Spengler, the pen name for Jewish American observer David Goldman, offers an important counterweight to the usual doomist takes on European civilization. When I say Jewish, I mean his viewpoint is that of a pious and observant Jew, no more, no less. He sees that Islam is in the middle of a demographic catastrophe all the more serious because, what took us 150 years of industrial progress to achieve, in terms of declining female fertility, has been collapsed into three generations in Islamic countries. From 12 children to four to one and a half. The data he presents from the United Nations in his book “How Civlizations Die” is convincing.
Goldman holds the view that entire civilizations go extinct in time, somewhat as species go extinct in time. He does not hold out much hope for any tribe except his own and those that are motivated by faith. In Goldman’s universe, expect the Amish and the Hutterites to share a future with the Armenians and the Jews, and those whose faith encourages fertility.
Whether you believe that or not, listen to his words on the subject of Islam’s crisis.
The great task of diplomacy in the 21st century is a sad and dreary one, namely managing the decline of Muslim civilization. There is a parallel to the great diplomatic problem of the late 19th and early 20thcentury, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, which the diplomats bungled horribly.
It is no job for the idealistic, namely the Americans, nor for the squeamish, namely the Europeans. The breakdown of civil order in a great arc from Beirut to Basra has already displaced 20 million people and raised the world refugee count from 40 million in 2011 to 60 million in 2014, with scores of millions at risk. After it failed to build democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States fell into a sullen torpor in which serious discussion of intervention in the regime is excluded. The hypocritical Europeans averted their eyes until millions of desperate people appeared on their doorstep, and remain clueless in the face of the worst humanitarian crisis since the last world war.
That leaves Vladimir Putin as the last, best hope of a region already halfway over the brink into the abyss. That is a disturbing thought, because the Russian leader has played the spoiler rather than the statesman in his wrangling with Western powers over the past decade and a half. Nonetheless, Russia has an existential interest in sorting out the Levant. Muslims comprise a seventh of the population of the Russian Federation, and the growing influence of ISIS threatens to give a fresh wind to terrorism inside Russia. Mr. Putin might rise to the occasion.