Originally produced on Aug. 22, 2016 for Mauldin Economics, LLC
Any discussion of Islamist terrorism in Europe and the refugee crisis has to be placed in a broader historical context. One way to approach this is to think about the Mediterranean Sea, which was central to the Roman Empire.
The Romans occupied both shores of the Mediterranean and created a single integrated political and economic system around it. As the Roman Empire declined, the system fractured. The general outcome was that Christianity was prevalent on the northern shore of the Mediterranean, and Islam became dominant on the southern shore.
Over time, both extended beyond the Mediterranean basin. Christianity extended to the east (into Russia) and north of the Alps (into Germany, Britain, and Scandinavia). Islam extended south (deeper into Africa) and east (into the Indian Ocean basin and the South China Sea).
But the Mediterranean remained the center of gravity and the flash point o