While Americans focus on a troubling presidential election, a broader contest for the West’s future is now playing out from Izmir to Berlin.
Amid the prospect of British exit, the European Union continues to grapple with its unresolved migrant crisis. On March 6 Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to meet with Turkey, which she sees as the key to reducing the flow of refugees.
Merkel and her senior ministers need to assure German voters they have the year-long migrant crisis under control, which they do not. They face three big state elections on March 13.
Germany would like in principle to rid the country of free loaders, criminals, and possible jihadi, as would several other EU nations, but they barely have the will and legal power to do it. Meanwhile, large numbers of undocumented aliens are interned, in hiding, or free to roam in passport-free Europe’s underworld. And more are on the way.
Massive illegal migration into Greece from the south and east continues at six times the rate a year ago despite winter weather that makes sea crossings perilous. This year, already, some 400 migrants have drowned in the Aegean. As clement weather arrives, Europeans expect a new surge of émigrés. Estimates of migrants for the year range from 1 to 3 million.
A 3 billion euro deal between the EU and Turkey last November to stem the flows has yet to have impact. Family reunification policies for established asylum seekers remain uncertain, including protocols for importing cousin-wives.
After a year’s hesitation, NATO has dispatched ships to contain coastal human smugglers traveling from Turkey to Greece. Reuters added: “NATO and the EU are eager to avoid the impression that the 28-nation military alliance is now tasked to stop refugees or treat them as a threat,” indicating Europe’s uncertainty and lack of policy resolve.
This state of affairs is unacceptable to an increasing number of Europeans. Simmering outrage over the Cologne assaults on New Year’s Eve has not expired. German authorities and media stand rightly accused of deliberately covering up migrant lawlessness for fear of stoking anti-immigration sentiment.
The once sacrosanct Schengen Treaty allowing free movement through Europe is falling apart. Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Austria have re-imposed passport checks at their borders, ports, and airports. France acted after the terrorist massacre in Paris on November 13. Austria announced testily last week it will only take in 37,500 asylum seekers this year compared to 90,000 last, drawing sharp EU criticism.
German leaders in Frankfurt and Berlin acknowledge strains on schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. They deny an uncontrolled Mideast and African influx into the nation could permanently damage or alter German society, and do so very fast. Limits proposed for 2016 range from 200,000 to 500,000 newcomers, but Merkel has avoided agreeing to explicit caps.
Still, Merkel’s recent statements stand in marked contrast to her past open-door policy, hastily and poorly conceived from the start. We will manage this, Merkel had said for months. “Wir schaffen das.” But her welcome wagon is closing down.
“The numbers need to be reduced further and must not rise again, especially not in the spring,” Merkel said in January. “If there is peace in Syria and Isil is defeated in Iraq, we expect you to return to your homelands, with the knowledge of what you have received from us,” she added.
But does Merkel mean any of this? Should Germans expect a large portion of migrants to return to their homes, whatever or wherever “home” is? Will they go voluntarily or be deported? And how will Germany make this happen? Pledges of deportation ring hollow.
The European left already claims Merkel’s back-off shamefully reneges on Europe’s most basic obligations and honorable duties. Europe’s humane responsibility is to open itself to the world. Reason, global economic interests, human solidarity, and intercultural sensitivity will win the day over Muslim hotheads and Europe’s crypto-fascist nationalists, most liberal Europeans think.
Last summer European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio recklessly spoke of the migrants as an antidote to Europe’s “demographic suicide,” which U.S. and EU open-borders advocates have seized upon since to defend their policies.
Globalists embrace cheap labor and expanding markets. Migrants are, they say, essential ingredients of Europe’s population growth, economic welfare, and healthy future. Older Europeans should count on newcomers to fund their future old-age benefits. In their dreams EU officials and employers perceive the migrants as a reservoir of talent able to “rescue” economies.
Threats of Europe’s aging population and low birth rates are overdrawn. The migrants’ true value added — especially when costs of education and medical care, electricity and heat, food and housing are factored in — is open to question. How much does Europe benefit from newcomers who don’t speak any European language, have limited literacy in their own language, possess few technical skills, indicate little desire or impetus to adopt European mores, and abhor many basic ideas of the West?
Migrants cut hair, wash dishes, drive taxis, or clean streets. How long will they be content to be Europe’s proles? Are migrants or their children likely to be tomorrow’s engineers, architects, and planners? A few, no doubt. More seem destined for low-level service and trades, public assistance, or the demimonde. Germany’s mixed experiences with Turkish ausländer should curb some optimism going forward, since Arab self-identities are, if anything, more intense.
For any certified asylum seeker, Europe offers freedom and safety, good heating, electricity and water — and for those who want them, available women and nightclubs. This is a rational choice compared to living in a refugee tent camp or a rough military life in a chaotic, war-torn homeland.
No doubt faith as well as fortune propels the migration. Many or most of the newcomers are not refugees, and the word is used deceptively. At the end of 2015, the Czech Republic president Milos Zeman said, “what we are facing is an organized invasion.” Who can verify this, really?
But how can any good Muslim be anything but eager to expand Allah and his prophet’s worldly domain without guns or force? A bonus of a better life is to resettle in rich, fertile, and safe land, compelling godless former colonial masters to welcome — not to halt — the incursion.
While talks go on in Brussels and Ankara, the hijra proceeds, an endless caravan fueled by Europe’s own guilt and universalism.
Merkel’s words may be empty, and her change of heart may come too late. Based on her previous moves, many leaders in the Muslim world no doubt think she can be rolled in the future.