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Monday, September 7, 2015

The migrant crisis becomes an international problem.

Link: Austria welcomes new migrants from Syria.

At times I am tempted to avoid posting on certain issues for fear of alienating my audience.  We all have strong opinions about particular issues, but some subjects can be more emotionally charged than others.  The heartbreaking photo of the three-year old Syrian boy who drowned trying to reach Europe, and washed up on the shore in Greece, has really energized the western media.  The horrible reality is that young children die unnecessarily everyday, some by starvation in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, others as victims of war in Afghanistan, Syria and Nigeria.  The immediate response to this particular photo will be typically knee-jerk and focus on a quick-fix for the symptom, without addressing the root problem.  Because this young boy, who was traveling with his family from war-torn Syria to an unknown future in Europe, drowned and has his picture taken, all the major governments in Europe met to discuss their particular response to the issue of undocumented migrants, and the only question the media wanted answered was, "how many of these people are you willing to accept responsibility for and allow into your country?"  In reality, what the activist European and American press wanted was an announcement that the European Union intended to establish a blanket policy for accepting all applicants for Asylum and Amnesty, no questions asked.  Would this provide an answer to the growing number of migrants from the Middle East, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia who are looking for a new place to live?  Yes, but at the same time it would bankrupt the EU and destabilize the cultural balance and identity of its member states.  Anyone who seriously wants to address this problem must address not only the symptom, but also the root cause.  These people come from somewhere; why are they leaving?

I live in Texas, therefore I am very familiar with the issue of undocumented migrants/immigrants.  The term has changed over the years, as liberals decided that the terms "illegal" and "alien" were too harsh to use when discussing human beings.  Again, just another distraction from facing the actual root of the problem.  The United States of America, through a variety of mechanisms, financially supports the United States of Mexico.  We accept their unemployed, and we provide a market for the narco-trafficking that has made Mexico its super highway.  The Mexican nationals who live illegally in Mexico return a staggering amount of money back to Mexico to support family.  This financial windfall has become a pillar of the current Mexican economic system.  Simply put, roughly five to ten percent of Mexicans control the wealth of Mexico; it has always been this way, and the average Mexican has no reason to believe that it will ever change.  Mexico is a wealthy country; although its petroleum deposits have started to dry up (all the easy stuff has been pumped out; only the hard-to-reach deposits remain), Mexico continues to have a tremendously bountiful agricultural sector, not to mention car-manufacturing and a growing textiles and high-tech industry.  The government keeps a tight control over much of the economy, which allows a small percentage of Mexican families, utilizing endemic corruption, to steal much of the nation's wealth.  The under-and-unemployed just cross the northern border into the United States to find work and create a life for their families.  Mexico is in need of a real revolution, to rebuild the government so it works for the people, not vice-versa.  The people need to become so desperate, that they take the issue into their own hands, and drag the thieves, corrupt politicians and narco-traffickers into the streets, and distribute a bit of mob justice.  But this will never happen as long as the United States is willing to accept, feed and house the struggling Mexican under-and-unemployed, before they have reached the necessary point of desperation.  This is a lesson that some in the United States are beginning to learn (thanks, Donald Trump), but I just don't see Europe ever having the courage to take the steps necessary to defend itself.  Until the migrant believes that Europe offers no sanctuary, then the numbers will continue to grow.

In reality, it may be too late for the United States.  President Obama will no doubt use Executive Action to sign an Amnesty Bill into law that provides a path to citizenship for at least twenty million Mexican nationals living illegally in the United States.  Mind you, Obama isn't interested in providing a path to Legal Permanent Residency, his intent is to create citizens and new voters for his Democratic Party.  But that is a story for another day. When we speak of addressing the genesis of the migrant problem in Europe, we must examine the circumstances that created this particular flow of refugees.  The war in Syria, which has been raging for more than five years, has been displacing hundreds of thousands of people.  Europe and the United States have welcomed many of these refugees already, and Turkey is already dealing with a refugee crisis.  But the migrants aren't only coming from Syria.  The majority actually come from Africa, and pay to be ferried across the Mediterranean in all sorts of dangerous, unseaworthy craft.  Many are hopeful of finding a home and a steady job so they can support their immediate family, and eventually send for the rest.  South Africa has been dealing with a refugee crisis since the end of apartheid; Nigerians, Ghanians, Zimbabweans, Congolese, all headed to South Africa, convinced that a good job and a new life awaited.  Australia has been dealing with refugees from Southeast Asia since the end of the Vietnam War.  The reality is, the prosperous western nations of the world do not have enough wealth to support its refugees.  The math just doesn't add up, which is very frustrating, because the planet is nowhere near reaching the limit of its ability to support the human population.

Accepting the refugees as new European citizens will only guarantee an increased number of refugees.  Europe's generosity is actually to blame for the direction of many of these refugees to begin with. Europe has always been willing to take Turks, Somalis, Algerians, Albanians, Palestinians, and others who are fleeing conflict, searching for the opportunity for a new life.  But the problem has become so big that the only solution is to deal with it at its source.  Syria is in upheaval because of the spread of ISIS; the Iraqi Refugees, especially from the north, are also beginning to make their presence felt. Since the entire world acknowledges what a horrific threat ISIS is to free people everywhere, then why hasn't some European or United States statesman risen to the occasion, and led an allied military campaign to destroy this human pestilence?  Its not as if ISIS is willing to confine their expansion to the Levant; they have created cells as far away as South America, Canada, and The Philippines.  Their stated goal is our destruction, so why haven't we solved the Syrian/Iraqi refugee crisis and the ISIS threat with a united military effort?  In Africa, the refugee problem stems from what appears to be an inability for an African government to function outside the boundaries of institutionalized corruption.  Even humanitarian aid has a habit of ending up in the hands of one smuggler or another.  Since the end of apartheid, the ANC has started to follow in the footsteps of the Mugabes and Mobutus, with government ministers using public funds as a private bank account.  If a nation does not have the resources to support economic growth, stagnation and recession occur, and the people will have no jobs.  We can't invade Africa and force corrupt-free governments on the continent; it must be something that is decided at home.  The same is true for Mexico.  I have often heard that the United States should just invade Mexico, use the military to root out the narco-traffickers, and make Mexico work for the Mexican people once again.  But its not our place; the people of Mexico have to decide when the time has arrived for a political sea-change, even though it does impact our national security when terrorists are able to utilize the same undocumented immigrant pipeline to enter the United States as the Mexican worker.

It's heart-warming to see those in need receive succor.  I'm pleased that the various European governments have made the decision to address the migrant crisis this week.  But what about next week, and next month?  What about next year, when we may be dealing with hundreds of thousands?  The total lack of shame on behalf of the wealthy Arab nations as they refuse to accept refugees, is very telling.  They understand that once the spigot has been turned on, its difficult to shut off.  Again, I argue, wouldn't it be in everyone's best interest if we destroyed ISIS together, while it is in its infancy, and bring some relief to the people who have yet to become refugees, and also give the current migrants a place to return to?    

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