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Thursday, December 22, 2016

The refugee issue underscores political division within the European Union.

Last Monday, December 19, less than one week before Christmas, an act of terror perpetrated at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, reminded us that the struggle against Islamic terrorism has not abated.  In a scene rememisent of the terror attack in Nice, France last year, a large truck was driven into a cafe/market area which was packed with people enjoying the holiday festivities.  Parents, spouses and children of the victims are left to answer the question, "why"?  Everytime you turn on the news, one talking head after another is attempting to explain the motivations behind violence committed against civiliams; what a colossal waste of time.  Regardless if its ISIS or Al Qaida, Boko Haram or Al Shabaab, Islamic terrorism has is intended to intimidate, frighten and murder Christians, Jews, and on the Indian subcontinent, Hindus.  Terrorism for the sake of Islamic Extremism is not a recent development, but the frequency with which these groups are able to strike in Europe and the United States is disturbimg to say the least.  No doubt Donald Trump appealed to many voters when he promised during the recent presidential campaign to aggressively combat ISIS.  Over the next year, voters in France and Holland will have the opportunity to decide if the current batch of Prime Ministers and Presidents have been doing enough in response to these attacks.  The refugee issue, which is directly related to concerns regarding terrorism, is presently the hot-button issue in Europe.

The continued presence of ISIS (and other Islamic extremist groups) in Syria has created a monumental refugee crisis.  The Obama Administration has been useless with regards to ending the conflict or addressing the refugee crisis.  The Syrian conflict has destroyed almost every urban community outside of Damascus, and the inhabitants have been forced to leave their homes.  The European Union has responded to this development by opening its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees.  Not to be outdone, the Obama Administration agreed to resettle large numbers of refugees in the United States.  The decision to create humdreds of thousands of new Europeans and Americans has been met with a great deal of opposition in both the United States and various nations in Europe.  It has become obvious that ISIS and other terror groups have been planting operatives within the refugee population.  The resettlement processes in Europe and the United States have no effective method of identifying the throngs of refugees who continue to show up on the borders of Italy, Hungary, Turkey, and Greece.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has led to campaign to open Europe's borders, is hoping against hope that the person who committed this most recent attack, won't in the end be identified as a recent refugee; I would advise her not to hold her breath.

The organizations and political leaders who argue for quick resettlement of the Syrian refugees are justifiably trying to avoid a human catastrophe.  But the answer to this problem should never imclude comprimising the security of persons in North America and Europe.  Settimg up quota systems to pressure European governments to quickly resettle thousands of people will only create another kind of human catastrophe.  Another issue which seems to get swept under the carpet is the cost of resettlement.  Barack Obama has left the American people with a twenty trillion dollar national debt.  The EU is facing a major economic crisis in Italy, and France, the second largest economy in the EU, is dealing with a crippling unemployment problem.  Many middle and lower income folks in Europe and America are asking the question, "just when did this become my problem?"

The permanent solution to the refugee crisis is to end the conflict in Syria.  This goal could have been accomplished years ago if Obama would have had the courage to militarily combat ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  Russia has stepped in, but will commit itself only as far as its proxy Bashar al-Assad is concerned.  Regardless, one cannot escape the fact that Syrians should live in Syria; it's their home.  A decided military effort achieved by a military coalition can only be achieved by a leader with great determination, courage, and influence.  The conflicts in both Syria and Iraq can only have a military solution, but the good news is that a military solution is possible.  Destroying ISIS and resolving the Syrian Civil War will end the refugee problem.  Does Donald Trump have what it takes to forge a solution?  He certainly believes he does; but for the rest of us, action will speak louder than Twitter.

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