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by John Brian Shannon | August 9, 2016
Recent reports about immigration in the EU suggest a real macroeconomic benefit to welcoming millions of refugees and economic migrants into the country
And that’s true. Even poverty-stricken refugees consume goods and services.
If we look at the German example; One million Middle Eastern refugees have been accepted into Germany since 2010 and all of them eat food, pay rent, pay electricity bills, take the bus, buy clothing, go to movies — and in many other ways add revenue to the economy.
If each of those million refugees spend 10 euros per day (equal to their daily food spending) that’s 10 million euros per day. Totalled, their monthly food spend equals 300 million euros in Germany alone.
If we extrapolate the German example further, we see that almost everything in Germany has a sales tax attached to it, and for those that have become employed, they’re paying income tax on their earnings.
Therefore, Germany is earning nearly 1 billion euros per day from their 1 million refugees
Of course, there are the high costs of accepting refugees and some may remain on social welfare programmes for as long as 2 years. German taxpayers pay for that. But after the 2-year mark, it’s all good.
No wonder Chancellor Merkel looks at immigration with such optimism. From an economic standpoint Merkel is 100% right; It really is the best thing for Germany. A brilliant but domestically unpopular policy by one of the greatest Chancellors in German history.
And let’s also recognize that this latest wave of immigrants is additional to the existing German immigrant pool — the first wave of which began in the 1970’s, and that generation are now a cohort of decent, hardworking, and family-oriented people. A benefit to the German economy almost every day since they arrived.
It’s not all Apple strudel and yodeling in Germany, however
Crime is much higher due to those massive levels of immigration. In Germany, girls can’t even attend a women’s music festival without a high probability of being molested by immigrant men. And the same holds true throughout the EU, especially in Sweden (of all places) and in Greece.
So what’s the point? Gain more in taxes so that women must hide in their homes?
That’s a bad deal for half the population, the female half.
Thus far, the lack of leadership on what is expected of new arrivals to the EU is astonishing and breathtaking all at once.
Refugees and economic immigrants from Day 1 of their arrival in Europe, should’ve been handed water bottles and pamphlets (written in their language) describing the rules of European culture, the rights of the person in EU society, the culture of respect for law and order — and not a gloss-over job but a poignant list of laws and societal norms that must be adhered to while travelling or living in Europe.
And printed in bold letters front and back of the pamphlets:
“It’s not your *right* to emigrate to our countries, it’s a *privilege* therefore consider yourselves guests while in our countries.”
Would you allow a guest to your home to wear muddy boots and to walk all over your expensive carpets and furniture? Obviously not.
Then neither should you allow your guests to molest your girls, rob subway passengers, and engage in rioting and looting.
Nor should we allow immigrants (or anyone) to defile EU culture — culture being the mass of our thoughts, brought into the light.
“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” — Mahatma Gandhi
It’s a very human thing to help people experiencing hardship and fleeing from countries due to conflict or famine there. The fact that we still do this (although not as well as in prior decades) gives hope for humanity.
But it’s been bungled up til now in the EU and it needs to be fixed. ASAP.
Finally, refugees should be given a temporary landed immigrant card (a photo ID) that allows them to stay in the EU for up to 4 years
After that; ‘It’s time to go back home and rebuild your country, with the skills, money and experiences you’ve acquired during your time in the West.’
European countries should now, even at this late stage, attempt to:
1) Educate refugees/economic migrants about European legal and cultural standards, from Day 1 of their arrival.
2) Continue to provide the normal social benefit for each adult, until they find a job.
3) Continue to provide safe housing until reasonable accommodation can be found.
4) Continue to monitor those people to make sure they are finding services, housing, jobs, and are not being targeted by Middle Eastern ‘mafia’ types within their own community.
5) Provide a free airline ticket at the 4-year mark to allow them to return to their home country. If they don’t want to return to Syria (for example) they could exchange their ticket for another of similar value (to Cairo, for example)
6) By accepting and paying for the living expenses of refugees and economic migrants (where they don’t have their own funds) for four years, and by educating them to Western norms, and by helping them to find safe shelter and jobs, etc. it’s truly a privilege for those people to be in Europe, and they should conduct themselves accordingly.
7) If not, they should be deported as soon as they are convicted of any crime (and obviously, their 4-year pass cancelled)
Every day, we teach others how to treat us
If we teach others that it’s acceptable to walk into our homes wearing their muddy boots and to walk all over the carpets and furniture, we deserve everything that we get from those people.
