Steve Kramer

Barbarians at the gates

In the United States, the question of illegal immigrants, or whatever the politically correct term is this month, is near the top of the list for aspirants to be the Republican or Democratic candidate for president. Though the topic generates headlines, it isn’t an existential issue for Americans, because the United States was built on the backs of immigrants and will continue to need them.

Not so for Europe, where the barbarians are literally at the gates. I use the word barbarian in its original sense: a member of a community or tribe not belonging to one of the great civilizations: Greek, Roman, or Christian. While the news media post big headlines and innumerable articles about the huge influx of migrants, war-torn refugees or economic emigrants, two things are glaringly absent from nearly all reports. That is the fact that the overwhelming majority of these unfortunate people are Muslims and that the wealthy Arab countries will not accept any of them to become citizens.

The exception is when figures such as Hungary’s prime minister, Victor Orban proclaim, “I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country. We do not like the consequences [referring to the country’s 150-year history of Ottoman rule during the 16th and 17th centuries].” So far, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have followed suit. The much-vaunted “open borders” of the EU are closing. Even Denmark, which once generously welcomed Muslims, is discouraging would-be refugees, cutting benefits and even placing anti-immigration ads in Lebanese newspapers.

Germany and Sweden are Europe’s biggest benefactors of the hundreds of thousands streaming out of North Africa and the Middle East. While Sweden seems to operate out of moralistic notions, Germany combines that with an economic imperative. Despite having taken in many migrants from Turkey in the past decades, its population is dropping quickly and there is a growing shortage of semi-skilled and skilled labor. Admitting “800,000” newcomers in 2015 (and for many years thereafter) may make economic sense, but it’s still a controversial proposition. As proof of that, Germany has become overwhelmed with migrants and has set its own border controls.

Professor Arnon Soffer, known for his research into demographic, water, environmental, political, and strategic issues of the state of Israel and a founder of the University of Haifa, told The Jerusalem Post on September 7 that the current refugee crisis is a result of uneven population growth around the world, which he expects to worsen. He said as populations in poor countries around the world are exploding, while European birthrates continue to decline. The continent of Europe is “committing suicide” for allowing its population to diminish so much, he said, that it has become a culture that, “would rather have cats and dogs than children.”

“[Soffer] used the continent of Africa as an example. With around one billion people currently living on the continent and another half billion expected in the next decade, Soffer does not think it will be possible to create the necessary infrastructure, water systems, medical clinics and schools to accommodate everyone. This, he said, will force more and more people to seek asylum elsewhere. [Building Africa’s infrastructure to cope with 500 million more Africans] in another 10 years? Mission impossible. [The migrants] will head for one [place]: Europe.

“[Soffer] said that though countries like Germany are welcoming in refugees with open arms and need more young people, they may face a backlash from their own populace who want to maintain local culture. However, the  Muslim population in Europe is not interested in assimilating and that this will only worsen as more arrive.” (

David P. Goldman has written extensively on this subject in his book, How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam Is Dying Too). Like ancient Greece and Rome, Europe has lost faith in itself. Europeans today are hedonistic, spending only on themselves, with little thought for tomorrow. Europeans have failed at the most elementary task of a successful civilization: raising children.

In no European country is the birthrate at replacement level. Europe’s expectation of positive population growth remains in the hands of migrants. Can Europe save itself by admitting millions of Muslim migrants annually, for many decades to come? Perhaps, but will Europe in the mid-21st century resemble the Europe of today? The continent has already changed dramatically with a Muslim population of only 6%, yet most of the change is beyond the view of tourists.

There are currently 1.6 billion Muslims throughout the world, the majority of whom reside further east in Asia (Indonesia, India, and Pakistan have the three largest Muslim populations). Close to Europe, more than 300 million Muslims live in the Middle East and N. Africa, with another 250 million Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa. Many families now live in tent camps, dislocated by war, while the younger generation despairs for something worthwhile to do.

This situation is fertile ground for cultivating jihadis, an effort generously backed by Gulf Arab states and Iran, which don’t offer similar funding to improve conditions to keep their Muslim brothers in their homelands. Scores of millions of discouraged Muslims (mostly younger men) will migrate to Europe in the coming decades, for lack of finding a safe or economically promising environment in their homelands. Judging from recent European history, some of these migrants will want to assimilate, most will not, and a deadly minority will be Islamist-jihadists. Of course, this is precisely the aim of the Islamist leaders.

Are the wealthy Gulf Arabs and Iranians helping their fellow Muslims? No. They have given some money, a fraction of what the United States has donated, but they steadfastly accept no refugees. On the other hand, they have plenty of money to fund competing terrorist militias throughout the region, exacerbating the problem of war-torn societies with failing economies.

What about the responsibility of the Ummah, the entire Muslim world, for hundreds of thousands of migrants who leave their countries every year, for whatever reason? Responsibility seems to be absent. Why doesn’t the West point a finger at Muslims and demand that they rehabilitate themselves, instead of feeling the need to take in these migrants in huge numbers, year after year, which they must know will irrevocably change Europe’s character?

The West, including the United States, needs to recharge itself. As effete Europe declines, and the Middle East falls apart, Russia and Iran seem to be picking up the pieces. Things are definitely going in the wrong direction! The U.S. needs to choose leaders who want America to regain its place as an engine of world growth and the protector of Western values. The next American election is crucial for deciding whether the U.S. will join the tired, weak Europeans or regain its post-WWII energy. America is Europe’s last hope before surrendering to an unending stream of people whose values are not Western.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.