Is There Hope For Europe After All?

OK. I promise. No more articles on France. At least for a while. But given all the articles I have penned recently on the demise of Europe, when some genuinely good news comes along about the moribund continent, it is well worth celebrating and getting the word out.

Of course utopia has not arrived in France. This is not a case of heaven on earth. France in particular and Europe in general have many huge obstacles to overcome, and many entrenched problems to solve. But the French elections offer a genuine ray of hope.

And as I have said in earlier posts, the only real hope for any nation is a spiritual transformation. Nations cannot be saved, but individuals can. And if enough Europeans come back to the faith that made Europe great, we may see national renewal erupting throughout the continent. So keep praying for Europe and the Europeans.

But a few more comments about what France was, and what it may become, are worth recounting here. Anne Applebaum, writing in the Slate (May 8, 2007), gives us some good reasons as to why France has been such a basket case, and why change was so sorely needed. She does this by way of some juicy quotes from Jacques Chirac, the French president of the last 12 years.

Consider some of these gems: On Britain: “The only thing they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease. … You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that.”

On Saddam Hussein: “You are my personal friend. Let me assure you of my esteem, consideration, and bond.”

On Eastern Europe supporting the United States in the United Nations: “It is not really responsible behavior. It is not well-brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to shut up.”

On Iran’s nuclear program: “Having one or perhaps a second bomb a little later, well, that’s not very dangerous.” Says Applebaum, “Theoretically, Chirac was supposed to be negotiating with Iran to give up its nuclear program at the time.”

On hearing a French businessman address a European summit in English, “deeply shocked,” he stormed out of the room.

Summarises Applebaum, “As I say, it’s a very important legacy: One of consistent scorn for the Anglo-American world in general and the English language in particular, of suspicion of Central Europe and profound disinterest in the wave of democratic transformation that swept the world in the 1980s and 1990s, of preference for the Arab and African dictators who had been, and remained, clients of France. In his later years, Chirac constantly searched, in almost all international conflicts, for novel ways of opposing the United States. All along, he did his best to protect France from the rapidly changing global economy.”

And for a bit of pizzazz and humour, Ann Coulter had these remarks about the turn of events in France (, May 9, 2007): “I’m off to Paris! I hereby revoke every churlish remark I’ve ever made about those lovely Gallic people. (But in light of former New Jersey governor and current ‘gay American’ Jim McGreevey’s latest career move, I redouble everything I’ve ever said about the Episcopalians.) With Nicolas Sarkozy’s decisive victory as the new president of France, the French have produced their first pro-American ruler since Louis XVI.”

“In celebration of France’s spectacular return to Western civilization, I bought a Herve Leger dress on Monday, and we’re having croissants for breakfast every day this week. This delicate French pastry, by the way, is in the shape of a crescent to commemorate the Crusaders’ victory over Islam. Aren’t the French just peachy?”

She reminds us that the election may cause us to change our understanding of one major global pastime: America-bashing. “It looks like the Democrats are going to have to drop their talking point about Bush irritating the rest of the world. Evidently not as much as Muslim terrorists irritate the rest of the world. The politicians who hate Bush keep being dumped by their own voters.” Indeed, consider Angela Merkel in Germany or Stephen Harper in Canada as but two recent examples.

“As I understand it, the center of the supposedly America-hating world is France. But now it turns out even the French don’t hate America as much as liberals do. Au contraire! (We can say that again!) Our Georgie is the most popular American with the French since Jerry Lewis. All over the civilized world, voters are turning terrorist-coddling liberals out of office and voting for politicians friendly toward Bush, the world’s sworn enemy of Islamic fascism. Those foreign leaders so admired by Democrats for hating George Bush and loving Saddam Hussein are being replaced by rulers who pledge their friendship to the United States.”

She concludes, “Until this week, France seemed a less likely place to find someone who supports America than a meeting of Democrats. Apparently, even the French prefer Western civilization to clitorectomy-performing, car-burning savages. The Democratic Party is now officially the only organization on Earth that does not take the threat of Islamic fascism seriously. Between the Democrats and the media, America has gone from its usual position as the world’s last hope to radical Islam’s last hope.”

Or as Fred Thompson puts it, “Maybe it’s time to rethink the ‘boycott France’ movement that got so much attention a few years ago. Americans once toasted General Lafayette, and his son Georges Washington Lafayette. I think this would be a good time to toast Monsieur Sarkozy. And if you’re going to use wine for that toast, make it French wine.”

I’ll drink to that.

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4 Replies to “Is There Hope For Europe After All?”

  1. Bill,
    I’m mystified by your description of Europe as “moribund”. What is the basis for this description?

    OECD figures indicate that Europe generally has seen strong economic growth for the last two quarters of 2006, and is outpacing the United States.

    I quote:
    “Activity in the euro area has outpaced that in the United States in recent quarters, with growth above
    potential and largely driven by domestic demand. The German recovery has been particularly vigorous and
    the Italian economy has picked up more than expected, but growth has been fairly subdued in France.”
    (Source: What is the economic outlook for OECD countries? An interim assessment. OECD, Paris, 13th March 2007)

    Alan Simpson, Queensland

  2. It just goes to show what a good job the media are doing at hiding the truth. They make it appear as if Howard, Bush and Blair are going against the majority.
    Matthew Mulvaney

  3. Thanks Alan
    But where in that sentence do I refer to economics, or limit my concerns only to economics? I have argued elsewhere that on a number of levels, Europe is in decline: culturally, politically, spiritually, morally, etc.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  4. Perhaps a bit of good news for England… I hear they are going after the riot and murder inciting Imams in earnest, finally. Perhaps a desire for self preservation might spill over into concern for preserving others lives, might spill over to concern for the youngest and most vulnerable human lives in biotech pragmatic England (maybe they’ll learn from the more conservative Germans on this issue), maybe…

    But as you say Bill, it is a lot more than economics. And at the core it has a lot to do with attitudes toward special revelation in Scripture, God’s grace, and supremely where one stands in relationship with Jesus Christ. Psa 1:1 get it right. Psa. 2 pretty much describes things as they currently are without regard for God or His Son.

    Joe Whitchurch, Indianna, USA

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