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America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It

Recorded on January 10, 2007

The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Mark Steyn's bestselling book is the antidote to foreign policy realism. It argues that "stability" and "containment" are mere self-delusion in a world that is undergoing one of the fastest demographic transformations in human history. America Alone is the first book to tie together the key forces in the world today - demographic decline and civilizational exhaustion in the West and Islamism and freelance nuclearization in the East. The intersection of these trends is already changing our world: Europe and Russia will be semi-Islamic in their political character within an election cycle or three, and much of the rest of the map will be re-primitivized. If America cannot save old allies or find new ones, she will find herself trying to hold at bay a very hostile planet. The danger is not a dominant China or a resurgent Russia but a world without order at all, a new Dark Ages of reverse globalization in which the pathologies of the furthest fringes of the map overwhelm the great powers.

How did this happen and what can be done? How did we wind up with a world in which basket-case states like Pakistan and North Korea are nuclear powers while wealthy nations like Norway and New Zealand have almost no military capacity at all? Steyn starts with demography: the Europeans, like the Russians and Japanese, have all but given up breeding. Lavish EU social programs invented in an era of relatively healthy birthrates are now unsustainable. So the Europeans imported a mostly Muslim immigrant population to boost their own sagging population profile. Granted that most European Muslims are not Islamist terrorists, most Islamist terrorists have passed through European Muslim communities to one degree or another: the July 7th London Tube bombers, British subjects born and bred, are only the most extreme face of a new pan-Islamist identity that poses a profound challenge to some of the oldest nation states in the world.

In this fast-changing world, there is no "stability." America, the non-imperial superpower, is happy to send its movies and pop songs and cheeseburgers around the planet but shrinks from promoting the values that underpin its economic dominance - and in so doing risks squandering the American moment and bequeathing the world a new Dark Ages.