” that European unity began with the concept of a “Christendom” in “inevitable opposition to Islam,” and that Muslims in Europe today “have no desire to be Christians” – and that’s all he has to say on the subject of Europe and Christianity. He does not discuss what Christianity has contributed to forming the European mentality over the last two thousand years, or how it has influenced, even shaped, Europe’s art and music, its literature, its philosophy, its political thought, its more, none of it thinkable without taking into the account the influence of Christianity. Kaplan has Islam on his mind, and were he to do justice to Christianity, his readers might begin to see the sense of insisting that it was not Islam, but Christianity, that “defined Europe.”
Kaplan several times mentions Edward Said’s book Orientalism favorably, claiming that it set out how “Islam had defined Europe culturally, by showing what it was against. Europe’s identity, in other words, was built in significant measure on a sense of superiority to the Muslim Arab world on its periphery.” What Said mainly tried to do in Orientalism was different: to endow with a new and insidious meaning the word “Orientalist,” which hitherto had referred neutrally to Western scholars of the languages of the Levant (especially Arabic), and of Islam and Islamic civilization. Said claimed that these “Orientalists” studied Arabic as part of a deliberate campaign to justify and help the project of Western imperialism by means of their putatively unsympathetic or hostile treatment of Oriental peoples. The devastating detailed critique of Said’s use of “Orientalism” as a term of polemical abuse, delivered by Bernard Lewis in 1982, and which many considered a knockout blow, apparently has not yet reached Robert D. Kaplan.