If we (gently) teach them about the rules of our house and provide the support they need, we are teaching them that we’re their benefactors and that we’re people to be respected.
Thus far, we’ve been teaching the refugees the wrong things, and they’ve responded in kind. (Input = Output)
It’s a failure of vision and it’s a failure of leadership. And the experiment with mass immigration flows from the Middle East will end in the failure of some EU member nations.
We’ve already seen blowback from this mishandled affair via the Swiss voting in a 2014 referendum to leave the EU, and Brexit in 2016, with surely more exits to follow.
It’s a problem that won’t go away until EU leaders address the fundamental problems of mass migration, problems which (in the absence of proper guidance) begin on Day 1 of a refugee’s arrival.
- Migration Fact vs. Migration Fiction (Project Syndicate)
- It’s not only Germany that covers up mass sex attacks by migrant men (The Spectator)
Bonus Graphic: A Snapshot of the European Migrant Crisis in 2015
by John Brian Shannon | October 1, 2015
All war is brutal. Whether civil war, insurgency, guerrilla war, conventional or nuclear, all are brutal. And in war, no one weapon is worse than another. If you die or are injured by being blown to fragments by artillery, mines, barrel bombs or conventional bombs dropped by aircraft — you’re just as dead or injured as by machine-gun fire.
Too many commentators are trying to make negative political points about the Assad regime by citing Syria’s use of ‘barrel bombs’ — to convince us that those are the ultimate in inhuman and horrific weapons. As if getting killed by a ‘barrel bomb’ is somehow much worse than getting killed by a mine or by machine-gun fire.
Characterizing some bombs as ‘worse’ than other bombs, etc. takes our focus away from the underlying reasons for the conflict and how we might solve it.
What we should be concentrating on is how many innocent people are getting killed or maimed, how many refugees are being created, and how many months will it take to solve the Syrian conflict
And as is always the case, military people are well supported by their organizations and get paid to engage in warfighting, while civilians are (obviously) vastly unprepared to deal with war.
Consequently, many of them do the intelligent thing and leave the conflict region when they are able. This puts huge strain on neighbouring nations as they struggle to accept millions of refugees. Turkey is on track to surpass 2 million by January, 2016 and other nations in the region have accepted hundreds of thousands.
Syria: The Path to Civil War
By using deductive reasoning, we can safely assume the civil war now raging inside Syria is due to the many anti-coalition fighters who fled the 2003-2011 Iraq War, once they realized they couldn’t beat the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.
Such fighters were then able to live and operate virtually ignored in Syria (and Lebanon) as anti-coalition sentiment was running high in the region in the aftermath of the Shock and Awe invasion due to the Syrian people seeing only the results of, and hearing the accounts of, the Iraq War from fleeing Iraqi civilians.
A similar situation on a smaller scale occurred during the Arab Spring months.
Ergo, both the Iraq War and Arab Spring added to anti-Western sentiments in the region
This created a robust ISIS force practically out of thin air — with tacit support from Syrian citizens and the citizens of other nearby nations.
- Was there an ISIS before the Iraq War? No.
- Was there an ISIS during the Iraq War from 2003-2011? No.
- Was there an ISIS before the Arab Spring of 2010? No.
- Was there an ISIS during the Arab Spring? No.
Therefore, the ISIS entity was born in ‘the Arab Street’ which is the name for the collage of meeting places where Arab peoples meet, sometime after the Iraq War of 2003-2011 and after the 2010 Arab Spring.
Religion has nothing to do with it
Just as religion had nothing to do with WWI, WWII, or any recent war, this isn’t a religious war although various sides will always try to employ religion (the Crusaders, Osama Bin Laden) or the occult (Hitler) to serve their own interests.
We should ignore the cant and focus on clear examples of criminal and terrorist behavior. Murkiness isn’t our ally in the fight against terrorism
Trying to charge a person in court for being too ‘religious’ is impossible — as there is no such criminal charge.
However, if a person kills 25 people in a criminal act (whatever their political or religious views) we can deal with it in the courts in a very clear manner, and it becomes a clearer ‘sell’ to citizens in the court of public opinion — who after all are the ones footing the bill for our military operations in Syria.
Focusing so much attention on such things as the types of bombs employed by any side and by overly focusing on the religious aspect, we remove our focus from the criminality of what ISIS or other fighters are actually doing in Syria, Iraq, and in the Kurdish territories.
(Although it must be said that the Kurds have their own terrorists and they too must be careful when pointing fingers at ISIS, as some Kurds have been at the terrorism game for decades)
I’ll grant you that the Syrian response to ISIS and other groups has been heavy-handed
But no more than Shock and Awe was to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein.
