Brave Old World: Nourishing the Viper

 
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Roman Genn, for National Review

Later today on the Member Feed, I’ll post more details of my business plan (as opposed to the donation mechanism) for investor-funded journalism.

So. Remember how all this started? It started because I was in a fit of pique about a little-known New York newspaper that asked me to write a piece about the attacks in Brussels, then spiked what I sent them in favor of this article. But I did, happily, find a good home for my article at National Review. They published it with a great Roman Genn illustration:

Paris — When trying to make sense of recent events in Europe, memory is useful. During the Cold War, Europe was terrorized by now-forgotten murderous far-left and far-right terrorist groups. Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Turkey, in particular, were turned into abattoirs. These terrorists, too, were in thrall to a utopian and radical vision. They had a particular effect on Europe, one we should consider as we enter the new Cold War. The Soviets hoped to use these groups to spread chaos in Europe and break up NATO: The intended effect of the terror was to radicalize and destabilize the terrorized population. Russia is poised to profit similarly from today’s terrorism.

Some of the groups  remain active. Turkey’s Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front, or DHKP/C, bombed the U.S. embassy in Ankara in 2013. It has a long, bloody history of more than 400 attacks against Turkish and NATO targets. The DHKP/C, like ISIS today, became a Belgian problem, and one that the Belgian authorities dealt with poorly. In 1996, the DHKP/C assassinated Özdemir Sabanci, a well-known Turkish captain of industry, and two of his associates, in Istanbul. Fehriye Erdal, a female DHKP/C terrorist who had infiltrated Sabanci’s building as a cleaner, enabled the murderers to enter his office.

The headquarters of this DHKP/C group were in Belgium, where its members operated freely. It took several years for the Belgian authorities to bring them to trial. In 2006, Fehriye Erdal was convicted. In principle, she was under the 24-hour surveillance of the Sûreté de l’Etat (the Belgian state-security service). But hours before her sentencing, she disappeared, and she was never recaptured.

This was typical. Belgium has long ignored extremist groups in return for their implicit agreement not to target Belgium. It is often no secret at all. In 1996, Brussels released twelve members of Algeria’s Islamist organization Groupe Islamique Armé. In Europe, the GIA chiefly targeted France; in 1995, it bombed the Saint-Michel metro station in Paris, killing seven and wounding 117. The Belgian government reputedly made a deal with the GIA to ignore its activities on Belgian soil in exchange for immunity from attack. Understandably enraged, the French minister of the interior, Charles Pasqua, accused Belgium of lacking resolve.

In 2002, a Belgian parliamentary commission’s investigation into the Sûreté revealed that it had allowed the Belgian Muslim community — numbering over 350,000 — to be heavily infiltrated by Islamic extremists. Thirty of Belgium’s 300 mosques, the report said, were run by fundamentalists. Belgian schools, prisons, hospitals, and sports centers had become jihadi recruiting grounds. The report warned that they were creating a theocracy within the state. The head of the Sûreté resigned upon the publication of the report, which concluded that the Sûreté had adopted a passive attitude toward Muslim extremists because it had found no indication that they would attack Belgian targets. It also indicated that the Sûreté had been understaffed and inadequately funded for over a decade and that many retiring officers had gone unreplaced. …

You can read the rest here.

So, in light of that, here’s another update from the brave old world. I don’t know how closely you’re following the details of the Germany’s deal with Turkey to handle the refugee influx. It’s astonishingly cynical, but given the way some parts of the German public have responded to the enormity of the job ahead of them, probably necessary. No responsible German leader would take the risk of encouraging that impulse.

Under the agreement, “irregular migrants” who arrive in Greece from Turkey will be sent back. For every Syrian refugee returned, another Syrian refugee will — theoretically — be flown from Turkey to the EU. The number to be accepted is still under debate, but 72,000 seems to be the opening bid. They’d then be distributed throughout Europe, with every member state required to take refugees according to its size and capabilities. Brussels agreed to provide the Turkish government with money — a lot of it, mostly from Germany — to cover the costs of looking after the refugees.

