Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Migrant Wars

As though Americans had nothing better to do, they are currently consumed in the ongoing migrant wars. True, America is but one front in the ongoing war, with Europe being the other one. While Donald Trump has been trying to lead the American countercharge against what he considers a migrant invasion, the commander of Western Europe’s forces, German Chancellor Merkel, seems as though she is about to be defeated.

The Merkel policy of open arms was also the Obama policy of cosmopolitan internationalism. The Trump policy is nationalistic, as is that of rising political forces in Eastern Europe and now Italy.

Being devoid of sense and incapable of thought American open borders supporters seem above all else to want to add votes to the Democratic column. To their minds, all migrants are good migrants. If America does not allow them all to enter, it is a racist bigoted Nazi nation.

Migrants say they want economic opportunity, but most of them have precious little to contribute. Their reason for being here seems to derive from the notion that open borders, as a leading Mexican presidential candidate has been asserting, is a human right. And, of course, they want to live off the welfare state.

This means that migrants have a right to the wealth and prosperity of a nation, even when they have in no way contributed to it. In its turn this derives from the idea that rich nations are richer than poor nations because they have exploited and oppressed poor nations.

Many parts of Europe are overrun with migrants because they have extremely generous welfare states, paid for by not spending money on their military forces.

Writing in the Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail Margaret Wente gives us a cogent analysis of the current state of the migrant wars in Europe. (via Maggie’s Farm).

Apparently, Europe has run out of patience. Yet, is it too little too late?

Attitudes have hardened on migration across Europe – not only in Hungary and Poland, which have had little tolerance for foreigners, but also in France and even tolerant Sweden. The top two issues in most countries are immigration and terrorism, pollsters find. Experts can lecture all they want about how immigration, terrorism and crime are really pseudo-problems, whipped up to serve the interests of the populists. But the truth is that Europe’s leaders have failed miserably to come up with any common solution to the migration problem. That’s why support for national populists is rising and why centre-right parties are shifting farther right.

The absolute numbers of asylum seekers have fallen dramatically since 2015 – the year of the great surge to Germany. Even so, as the Financial Times says, “The impact of migration on European politics has become truly poisonous.”

As reported here and elsewhere, Angela Merkel is in serious political trouble over her policy. Now, she wants other European nations to share the burden and the pain:

Ms. Merkel is pushing for a common approach and united solutions to Europe’s migration problems. But that’s looking like a lost cause. The idea of “burden-sharing” – which would require every country to take its fair share of asylum claimants – has been a flop, because countries such as Hungary and Bulgaria believe their fair share is zero. Asylum claimants themselves are only interested in going to northern countries with good welfare benefits. Other ideas involve massively beefing up policing of Europe’s external borders – if only they can figure out who will pay and what will become of the migrants who are intercepted. The Italians are now proposing “reception centres” – perhaps located in Europe, or perhaps North Africa, where people can be housed (or detained, depending on your point of view) while their claims are processed.

The larger problem is partly the fact that people in poor countries can see how people in rich countries live. And they know that once they step foot in the rich countries, the chances of their being sent back are small:

None of these solutions address the bigger problem, which is that there is today a near-infinite supply of both economic migrants and asylum seekers, that the distinction between the two can be somewhat arbitrary and that hundreds of millions of people in the most decrepit and dysfunctional places on Earth are now equipped with cellphones that allow them to see how the First World lives. Africa’s population, now about 1.25 billion, is expected to double by the year 2050. That’s a lot of overloaded dinghies.

We are seeing the breakdown of the liberal world order. You know about the liberal world order, the Enlightenment ideal of a borderless world where everyone has the same rights and the same abilities. While Donald Trump is routinely excoriated for failing to make nice with the weak sisters of Western Europe, the problem lies in the liberal elites who have been promoting this policy:

Wente quotes Ivan Krastev, author of After Europe.

His message: Don’t blame the far-right fringes for Europe’s discontent. Blame the oblivious elites. “The inability and unwillingness of the liberal elites to discuss migration and contend with its consequences, and the insistence that existing policies are always positive sum (i.e., win-win), are what make liberalism for so many symbolic with hypocrisy,” he writes.
Can liberalism survive the challenge? We’ll find out. Meanwhile, another refugee ship is adrift on the Mediterranean, looking for a place to land. There will be many more. 

Here is a glimpse of the liberal future? Do you want it, or not?


Ares Olympus said...

In times past moving to far away land for opportunity was even more frightening, but now with more interconnectivity, we can see how others live, and how much wealthier they are than us, and we may want to get that for our kids, even if going there we'll be bottom of the barrel. The story is old, but the scale is increasing.

And really you might consider this a "brain drain" problem as well, since those most well off will soonest leave a country falling into war or poverty or chaos, and as well the bravest and most motivated people will leave first, and trust they can make it elsewhere.

It's similar to the problem of public schools. Republicans want to give parents choice vouchers to avoid failing local schools and so it sends failing schools into death spirals that can't be escaped, until everyone with means leave, and overwhelm the neighboring school districts who have to borrow money to quickly expand until their citizens complain about property taxes and they start failing too.

An a complimentary approach to putting up walls to keep poor huddled masses out would be for wealthy countries to invest in poor countries, not unlike how richer states invest in poorer states through the federal government. And yet we've tried financial aid and often corruption just pulls it into people's pockets, and businesses can pay locals peanuts and pull vast wealth out of the country. And help in things like improving public health can just enable 9 of 9 kids to a mother living instead of 2 of 9, and tripling the problems for the next generation when resources can't keep up.

So We can see how walls of some sort are necessary to keeping local problems local but clearly insufficient to the need. Mass humanity as a force of nature is terrifying.

Sam L. said...

Then, too, there are rapes in Sweden, and areas in Britain where girls are groomed and raped. I wonder when Swedish men will access their inner Viking and take up their swords.

sestamibi said...


What you propose is turbocharged foreign aid, otherwise known as blackmail. Americans are sick of paying for it.

Anonymous said...

I noticed reviews at the time, didn't read it. Maybe I should now. - Rich Lara