We the West, created the conditions necessary for the creation of ISIS and other similar groups that left Iraq and the Arab Spring nations for Syria and Lebanon upon realizing they couldn’t match coalition firepower.
Now we are picking away at them piecemeal from the air, while the Russians have partnered with President Bashar Al-Assad to preserve the Syrian government with both the Russians and Syrians taking the fight to any group threatening the peace inside Syria until a sustainable cease-fire can be agreed.
If we attempt to exterminate all the ISIS fighters in Syria (with the Russians helping in regions of the country that we can’t access) we will simply drive ISIS fighters to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Egypt and into other Arab nations
Which will allow the West to claim that we’ve ‘won’ in Syria — in the same way we claim to have ‘won’ in Iraq.
Does anyone really think, for an instant, that Iraq is better off now than under Saddam Hussein?
It certainly isn’t. If you believe otherwise, I dare you to travel to any Iraqi city and proclaim it loudly in any public square. (And, by the way, it was nice knowing you)
If a massive (Iraq War style invasion) occurred in Syria today, many ISIS fighters would leave Syria, taking their tales to the people of each country in the region thereby gathering evermore pro-ISIS support and congealing centres of power across the MENA region.
Using military power to exterminate ISIS in Iraq and Syria means that we will set up a paradigm of continual ISIS movement and evermore ISIS recruiting in more countries
Therefore, although we can paint an “X” on certain ISIS members or groups, once we begin to ‘win’ against ISIS in Syria, they will just melt away to other nations gathering evermore support in every city they visit. Just as they did during the Iraq War.
That is not the path to victory against ISIS
In the case of highly mobile fighters and an ideology that we ‘enabled’ by attempting to exterminate ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we will simply help to grow the anti-Western sentiment throughout the Middle East.
The only path to solve the ISIS question is to use diplomacy to convince ISIS of the need for an ISIS homeland (a piece of very northwestern Iraq and very northeastern Syria) and that we are willing to help make that happen in exchange for laying down their arms.
ISIS presents a case where the more we fight (an ideology) the more members it will attract. And that is something the world doesn’t need.
by John Brian Shannon | September 27, 2015
A unique opportunity presents itself tomorrow when President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia addresses the UN General Assembly and later meets with U.S. President Barack Obama.
The question on everyone’s mind is;
Will that *opportunity* turn into an *action plan* that lowers the death toll, casualties, and displacement of Syrian citizens?
Certainly it would look like a Win-Win for both President Putin and President Obama if they put their political differences aside and announce a plan forward — one that involves working together to ‘beat back’ the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) to the point that it no longer threatens the sovereignty of Syria, its long-suffering citizens and neighbouring countries.
Presidents need successful outcomes in order to accrue political capital to boost their political momentum — which they can then use to further their foreign or domestic policy goals.
But for President Putin it is especially important to make the most of this opportunity as the Russian economy is in crisis mode due to the dramatic fall in oil prices over the past months, while President Obama must always work to counter the GOP narrative.
It’s theirs to lose
One way that both leaders could leave the UN in Win-Win fashion is to ink an agreement (a map) showing exactly where in the skies and on the ground that Russia and the U.S./EU nations will and won’t operate in Syria.
Combat Area Operations Agreement
This is a simple way to guarantee that Russian and Western fighter jets don’t accidentally or otherwise, engage each other within Syrian territory. (“You take the North and we’ll take the South. Now, where do we draw the combat operations line?”)
The same applies to ground-based units.
Mutual Agreement to Support Moderate Forces in Syria
One way to drown out the terrorists is to continually work to strengthen moderate forces in the country. Whether combat groups or civilians who want a return to stability and are proactively working toward that end, such people can have a dramatic effect as their numbers are infinitely larger than the ISIS hooligans trying to take control of Syrian towns and cities.
Whether U.S.A.-supported moderates or Russian-sponsored moderates — each of those are enemies to ISIS.
Of course, a constantly updated Who-Is-Who list needs to be kept, so that everyone works off the same page.
Agreement to Prevent Israeli Involvement in the Syrian Conflict
As this would trigger even more trauma for the region resulting in thousands more casualties and millions more refugees, it is important to have a unified policy.
Not only that, but a significant military force must be dedicated to preventing terrorists from crossing into Israel from Syria.
No good will come of trouble along Israel’s northern border and either Russia, the U.S., or a major (and majorly funded) UN peacekeeping/active patrol force must control a 20-mile wide strip of land across the southern Syrian frontier.