The idea here is to break the business model of the human traffickers, and in principle it’s a sensible one. The problem with it in practice is that Merkel’s negotiating partner is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Hence the “astonishingly cynical” part, because this deal requires pretending that all is peachy-keen in Turkey, that Erdoğan’s a normal fellow, and that Turkey’s a safe country for refoulement — non-refoulement being integral to the 1951 Refugee Convention:

no state “shall expel or return (‘refouler’ in French) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

This means, in effect, that everyone in Europe has to pretend that a) they don’t know that Turkey is pushing refugees right back into Syria; and b) Turkey’s such a great place, with such a terrific human rights record, that it should expeditiously be admitted to the EU. This video explains the facts of the deal quite accurately:

Basically, Erdoğan has Merkel right where he wants her. Give us money and let Turkey into the EU, or deal with your refugees (and your Nazis) by yourself. The “give us money” part is entirely fair: Turkey’s been dealing with 2.5 million Syrians, and I doubt the $6 billion pledge covers even half of the total cost to Turkey of feeding and housing them, no less dealing with the massive social dislocation that has ensued and will continue.

It’s the “Let Turkey into the EU” part that’s disturbing. Now, to be clear: I favor that. I think Turkey should be admitted to the EU immediately — as soon as it meets the Copenhagen criteria and complies with the EU acquis. Nothing could be better for Turkey than to make the reforms required to comply with it, especially in matters related to Chapters 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, Freedom, and Security). Turkey is in fact capable of doing it and would benefit hugely from it. What it wouldn’t benefit from at all — nor would anyone in Europe — is the EU pretending that Turkey is now making progress toward those ends, or even trying to.

Turkey has no chance of doing that so long as Erdoğan’s in power. He has no motivation to give up power, and a very great motivation to keep it. So inevitably what will happen is come June 2016, the date on which Turkey has promised to fulfil 72 conditions in exchange for the right of its citizens to visa-free travel in the EU, those conditions won’t be fulfilled. Turkey’s human rights situation will be none improved, nor will the safety of the refugees returned to Turkey be assured. But if he’s not given what he wants, Erdoğan has quite explicitly warned his counterparts what he’ll do:

“We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses … So how will you deal with refugees if you don’t get a deal? Kill the refugees?” Erdoğan was quoted in the text as telling the EU officials.

It also quoted him as demanding 6 billion euros over two years. When Juncker made clear only half that amount was on offer, he said Turkey didn’t need the EU’s money anyway.

The EU eventually agreed a 3 billion euro fund to improve conditions for refugees in Turkey, revive Ankara’s long-stalled accession talks and accelerate visa-free travel for Turks in exchange for Ankara curbing the numbers of migrants pouring into neighboring Greece.

In heated exchanges, Erdoğan often interrupted Juncker and Tusk, the purported minutes show, accusing the EU of deceiving Turkey and Juncker personally of being disrespectful to him.

The Turkish leader was also quoted as telling Juncker, a former prime minister of tiny Luxembourg, to show more respect to the 80-million-strong Turkey. “Luxembourg is just like a little town in Turkey,” he was quoted as saying.

The tense dialogue highlighted the depth of mutual suspicion at a time when the EU is banking on Turkish help to alleviate its worst migration crisis since World War Two.

So, rather than the EU democratizing Turkey, the EU will be Erdoğanized.

Merkel’s in an exceptionally bad bargaining position because immigrants went wilding on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, neo-Nazi goons in Germany have been torching refugee shelters (v. v. bad); and throughout Europe, Putin-favoring nationalist parties have taken to the streets to protest the “Islamization” of Europe. Merkel got a bruising in the German state elections. The conviction that a million Syrian refugees have the power to Islamize Europe is, if nothing else, innumerate; but the popular reaction to the refugee influx is no trivial matter, and it’s forced Merkel, ironically, into a deal that truly will compromise — and Erdoğanize, if not Islamize — Europe’s values.

Don’t believe me? Meet the German comedian Jan Böhmermann. (Language warning, and it gets especially vulgar at the end, but there’s enough of political significance here that I think it’s worth watching anyway.) The video’s a parody of the German band Rammstein, who I wrote about in Menace in Europe:

The initial reference to November 9th is an allusion to Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass. The clip of Frauke Petry, the leading light of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) — a party that recently swam up to challenge Merkel’s refugee policy — illustrates the “authoritarian nationalist dorks.”

