Laqueur, who has four-plus decades of experience writing on Europe's recent and contemporary history, arrives at an essay that seems to be a valediction of his career's geopolitical concern. Viewing Europe's future, he discusses current trends in three areas: the immigration of Muslims, financing of the welfare state, and the European Union. They dominate European political life today, and as Laqueur addresses how these foci of popular and elite attention manifest themselves country by country, the author drives his treatment toward the conclusion that reform is nigh impossible yet unavoidable. Muslim immigrants, he argues, have not been assimilated, don't wish to be, and are profoundly alienated from their host societies. Europe's munificent social-welfare systems don't add up, as Laqueur illustrates with an array of demographic statistics pointing downward and economic numbers pointing sideways. As for the EU, its centralizing aspirations have halted with recent rejections of a constitution and its inability to create a credible military force. Venturing conditional prognostications on these matters, Laqueur delivers a pessimistic assessment.
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