It is unthinkable to not do this, as the consequences of multiple attacks across the border would surely complicate and enlarge the war. (What happens if Israeli fighter jets cross into Syrian airspace in full rage mode to hit back at a terrorist Katushya rocket base, and suddenly encounter Russian Air Force or Syrian Air Force fighter jets?)
Internally Displaced and Refugee persons Handling Agreement
A unified approach to handling internally displaced persons in Syria and how to handle those persons wanting to leave the country to become refugees in neighbouring nations, is of paramount importance.
It’s one thing for thousands of people to leave a country by road, it’s quite another when military units are emplaced there expecting a major tank or infantry battle to break out at any minute, along the very path that Syrian citizens are fleeing!
And in the case of large swathes of land full of unmarked landmines left over from previous decades (millions of mines) it is important to prevent civilians from crossing those sections of land.
Both Russia and the Western powers must notify each other of mined areas in well in advance of approaching civilian convoys (whether they are travelling on foot or by vehicle) and obviously, that information must be kept secure from ISIS.
Mutual Support along Common Corridors or near Demarcation Lines
If U.S. forces (for example) get the best of ISIS and they retreat, the very obvious place for them to run is across the line of control into the Russian or Syrian controlled zone. And the reverse is true for ISIS fighters are fleeing Russian or Syrian military units/combat aircraft.
But when preexisting agreements are set up, ISIS fighters will (quite unknowingly) run into a trap — just when they think they’ve escaped their pursuers.
Agreement to Support the Democratically Elected Leader of Syria
Whether some in the West like it or not, Bashir Al-Assad is the democratically elected leader of Syria and significantly, he is the only game in town. There isn’t anyone remotely qualified nor imbued with a power base sufficient to replace him. Like it or not, Assad is going to be the President of Syria for many years to come.
Even ISIS, as successful as it has been on the field of battle couldn’t pull off running a government. Winning a series of paramilitary battles is one thing — governing a country is a different thing altogether.
Regime change isn’t an option in Syria’s case regardless of how appealing that may sound to those in GroupThink office cubicles around the world. What looks good on paper from 5000 miles away can seem truly hallucinogenic to those on the ground in Syria and to those with any experience in the region.
We are stuck with Assad for some time. There is no other option unless the EU agrees to accept 10 million Syrian refugees. Therefore, we better learn how to work with him.
President Obama should be encouraged to instantly fire any federal government employee (including military members) who indulge in the utter fantasy of regime change in Syria. It is so unrealistic a goal, that to waste any time speculating on it should immediately brand the person making the suggestion as sophomoric and functionally illiterate on the topic of Syria.
Where do we want Syria to be in Five Years?
We’ve seen what the past five years have brought.
“If we keep on doing what we have been doing, we’re going to keep on getting what we’ve been getting.” — Jackie B. Cooper
No sane person, no culture, no nation, wants to see another five years of murder, rape, mayhem and destruction for the people of Syria.
Practically any other option is better than that, and we must all reconcile ourselves to the fact that change must come to the Syrian situation. No amount of wishing away the past is going to make the presently-failing plan suddenly begin to work and achieve our goals.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” — Albert Einstein
Therefore, it is time to take-Russia-on as a full and valued partner to a sustainable solution in Syria, knowing that we will be dealing with Bashar Al-Assad for the next decade, and with a view to lowering the total amount of trauma, death, and destruction in that country every day.
If we can’t work together, ISIS wins
If the U.S.A., Russia, and some of Europe’s leading nations can’t agree on mutually-agreed solutions to solve the Syrian crisis, then I respectfully suggest that the present world order has far bigger problems than ISIS.
If the ISIS leadership is allowed to infer that they can defeat great powers by playing them off one-against-the-other it will embolden ISIS far beyond the limited goals they’ve set for themselves in Iraq and Syria.
Differences in approach must be set aside to allow the U.S.A., Russia, the EU, and Syria to work together to marginalize the deviant ISIS group, or we and future generations may experience a never-ending stream of such conflicts.
- War has forced half of Syrians from their homes. Here’s where they’ve gone (CNN)
- Russia steps up Syria support ‘to stop fall of Assad’ (Al Jazeera)
- Putin says Russia’s aim in Syria is supporting President al-Assad (The Globe and Mail)
- Exclusive: Syrian army starts using new weapons from Russia: military source (Reuters)
- Russia Surprises U.S. With Accord on Battling ISIS (New York Times)
- Russia-Israel military coordination talks on Syria to open Tuesday [October 6, 2015] (Reuters)