Böhmermann doesn’t just make fun of American and European populists, though. Here we have him singing “V for Varoufakis,” which might give you some insight into why the peoples of the EU seem unable constructively to cooperate to solve their problems, because this pretty much sums up Germany’s bitterness about Greek finance minister “Walking debt” Varoufakis and his demand for ever-more multi-billion-euro bailouts; and the sentiment is entirely reciprocated on the Greek side:

In this spirit, Böhmermann also sang a little ditty about Tayyip Erdoğan:

In the part that shows Merkel shaking Erdogan’s hand in his neo-Ottoman pleasure-palace, the lyrics say, “Be nice to him, since he’s holding all the cards.” I guess Böhmermann didn’t grasp just how true this really was: Erdoğan’s crackerjack Emergency Anti-Satirist Unit immediately leapt into action and lodged an official complaint about the video, which it deemed slanderous.

The German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman replied as you’d expect: “Political satire in Germany is, of course, protected and therefore there is neither a necessity, nor a possibility, for the government to take action.” Quite normal.

Boehmermann, as any self-respecting Westerner would, doubled down. He patiently explained to Erdoğan — on the air — the legal difference between satire and slander. Slander, for example, would be reciting a poem, such as the one he’d composed for this educational occasion, calling Erdoğan a goat-pleasurer (he used a more Germanic phrasing) who watched child porn while kicking Kurds and beating young girls while wearing a rubber mask. Now that, he explained, would be slanderous.

Erdoğan went berserk. “The Foreign Ministry,” reported The Local, “conducted the assessment in an emergency meeting after their Turkish counterparts expressed serious displeasure at the poem.” Remember, they’re worried this Turkish goat-pleasurer is about to scupper the deal Europe needs to keep Germans from voting for Nazis, after which it’ll be at most ten minutes before Obersturmbannführer Petry drives the 6th Panzer Division straight through Antwerp — so they have to take this goat-pleasurer seriously.

Thus the day after the show, the station’s director of programs, Norbert Himmler, said the “limits to irony and satire were clearly exceeded.” The video of the poem was removed from their website. Merkel personally called Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu to apologize. She agreed the poem was a “deliberate insult.” And what do you know, it turns out that there is an obscure law on the German books that may used be prosecute Boehmermann. Here’s the German Criminal Code:

Section 103
Defamation of organs and representatives of foreign states

  1. Whosoever insults a foreign head of state, or, with respect to his position, a member of a foreign government who is in Germany in his official capacity, or a head of a foreign diplomatic mission who is accredited in the Federal territory shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine, in case of a slanderous insult to imprisonment from three months to five years.
  2. If the offence was committed publicly, in a meeting or through the dissemination of written materials (section 11(3)) Section 200 shall apply. An application for publication of the conviction may also be filed by the prosecution service.

So it looks as if Böhmermann may very well be prosecuted. In Germany. For making fun of the goat-pleasuring Turkish president.

Two morals to this story. First: The only way to guarantee freedom of expression is with a US-style constitution. If you make any law abridging the freedom of speech, sooner or later, that’s how it will be used. (NB: This is how we recently dealt with this kind of nonsense in America.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxYnovcQjww

Second: It’s all very well for European nationalists to insist they don’t want their country to be Islamized, but if in the process of recoiling from Syrian refugees they get themselves Erdoğanized, instead — or Putinized, for that matter — it will be their own stupid, short-sighted fault. And it will be a lot worse.

Thank you for making it possible for me to work.

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I too am sorry that the President of Turkey is a goat-pleasurer.

    No doubt the goats share the sentiment.

    (There. Just doing my bit to advance international comity. No need to thank me.)

    • #1
  2. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    Cologne was not alone.

    In this and the other incidents, a group that is definitely a minority of the population acted in such a way as to (at minimum) create fear among Western women being Western women.

    What progress are the various European authorities making on restoring the confidence of Western women that they can feel as safe as they did five years ago?

    • #2
  3. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Shocking, yet not surprising, that the NYT did not publish your piece, Claire.  It is brilliant.  It does cry out for more, which we will no doubt find in the book that is to come.  Good for TNR, and, if I may say so, good for us for supporting your project.

