Turkey was once known as the Sick Man of Europe because it appeared to be a failed state headed for collapse and ripe for colonization, but today it is Western Europe that appears to be sick, and Turkey's Islamists, along with their co-religionists in the Middle East that are heading up the reverse colonization effort.
The indecisiveness of the former great powers allowed a failed state like Germany led by a bunch of cheap thugs with a raving lunatic at its head nearly destroy them. What brought Europe to this catastrophic state of affairs was its emphasis on appeasement over defense, and even the willingness to carve up nations like Czechoslovakia rather than confront the clear and present danger of Nazi Germany. By the time they woke up, it was all but too late and only American intervention saved Europe from becoming part of the Thousand Year Reich.
But the end of WW2 demonstrated that Europe had learned no lessons from the disaster, except to once again reassert the dangers of nationalism, a fallacious idea that had led Englishmen and Frenchmen to regard their own nationalism with skepticism while giving the German and Russian varieties a pat on the head. England woke up long enough to let Churchill have his way, but then tossed him out in '45 as soon as things were wrapped up, to once again limp down the curving road of socialism. As is so often the case in the West, the "Stiff Upper Lip" only lasted as long as the bombs were falling. When the fighting was done, it turned out that what the people of the West really wanted was a nanny state to take care of all their needs.
It was once again the United States that had to step in to save Europe from Communism, often against its own protests. American forces stood watches, airlifted food, fought Communist infiltration and did their best to try and rally Europe in its own defense with NATO-- in the face of riots and violent protests from the European left, claiming once again that the real enemy was not the USSR, but the capitalists and warmongers of the United States. And the protests never ended, at US bases and in front of embassies. Anti-Americanism became politically de rigueur for intellectuals and artists. When the Berlin Wall was finally torn down, there was very little acknowledgment that a wall did not enclose far more of Western Europe only because the United States had sent men to stand and die at their posts defending Europe against Communism.
Today German Nazism and Russian Communism have passed into historical memory, the new Russia is National Socialist and nearly as aggressive, but for now has a rich banquet to gobble down in the way of its former republics. It is Islam that threatens Europe's survival, that streams conquering armies into European cities, towns and villages, that burns, rapes and plunders everything in its path. That intends to create a new Thousand Year Ummah in Western Europe. But there are no massed armies now, and the problem has passed beyond the limits of American intervention. Only Europe can save itself now.
America's response to 9/11 helped bring the question of Islamic terrorism into greater focus, but by treating it as a purely military problem, the United States and its European allies have become bogged down in hunting down armed terrorists. But like Communism and Nazism in the decades before WW2, Islam does not yet present a true military threat. For now it consists of armed bands and infiltrators, both armed and more dangerously, those working to build political networks abroad.
If an Islamic Caliphate emerges, a counterpart to the way that Soviet Union came to embody the true incarnation state for Communist and Socialist aspirations, it will field actual military forces bent on conquest. And the world at that point will look very different. Once such a state emerges as the focal point for a Muslim efforts to establish Islamic law and rule worldwide, it can be fought directly, though make no mistake that will be no easy task. Especially since its likeliest points of emergence are either in the Gulf States of Saudi Arabia and the UAE by way of revolution, in Pakistan or Turkey by militarization, or the destroyed remains of Israel. If the projected time of birth is extended far enough, it will likely emerge in Europe itself. Such a state will almost certainly have nuclear weapons and a vast army at its disposal. And then an entirely different sort of WWIII will begin than the one we expected. But that day has not yet come.
For now the Islamic threat is one that strikes at the exposed weaknesses of the West, like the Communists and Nazis before them, Islamists are facile at exploiting the democratic political structures that they don't believe in, to gain influence and power, to divide and conquer, and finally to rule. The colonization and conversion of Europe however is a vast venture taking place on a dizzying array of economic, political, demographic and cultural levels. It is a far vaster and better funded effort than even Soviet backed Communism ever put forward primarily because Islamism has one asset that the USSR did not, a vast army of immigrants with which to swarm and overrun Europe-- all in the name of tolerance, opportunity and open-mindedness.
But all this is only occurring and could only occur by way of consent and apathy. Europe is opening the doors to its own annihilation and subjugation, just as it did toward Nazism and Communism. Viruses may attack a healthy organism, but they are quickly repelled. They only swarm around sick bodies. Were Muslims to try and seize China, they would be laughed at and then shot, not necessarily in that order. By contrast they are experiencing a great deal of success not only in Europe, but in Israel, Australia and to a lesser degree in Canada and the United States. Even Russia, which is hardly liberal or tolerant, is projected to hold a Muslim majority because generations of Communist policies have rotted the Russian birth rate through and through, and not only that of Russia, but virtually every former Soviet republic. A fact of life that Putin's heavy dose of National Socialism has done nothing to change.
This is the combination that has made Europe sick to death, and unless Europeans shake off all three of these factors, Europe will perish. At the heart of all three is socialism, the interlocking lines between the culture of entitlement and the culture of political liberalism. The election of 1945 that turned England away from Churchill and toward cradle to grave socialism must be refought with the right outcome, or WWIII, or Yeats' "War in Our Time" scenario, may be the best hope for Europe's survival. The Sick Man of Europe has met Islam and if he does not cure himself of the same bad thinking that bred the disease, he will perish and die.