How Europe is going to die

Since 2009 sovereign debt crisis, things have not really gotten better economically either

Aneela Shahzad February 16, 2024
The writer is a geopolitical analyst. She also writes at and tweets @AneelaShahzad


While global population is projected to increase to 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050 and 10.4 billion by 2100, contrarily Europe’s population will have decreased by 6% by then. As a typical case, Latvia, for instance, has lost almost one-third of its population in the last 30 years, reasons being negative balance of births and deaths and emigration. Besides, suicide and obesity also count for major reasons in several European countries.

Since the 2009 sovereign debt crisis, things have not really gotten better economically either. Rising rents, mortgages, energy prices and inflation, coupled with zero-growth and a looming recession, all point to a downside future.

Interestingly, Douglas Murray’s 2017 book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, points to another reason for Europe’s deaths other than mass migration of new peoples into Europe and low birth rates among the indigenous. Murray says that European civilization, as it has historically existed, will not survive because at the same time “Europe lost faith in its beliefs, traditions, and legitimacy.” Is Europe really ‘exhausted by history’ and ‘colonial guilt’? Is it readily giving up its modern values and accepting the strong beliefs of migrants who are slowly invading its space? All this may be open to argument, but there is another way Europe seems to be pushing itself right into a suicide mission.

The rush has been seen for the last couple of months, when all of a sudden, defence officials of several European nations have started announcing how they aim to start a war with Russia. In December, the German Defence Minister warned that Germany has to be prepared for a possible war in Europe because of “escalating Russian threats by the end of the decade”. He urged all European countries to start fortifying their defence industries. In January, the UK army chief warned the citizens to prepare for massive war with Russia, and insisted that only “citizen armies” via mass mobilisation would be able to defeat the coming onslaught on the West’s way of life — thus potentially putting the whole of population in the line of fire. In the same days Sweden’s government and defence officials publicly called the population to prepare for war. And security chiefs of both Norway and Poland have said that Europe has “two, maybe three years” to prepare for war with Russia.

Meanwhile, NATO — which is obviously led by the US, who dragged Europe to fight the Russian in Ukraine in the first place — will be holding ‘Steadfast Defender 2024’, all the way from January to May, in the eastern flank countries bordering Russia. About 90,000 troops, 50 battleships, 80 fighter jets, helicopters, drones and over 1,100 combat vehicles including 133 tanks will be rehearsing how NATO executes its attacks, in response to a ‘maybe’ Russian attack. The same West whose financial support for Ukraine is drying up is full of resources for Steadfast Defender. And the same eastern flank of Europe — which, critics have been warning, will become the prime battleground once it offends Russia by becoming part of NATO — is now where all the ballistic missiles are being placed and where all the exercises are being held.

So, what good did Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania extract from becoming NATO members, except becoming first and direct targets in any potential war with Russia? Same goes for all eastern flank states: while they will be in the line of fire, the real ‘west’ as in the US, the UK, France and Germany will be comfortably placed in the far end. Is that not the reason why these NATO members are so anxious to go to war with Russia, even after facing a dire defeat in Ukraine, because they would be engaging only indirectly?

Putin has categorically been saying that Russia is not interested in a wider war with NATO or Europe. The reason being its success in asserting itself in Ukraine, and its eye on a progressive future with its ally China and within the BRICS. Yet, classified military information leaked from the German Defence Ministry predicts a large-scale ‘Zapad 2024’ exercise and a Russian ‘hybrid’ attack this year with mobilisation of 200,000 soldiers. Russia could start waging war in the Baltics by July using “severe cyberattacks” while stirring up discontent among Russian nationals in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the war-frenzy document says.

So, how will Europe really die? Is low birth rate, influx of migrants, obesity and intoxication are going to be the reason? Is the death simply a manifestation of the earlier death of belief and values? Or is it a self-provoked death called in by the capitalist elites who always need absolute global dominance, and for which they would be willing to put whole countries and whole populations in the line of fire? And for this they are preparing their nations now, like British General Patrick Sanders has asserted that it is actually Russia that is “defeating our system and way of life politically, psychologically, and symbolically”, so the whole continent has to convert itself into a war machine.

Every citizen is being asked to prepare, as if a 1.3 million Russian military would be in every street in 44 European countries. The question the people of Europe need to ask is: was NATO there to protect them or is it here to push them into unwinnable wars? People need to ask: why are their leaders not mending their ways with Russia? Why is there no mediation or dialogue with Russia? Why is it essential that Europe should have its ally across the ocean and its slayer right next door? And whose war will the people of Europe be fighting when fighting Russia?

Or perhaps if Murray is right, and if Europe has really lost faith in its beliefs, traditions and legitimacy, perhaps it will embrace a martyrdom fighting Russia just to find back its lost value and reason to be.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2024.

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