    • #3
  4. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: [from the cite in OP] “shall expel or return (‘refouler’ in French)

    Interesting: Google Translate translates refouler variously as repress, suppress, stamp down, drive back.  Not quite as innocuously as merely to expel or return. The presented translation (from the Univ of Minn) does seem to be accurate, though, or at least consistent with other English translations of the Convention.

    I have a question about how the divvying up of the refugees will work in the realization.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: They’d [the refugees] then be distributed throughout Europe, with every member state required to take refugees according to its size and capabilities.

    A nation like Estonia or Norway has different capacity vis-a-vis a Spain, depending on whether size or (economic) capability is the dominant factor.  Probably one of those details that are TBD.  Or that player to be named later in a baseball trade.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:  as soon as it [Turkey] meets the Copenhagen criteria and complies with the EU acquis.

    But is it appropriate for either the EU or Turkey to use the refugees as hostages (or pawns, if one isn’t that cynical) to achieve this wholly orthogonal goal?

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: So, rather than the EU democratizing Turkey, the EU will be Erdoğanized.

    And if Reuters has accurately described the meeting, the EU’s leadership behaved with its typical timidity.  This, though, is of a piece with its willingness to fulfill its NATO expenditure commitment, a commitment that, were it actually satisfied, would have given the EU the wherewithal to seal the Turkish borders from the EU’s side.  That wouldn’t (necessarily) be an adequate solution in its own right, but it would be a satisfactory answer to Erdoğan’s threat.

    With regard to Frauke Petry, here’s an interview Spiegel Online did with her a short while ago.  Of course, whether either can be entirely believed is another question.  However, Merkel’s timidity even on the matter of free speech (there is an obscure law on the German books that may used be prosecute Boehmermann) is of a piece with the general level of fear in dealing with either the refugees or with Erdoğan, much less with the two heterodyning off each other.  Never mind that Juncker’s behavior in that previously cited meeting–had it occurred within the FRG–also would have violated the Section 103.  Particularly since insults do not exist except in the minds of the putative insultee.

    Come to think of it, I suspect the German Foreign Ministry, if it suits them, could make the case that Juncker’s (mis)behavior violated this law even though it occurred in Brussels.  After all, isn’t the EU the epitome of One for All…?

    Finally:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: First: The only way to guarantee freedom of expression is with a US-style constitution.

    This, as we’ve been learning these last few years, is insufficient by itself; although it is absolutely necessary.  The US Constitution, and that of any other nation’s US-style constitution, must be actively supported–enforced–by a politically participative population, so as to keep our courts and our elected officials on the straight and narrow.

    Eric Hines

    • #4
  5. St. Salieri Member
    St. Salieri
    @

    Thank you for this, NYT eat your heart out!

    A question about Putin and Islamification, is there or are there connections between the behavior of Islamic violence, as was pointed out above, the incident in Cologne on New Year’s Eve was not a purely isolated incident that night/day (or do you disagree and why), and is there any sense that Putin has people trying to act as agents provocateur among the refugees?  Is that stretching things too far into tin-foil hat land.

    Can you give more explicit evidence for the workings of his influence beyond merely chalking it up to a mutual admiration society between groups of thugs, nationalists, and neo-fascists of varying stripes?  Obviously, one doesn’t expect you to have top-secret Russian files, but is there a publicly traceable link that deniability would fail over, that one looks at and says, yes this is disinformation, etc.  How does one convince.

    Lastly, how do you see the problems, sometimes violent, rape/violent crime/attacks that are laid at the feet of the refugees, the slogans, the posturing, especially at police in German train stations etc., as given evidence at times via some of the video online and as well as personal discussions I’ve had with people on the ground (German friends), these seem to portray a very unpleasant set of affairs that could go very badly.  Why shouldn’t people see this as Islamification, and rather how should they see it?

    • #5
  6. Retail Lawyer Inactive
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    “So, in light of that, here’s another update from the brave old world. I don’t know how closely you’re following the details of the Germany’s deal with Turkey to handle the refugee influx. It’s astonishingly cynical, but given the way some parts of the German public have responded to the enormity of the job ahead of them, probably necessary. No responsible German leader would take the risk of encouraging that impulse.”

