During the last year, facing waves of migrants and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East, Europe and its immigration policies have contrasted with the unapologetic self-interest and exclusionism of Russia, Israel, and the Gulf States.
Greece saw this flood coming, but as part of the European Union, maintained its open borders. Turkey made no effort to seize boats or break up smuggling rings. The Italian coast guard gladly assisted arrivals.
Europe has lost control of its borders, admits Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. These illegal immigrants, once inside, are essentially free to travel at will. And the influx is not abating. Thousands are pouring into Greece daily. Meanwhile, the number of genuine Syrian and Iraqi refugees is quickly being revised downward.
Even liberal Americans and Europeans are aghast. Not all, by any means. Although terrified by the prospect of social destruction, a number remain silent for fear of seeming ethnocentric or inhumane.
Moral exhibitionism runs high. To hear United Nations and EU officials talk, accepting these newcomers and many more like them constitutes a core test for humanitarian and liberal principles. The media draw pictures of desperate souls who deserve unending compassion. But few of Europe’s new immigrants are fleeing wars and persecution, bombs or bullets. Even most Syrians were already in Turkey, out of harm’s way.
Still, the U.S. is “morally bound” to accept “Syrian huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” thunders a Huffington Post editorial. “Those dreadful Hungarians with their water cannons,” my sweet, trusting neighbor who reads the New York Times as scripture declares. “And that poor little boy who washed up on shore.”
Americans are for the most part naïve or unmindful. The issue did not surface in the GOP “debate” last week. Yet public opinion in the U.S. and Europe is shifting fast, as what’s happening feels more like an invasion and propaganda campaign than not.
Robust, tough, often undocumented young men are strong-arming their way across southeast Europe, strewing debris and trash as they go. Like gypsies, they are using women and children as decoys, tugging hearts to play continental altruism and world media bias in their self-interest.
After 11,000 migrants arrived in Munich on September 12, Germany backed away from its earlier, reckless open-borders declaration, suspending free trans-border movement. German authorities also realized that a significant number they were processing were not in fact refugees from Syria. A train — destination Berlin — stopped midway when the emergency brakes were pulled. One hundred and seventy-nine migrants — to be registered and processed according to EU rules — jumped off and disappeared.
Four days later, Hungarian riot police fired water cannons and tear gas at 1,500 trespassers attempting to break through the country’s border fence with Serbia, chanting “Allah hu Akbar.” Thousands then charged Croatia’s border. Facing a “determined march westwards,” according to Reuters, police were “overwhelmed” and helpless to stem the flow. Croatia reversed its open-borders policy, forcing Hungary to admit the lawless intruders.
The UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland expressed shock at Hungary’s self-defense. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein of Jordan found “clear violations of international law.”
To Central Europe the EU and Germany come across as bullies and blackmailers. The paramount question on the table: Can Brussels and Berlin force reluctant sovereign nations to take in refugees against their will?
They apparently can, since EU ministers —— overruling and isolating the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania —— approved through an unprecedented formal vote this week a controversial plan backed up by financial penalties to relocate 120,000 migrants across the continent. This is only a fraction of the newcomers flowing into Europe. The UN estimates half a million arrivals already this year. Frontex, the EU’s border agency, says 500,000 more emigrants are preparing to leave Turkey.
Current events could foreshadow the EU’s collapse. German chancellor Angela Merkel and her government could face defeat and ignominy, if they continue to force their pan-European values and politics on the rest of Europe. The longer this crisis goes on, the more sober and defensive Germany will probably become.
Europe and the U.S. have brought this crisis on themselves, some argue, and yes, that is a defensible point. As Walter Russell Mead points out, U.S. Middle Eastern policy is “one of the most striking examples of serial failure in the annals of American foreign policy.” Nonetheless, sectarianism and Muslim belligerence are the main causes of the Middle East’s protracted, never-ending chaos.
To address the Syrian crisis, the White House and its allies in Congress seek to raise U.S. admission of refugees from all over the world by 15,000 annually to 100,000 in 2017. This plan is meeting resistance, however, from other lawmakers distressed by immigration policies.
No one contests the manifold suffering here. But if a surprisingly large number of migrants do not act or look like refugees, it is because they are not.
Afghanis and Pakistanis, Senegalese and Nigerians, like everyone in the Third World, I suppose, want a better life. It is understandable they would welcome Europe’s wealth and freedom from strife. The newcomers want the treats: housing, good plumbing, electric lighting, hospitals and medicine. They love the smartphones and iPods. What else they want often remains a mystery.
Most migrants are Muslims. Few intend or desire to adapt to European society. Many scorn Christians and Jews. They reject freedom of speech and religion, thinking of non-Muslims as infidels without human rights. They openly subjugate women, excluding them from governance, worship or thought. They think homosexuals should perish.
Moderate Muslims are willing to live under the law of their country of adoption, we are admonished. Yes, yes, of course. We’ve heard that proviso for years. We also know some will try to impose their ideology upon the West. Add more and they will become further emboldened and intimidating, as France, Sweden, and United Kingdom have learned the hard way.
The New York Times editorial board and others profess newcomers will rejuvenate the continent and provide needed economic talent. “People may not realise that their compassion makes good economic sense, but it does,” Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky writes from Berlin. “Xenophobia doesn’t.”
But xenophobia is irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries. It’s an easy insult to hurl at adversaries. The concern here is ultra-rational and appropriate, given sketchy aliens who reject secularism and who are attempting to force their way into nations.
If Europeans try to keep refugees out of Europe, others scold, they are agents of a new Holocaust. Those who demur are Nazis. The parallel with German Jews in the 1930s is melodramatic but inaccurate. Jews were assimilated German citizens persecuted and targeted for death by their own government.
In fact — and let’s make this perfectly clear — it is Jews, Christians, and Yazidi who are Middle Eastern targets. Christian refugees have avoided the camps for fear of persecution from rogue Islamist groups already there, observes the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Saudi reluctance to help? The answer is not hard to work out. Saudi Arabia has fed radical Islam since the 1980s. Why would it prevent incursions into Europe through North Africa and Central Asia? Imams must relish the idea of the faithful infiltrating and occupying Europe, possibly receiving hugs along the way.
A Syrian influx there “would threaten to overturn a highly delicate demographic balance that the Gulf states rely on to keep functioning,” the BBC reports, and “maintain their dominant status without being overrun by Arabs from other countries, or South Asian labourers.”
But it is apparently OK — and maybe a good thing — to overturn Europe’s less delicate demographic balance. Let’s ignore stressed employment, medical, housing, and school systems. Let’s indelibly compromise its culture in the name of diversity and globalism’s inevitability.
We have a name for another invasion of the West, folks who were also looking for a better life and able to breach a sprawling empire: the Vandals. The right word for the migration may be hegira or hijra — and much of Europe’s political class appears to be on the side of the pilgrims.
These are not the huddled masses. Many refugees and asylum seekers are something else. The sooner the West recognizes what they are and what they want, the more agony it will spare itself in the future.