Sunday, September 6, 2015

Europe’s Migrant Crisis Disproves a Major Tenet of Isolationism

           Isolationists, those who believe in “non-intervention,” insist that problems in foreign states are only matters of concern for that particular state, or, at most, of that region, and not of concern for the interests of other states which, therefore, ought not to intervene in any manner.  The current crisis of tens of thousands of migrants fleeing wars or oppression in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in North African and the Middle East, which is the highest number in Europe since the Second World War, proves that the problems in those states are affecting other states beyond the region, which, in turn, is affecting the world.

            I have already posted that there have been three million refugees from Syria, for example, which is led by a terrorist tyrant and engaged in a civil war.  A million Syrians have fled to neighboring Jordan alone.  Such a burden on a small state risks its destabilization.  The economic burden on European states, such as Greece and Italy, even only for the rescue operations they conduct and their initial processing of the migrants, has also already been mentioned in some of my posts.  Italy is only weakly recovering from a severe recession while Greece, despite economic improvements under its previous center-right-led Government, is still depressed.  The Northern European states where the migrants settle are being burdened with hosting them.  Thus, Europe’s migrant crisis is affecting its economy and, in turn, the global economy.

            People have a right to seek asylum.  States to where they flee are legally obligated to take them in and hear their pleas and grant them asylum if they merit it.  States also have a moral obligation to rescue people off their shores. 

The refugee crisis creates the opportunity for people, including undesirables, to immigrate illegally for economic reasons, as well as for jihadists to infiltrate.  Human traffickers take advantage of migrants.  The smugglers can be stopped with better policies, but the tide of migrants fleeing war, terrorism and tyranny cannot be stopped. 

            Refugees, as I have mentioned previously, are among a series of international problems that a crisis even in only one particular state can cause.  When that state cannot resolve its problems, it becomes in the interests of other states to intervene, at least to some degree.  There is a broad spectrum of intervention, most of which is short of war, ranging from providing advice or helping to mediate disputes, to humanitarian aid or economic sanctions, to intelligence support or sales of arms or material. 

Indeed, had foreign powers not given into pressure from isolationists and not withdrawn from Libya after the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi or intervened more in Syria and, there would not be such a migrant crisis in the first place.  The premature withdrawal of American and Coalition forces from Iraq contributed to the circumstances that led to the wave of humanity emanating from the Middle East, just as the abandonment of Afghanistan after the Cold War led to the rise of the Taliban and its harboring of the al-Qaeda Islamist terrorists. 

The problems in a few foreign states have become problems for the world.  Now, the world must act, at least to rescue and take in refugees until they can return home, and to work toward solutions in the home states of the migrants in order that these people can return to peaceful, stable and free lands.  

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