William Pfaff is the author of The Irony of Manifest Destiny, published in June 2010 by Walker and Company (New York) -- his tenth and culminating work on international politics and the American destiny. He describes the neglected sources and unforeseen consequences of the tragedy towards which the nation's current effort to remake the world to fit America's measure is leading. His previous books and his articles in The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and his syndicated newspaper column, featured for a quarter century in the globally read International Herald Tribune, have made him one of America's most respected and internationally influential interpreters of world affairs.   [Read more...]
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Murders in Paris and Lessons Learned

PARIS, January21, 2015 -- — This month’s murders in Paris have caused an upheaval in how the non-Muslim world views its Muslim citizens in Europe and the United States. This presents a bigger and more urgent problem than what the Muslims think about us, even when they kill us.

Their presence is the source of the crisis that both the immigrants and European society now experience, which is religious and cultural, and for that reason ultimately political and powerfully resistant to resolution. Not only for individuals, but for whole communities.

The Europeans had been glad to recruit post-1945 laborers but thought they would go “home” when Europe was ready to dispense with them. However, the immigrants had found their new home, uncomfortable as it may have been, in Europe. Thus has the crisis slowly developed.

Britain treated immigrants according to the imperial and colonial precedents, dealing with the communities they formed as their members’ own affair so long as British law was observed, officialdom dealing with the immigrants by way of the community or religious leadership that existed or naturally developed. Britain accommodated immigrants in exceptional ways, sometimes supporting Muslim or Sikh religious schools (as well as permitting Sikh policemen to wear turbans!). The result was that quasi-ghettos developed, like overseas colonies, with Islamic banks and even official tribunals where Sharia law is applied in civil litigation.


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