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The danger comes not only from the migrants themselves but from their effect on others. The backlash is apparent: a nationalist party now has 94 seats in the German parliament, in which six major parties are represented — as many as at the end of the Weimar Republic. The pride that many Germans feel in their Wilkommenskultur (“welcome culture”) may explain why Angela Merkel has nevertheless been re-elected. Yet when the Israeli journalist Tuvia Tenenbom interviewed these impeccably liberal Germans, he discovered that many of them now feel morally superior to Israel, which they see as a racist state. The Nazi past no longer hangs over them. Germany’s uncontrolled migration has thus inadvertently fuelled anti-Semitism.

Given the threat that uncontrolled migration poses to the West, it should be obvious that the nation state is the best safeguard not only of borders but of security in general. The only effective forces in the fight against IS and other terrorist organisations belong to nation states, although co-operation between them is essential. The same applies to the threat of rogue states, such as North Korea: it is not the United Nations, but the United States that is deterring Kim Jong-un from even more outrageous provocations. The sovereignty principle dovetails well with the defence of democracy not only in the case of the Pacific theatre, but in eastern Europe and the Middle East as well. The nation state is important in upholding values, too. Think of Israel, the only country in its region which upholds religious freedom, liberal democracy, free enterprise, a free press and an open society. Yet Israel, so successful in integrating Jews from all over the world, is also a true nation state, with a substantial proportion of non-Jewish citizens who are equal before the law — including several of the security forces who have died recently at the hands of terrorists.

In mainland Europe, however, the political and intellectual elites are reluctant to accept that the nation state remains a cornerstone of Western civilisation. Indeed, many Europeans have despaired of civilisation itself. There, not only the enemies of the open society, but even those who should be its defenders, are trapped in a pessimistic mindset. Social, cultural and demographic problems are seen, not as soluble, but as harbingers of the long-awaited decline of the West. Yet European intellectuals underestimate the resilience of the Judaeo-Christian values on which our laws, liberties and living standards depend.

Why was President Trump’s speech to the UN seen so differently on either side of the Atlantic? The principle of national sovereignty on which it is based no longer has traction on the continent of Europe. Only in Great Britain, where the fires of patriotism have not been wholly extinguished by 40 years of European immersion, are ideas about sovereignty still taken seriously. Nearly 15 years have passed since Robert Kagan’s seminal essay Of Paradise and Power contrasted the Hobbesian world of American policy and the Kantian dream of universal republic and perpetual peace inhabited by Europeans. The violent reaction against the Trump administration in Western Europe shows that there has been little convergence since Kagan wrote, though America moved closer to the European view during the Obama years and the UK may be moving closer to the American view since the Brexit referendum. The emergence of the Trump doctrine may indeed signal a new transatlantic polarisation.

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