Originally posted November 2, 2015.
Writing in NRO, John Fund explains that, despite the moving pictures of families with young children trudging across Europe, an estimated 70% of migrants arriving are young men traveling alone. One has to ask, is Europe’s migration crisis a problem of border management, with migrants eventually returning to home countries, or is it about relocation and integration of the new migrants into European countries? Will migrants be able to integrate into their new societies? Does anyone believe that having a large number of young unattached men is in itself not a looming crisis?
Mr. Fund continues, “If leaders don’t bring some common sense into the equation, the humanitarian problems could become a geopolitical crisis.”
But there is a lesson here beyond figuring out a better way to balance genuine humanitarian concerns with integrating foreigners into welfare-state societies. In 2010, the Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi warned Europe’s leaders that they could be overwhelmed by migrants if they didn’t develop a coherent joint response. Soon after, Western countries led the campaign to topple him — with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading the charge in the U.S. — and there was much cheering when Gaddafi’s videotaped execution made the news. Libya has been in deep chaos ever since.
Similarly, Western leaders celebrated the 2011 uprising against Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. even covertly sent aid. But then rebels we took to be potential democratic allies turned, in some cases, into barbaric backers of ISIS. The turmoil in the Arab world has fueled the migrant crisis in Europe. If there ever was a time to show a little humility and some respect for the law of unintended consequences, it’s now, in understanding the roots of Europe’s migrant crisis.
John Fund cautions that Western countries would be wise to consider a new version of an old adage: “Look before you leap into intervention.” Read more here.