    It seems that horse has left the barn some time ago.  Merkel has been spectacularly irresponsible in her handling of this matter.  I doubt she read Menace in Europe.  It is hard to imagine a more effective cultivation of the Menace than what she has delivered.  Pretend treaties and pretend laws will not help, except to temporarily confuse people and kick the can down the road for a few weeks or so.

    • #6
  7. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Of course Erdogan pleasures goats. Why do you think he gets along so well with Merkel?

    On a more serious note, I think this story illustrates very nicely why the US doesn’t need to start taking in Syrian refugees. We already have more Muslims than we are willing to watch closely. Adding more is madness.  It’s a provocation and an issue to bring out our own Neo-Nutsos.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: The conviction that a million Syrian refugees have the power to Islamize Europe is, if nothing else, innumerate; but the popular reaction to the refugee influx is no trivial matter, and it’s forced Merkel, ironically, into a deal that truly will compromise — and Erdoğanize, if not Islamize — Europe’s values.

    Lenin’s “Bolshevik” party started out as a splinter group.

    • #7
  8. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    First, as your mother would have said, “I’m glad those nudniks at National Review finally realized what a total genius my little Claireala is. They should have been publishing her articles all along. What’s wrong with that Rich Lowry doesn’t he appreciate great writing and he’s so thin why doesn’t he eat more.”

    Now that I’ve been silly I can be serious. Claire, this all follows my theme. The EU is only half The Nation of Europe. It rushed to go after the Public Right of a single polity and regulate the heck out of everything and establish a single currency. Meanwhile, it has acted under the illusion that a foreign policy, that which involves the National Right of a single polity, is something it need not worry about. Immigration policy is part of National Right foreign policy. Three years ago, when this situation with Syria and Turkey was already reaching extremely dangerous proportions the whole situation should have been dealt with properly. The necessity of Turkey’s reforms for entry into the EU should have been of supreme importance.

    Merkel has blundered. I can only have sympathy for her and every other world leader in one way. They have been unwitting actors in an absurdist play. The title of the play is “Waiting for Obama”. Obama’s capacity for non-leadership and inaction to the extent of paralysis is astounding. Who could have predicted that America under Obama would have been a complete foreign policy zero?

    Europe still needs us and it is a pain in the aCoCs. The JV team is in the White House.

    Regard,

    Jim

    • #8
  9. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Looks like Erdoğan will “fundamentally transform” the EU. There will be blood.

    • #9
  10. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Eric Hines:But is it appropriate for either the EU or Turkey to use the refugees as hostages (or pawns, if one isn’t that cynical) to achieve this wholly orthogonal goal?

    No.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: So, rather than the EU democratizing Turkey, the EU will be Erdoğanized.

    And if Reuters has accurately described the meeting, the EU’s leadership behaved with its typical timidity. This, though, is of a piece with its willingness to fulfill its NATO expenditure commitment, a commitment that, were it actually satisfied, would have given the EU the wherewithal to seal the Turkish borders from the EU’s side.

    Well, Turkey has the second-largest standing military in NATO — and we’re treaty-bound to defend it if it’s attacked. If it were attacked by other NATO members, I don’t think we’d have an improved situation on our hands. And short of invading and occupying Turkey, how do you seal its borders from the EU side? You can’t seal off the Aegean; Bulgaria’s not a NATO country, and there’s no way touching off a conflict between Greece and Turkey’s a good idea.

    That wouldn’t (necessarily) be an adequate solution in its own right, but it would be a satisfactory answer to Erdoğan’s threat.

    With regard to Frauke Petry, here’s an interviewSpiegel Online did with her a short while ago. Of course, whether either can be entirely believed is another question.

    They’re politicians. AfD’s supporters do seem to be a nasty lot, but I’ll go to Germany and do the reporting myself; then I’ll have a better idea of what they’re really about.

    However, Merkel’s timidity even on the matter of free speech (there is an obscure law on the German books that may used be prosecute Boehmermann) is of a piece with the general level of fear in dealing with either the refugees or with Erdoğan

    It’s also of a piece with Europe’s generally low commitment to freedom of expression. I think this really starts with laws against Holocaust denial. These sound (especially in Germany) like an excellent idea. But once you’ve tampered with the principle that no state has the right to abridge speech, of any kind, however foul, you’ve given up the principle of freedom of speech. After that, it’s just a matter of arguing that the speech in question passes certain boundaries of distastefulness or dangerousness.

