Friday, August 28, 2015

European Refugee Crisis

Two stories in the news today:  70 or so dead refugees found in a truck in Austria; and an equal number in one of the seemingly endless supply of unseaworthy boats trying to cross to Europe from North Africa.  Meanwhile thousands try to sneak through the channel tunnel to England.

What interests me is the almost invariable reporting of this as a European story.  People seem to have so given up on any hope that the people generating this problem in Syria, Iraq and North Africa have the capacity to ever deal with the problems that they are deliberately generating every day.  And let's just be blunt here: most of these people are not economic migrants, they are refugees from Islamic sectarian wars.  This is not a European problem, although Europeans are bearing the cost.  Of course, it is not a good idea for people whose own inability to control their viciousness killed fifty million less than a century ago, to act too ethically superior, but that was then, and this is now.  Moralizing about the past does nothing to solve the problems of the millions who are being displaced now.

It is time for the rest of the world, particularly the people in Europe and North America, to stop treating Muslims as some sort of subhuman savages who cannot be expected to live in peace with others.  This problem is never going to be solved inside Europe; only when governments and lunatic religious cults in the Middle East and North Africa give up the notion that it is right to kill in the name of God.

Well, that is easy to say, but how do you make them behave?  I don't have a clue, unfortunately, but certainly, it isn't by pretending that this is just a refugee resettlement problem to be borne by someone else, far from the endless conflicts.  The nations of the world are so held in thrall by Saudi oil, and the damage the Saudis can do to their economies, that they are petrified of the truth.  Maybe they need to think twice about the price they are paying to avoid a temporary pain at the hands of the Saudis.  Maybe it needs to be made clear to the Saudis that if they do to Europe what they recently did to Russia, their leaders will be stripped of their rule.  Maybe it's time that someone else control the flow of Middle Eastern oil, so nations are free to do the right thing without subjecting their citizens to economic sabotage.


Magpie said...

Historically, Western agencies have used native religious crackpots to undermine efforts of any secular power within a Middle-eastern country from nationalizing there resources or taking otherwise control from vicious hereditary rulers compliant to Western interests. By ‘Western’ I really mean corporate interests.
The current situation is the long term consequences of that.
As you have said so many times, GE, in quite different contexts… “don’t whistle up what you can’t put down”.

At other times total bastard dictators like Saddam Hussein have been able to contain sectarian contradictions, though often simultaneously engaging in acts of aggression against local populations that we could not countenance. So for much of recent history these nasty religious brews have had a lid on them.

What should happen is that the advanced democratic nations of the world should form a compact about what type of powers they do and don’t do business with. Unfortunately it is very hard to get ethical leadership happening among the community of nations when a power like the US won’t become party to something as self-evidently ethical as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child because Americans themselves are too busy pandering to their own religious a-holes who oppose it.

Infidel753 said...

In fairness, "the people generating this problem" are mainly ISIS and somewhat related groups in Libya. ISIS's rise to power in Iraq was at least somewhat facilitated by Bush's ineptitude in (a) invading Iraq in the first place and then (b) helping prop up a sectarian Shiite government which fueled Sunni extremism (the rise of ISIS in Syria was, admittedly, driven by local forces the US had very little to do with). It's hard to estimate what percentage of Middle Easterners support ISIS, but it's certainly very small.

As for those who are trying to "make them behave", that's primarily the Kurds and Iraqis and various forces in Syria, who are bearing the brunt of fighting ISIS and making most of the sacrifices involved. In this, they're supported primarily by Iran, though the US is also providing important air support. So there are substantial forces within the Middle East itself trying to deal with this problem and restore stability.

I should also note that Jordan and Lebanon, whose combined population is less than ten million, have between them taken in almost two million refugees from Syria despite being poorer than most European countries. This dwarfs the 300,000 said to be trying to enter the wealthy EU with its population of 450 million. Turkey has taken in another 1,700,000.

We can't treat the people of the Middle East as a homogenous mass. They have extremist religious crazies and a more sane and secular majority, as the US does. The violence reflects the fact that the extremists, like religious Europeans centuries ago, feel entitled to use warfare to enforce their orthodoxies. ISIS is not so much like the Nazis as it is like the Europeans who waged the Thirty Years War and the Crusades -- which also produced large refugee flows.

Green Eagle said...

I really feel like I succeeded at something, when I get intelligent, well thought out comments like the two above. Thanks, and I can only regret that sane people have so little power in the world today.