Europe and the Muslim world seem to be on a collision course that could have major political, economic and ideological ramifications. January 23, 2012, may well come to be remembered as the crucial date when Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" thesis, which many of us believed discredited beyond repair, was reaffirmed.
Political scientist Huntington wrote in 1993 that cultural divisions preclude a defining global civilization, and the West and the Muslim world would never share the same values.
Last month, Europe took two different actions that nonetheless sent the same message to the Muslim world: You are not our equals and are doomed to be judged by standards different from those by which we judge ourselves. Future historians might call January 23 the day when Europe irreversibly alienated not one, but both, pivotal powers -- Iran and Turkey -- that in all probability will dominate the political landscape of the Middle East for several decades.