    Finally:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: First: The only way to guarantee freedom of expression is with a US-style constitution.

    This, as we’ve been learning these last few years, is insufficient by itself; although it is absolutely necessary. The US Constitution, and that of any other nation’s US-style constitution, must be actively supported–enforced–by a politically participative population, so as to keep our courts and our elected officials on the straight and narrow.

    Agree.

    • #10
  11. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    I just watched the video. I’m sorry but reducing this to a statistical % of population made on the most optimistic estimates, ignoring the terrorism problem, and then screaming Nazi doesn’t cut it with me.

    What happens when another middle eastern country implodes under the pressure of Modern Jihadism? What happens when another 3-4-5-10 million refugees appear?

    ISIS-Syria-Iran should have been faced. The Obama administration is the most professional gang of slackers that have ever infested the White House. They invested this country’s foreign policy in lunatic fantasies like Libyan rebels, Morsi in Egypt, and the Iran Deal. They let all the important things go and it will only get worse.

    Calling Obama’s gang the JV team is too kind.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #11
  12. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    James Gawron: They have been unwitting actors in an absurdist play. The title of the play is “Waiting for Obama”.

    This more than anything is the problem. A system that had been organized and stabilized around US hegemony and the presumption that we could be counted on to behave a certain way — whether or not people liked it — is falling apart  because that organizing principle proved incorrect.

    • #12
  13. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Boehmermann, as any self-respecting Westerner would, doubled down. He patiently explained to Erdoğan — on the air — the legal difference between satire and slander. Slander, for example, would be reciting a poem, such as the one he’d composed for this educational occasion, calling Erdoğan a goat-pleasurer (he used a more Germanic phrasing) who watched child porn while kicking Kurds and beating young girls while wearing a rubber mask. Now that, he explained, would be slanderous.

    It’s sad that our government is less perceptive than a German comedian. And less honest.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Second: It’s all very well for European nationalists to insist they don’t want their country to be Islamized, but if in the process of recoiling from Syrian refugees they get themselves Erdoğanized, instead — or Putinized, for that matter — it will be their own stupid, short-sighted fault. And it will be a lot worse.

    Nothing is worse than being Islamized. It’s a 1,000 year sentence to a dark age. Jesus nailed Islam when he said, “By their fruit, you shall know them.” Wherever Muslims rule, there is ignorance, religious bigotry, misogyny, violence, and, in the absence of oil wealth, poverty. Muslims practice slavery, when the world lets them get away with it. They are a cancer on mankind.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    As long as Europe keeps stutter-stepping backward, Erdogan will have his way. He has them over a barrel, doesn’t he? Thanks for this post, Claire. As always, enlightening.

    • #14
  15. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    St. Salieri:Thank you for this, NYT eat your heart out!

    A question about Putin and Islamification, is there or are there connections between the behavior of Islamic violence, as was pointed out above, the incident in Cologne on New Year’s Eve was not a purely isolated incident that night/day (or do you disagree and why), and is there any sense that Putin has people trying to act as agents provocateur among the refugees? Is that stretching things too far into tin-foil hat land.

    I’ve heard a lot speculation to that effect, from people who aren’t tin-foil hat types at all. Certainly they’re ginning up a lot of public hysteria — this is by no means the only story like this. There are a lot of ethnic Russians in Germany (and other parts of Europe) who only get their news from PutinTV, which doesn’t help. I suspect Russian organized crime is probably facilitating the movement of people throughout Greece, and it’s not at all impossible that they’re deliberately facilitating the transfer both of terrorists and Syrian intelligence agents — I’ve heard both rumors from people who most definitely aren’t crazy. I’m not seeing much reporting about either possibility, though, outside of specialized think-tank and security-policy reports. So I’ll go to Greece and have a look for you: I’m sure if I ask people there who’s organizing the logistics for the movement of refugees to the Austrian border, I’ll have a better sense of how plausible this is.

    Can you give more explicit evidence for the workings of his influence beyond merely chalking it up to a mutual admiration society between groups of thugs, nationalists, and neo-fascists of varying stripes? Obviously, one doesn’t expect you to have top-secret Russian files, but is there a publicly traceable link that deniability would fail over,

    Sure, like the story above. As for the links between these parties and Putin, the financial links are so well-known they’re hardly a secret.

    that one looks at and says, yes this is disinformation, etc. How does one convince.

    Lastly, how do you see the problems, sometimes violent, rape/violent crime/attacks that are laid at the feet of the refugees, the slogans, the posturing, especially at police in German train stations etc., as given evidence at times via some of the video online and as well as personal discussions I’ve had with people on the ground (German friends), these seem to portray a very unpleasant set of affairs that could go very badly. Why shouldn’t people see this as Islamification, and rather how should they see it?

    If you let a bunch of young men who’ve just arrived from a culture with very different norms of behavior toward women run around unsupervised with inadequate authority and policing, there will be trouble. People know this at naval bases — and even with the full force and authority of the US Navy, this sort of thing has been known to happen. It’s not because the US Navy’s Islamic. It’s because drunk young men who’ve been separated from their womenfolk go nuts on shore leave.

    Assimilating these refugees is going to take a lot of work. Obviously. Anyone who thought it wouldn’t was mad. They need heavier policing, rapid language training, opening up of labor markets to the greatest degree possible. They have to be able to work. Above all: family reunification. Large cohorts of single young men are not a good idea, and there’s never going to be a Syria safe enough for them to return to. Not in our lifetimes.

    They need to rapidly process the asylum-seekers, figure out who’s actually a legitimate asylum-seeker and who isn’t, deport the ones who aren’t, and let the ones who stay send for their wives and children.  Merkel’s correct to say it can be done — West Germany managed to re-integrate the East, which after 41 years of communism was a zombie slave culture. This is nowhere near as challenging. My question’s whether there’s a will to do it.

    • #15
  16. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: But once you’ve tampered with the principle that no state has the right to abridge speech, of any kind….

    But we do that already: shouting fire when there isn’t one, anti-slander, and so on–all for very good reasons.  I generally prefer drawing lines at zero rather than at some point down the slope, but with this sort of thing it’s necessary.  But with this sort of thing, too, once the bubble is pierced, it’s a short moment to losing the whole thing.

    The illegality of Holocaust Denial is for a Very Good Reason, but as you note, the hole in the bubble spreads rapidly.

    Eric Hines

    • #16
  17. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: If you let a bunch of young men who’ve just arrived from a culture with very different norms of behavior toward women run around unsupervised with inadequate authority and policing, there will be trouble.

    I don’t recall:  Is it believed that the culprits in Cologne were mostly refugees?  Or economic migrants?  Or second-generation radicalized bad boys?  And what about some of the other incidents (I’m remembering something in Sweden, I think, almost a year ago?  I don’t have access at the moment to some of the notes I’ve kept on some of these things, so am going from questionable memory)?

    • #17
  18. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    James Gawron: ISIS-Syria-Iran should have been faced.

    Coulda, woulda, shoulda.  We have to deal with the problem as it exists, not as it might have been had things been done [better] yesterday.

    James Gawron: The Obama administration is the most professional gang of slackers that have ever infested the White House.

    I disagree.  I think Obama is much more dangerous than that, and so will either of the Progressive-Democrat Party’s candidates: he, and they, know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re doing it anyway, working very hard at it.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: A system that had been organized and stabilized around US hegemony and the presumption that we could be counted on to behave a certain way — whether or not people liked it — is falling apart because that organizing principle proved incorrect.

    Or because a critical component, one administration, violated the principle.  More, because the system had no flexibility designed in with which to deal with such a rogue component.

    Eric Hines

    • #18
  19. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Susan Quinn: He has them over a barrel, doesn’t he?

    I disagree.  They’re over a barrel only because they choose to be.  Any bully’s victim can end that status by choosing not to be a victim anymore.  That that’s harder to do than to say only puts a premium on choosing sooner rather than later.

    Eric Hines

    • #19
  20. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:Assimilating these refugees is going to take a lot of work. Obviously. Anyone who thought it wouldn’t was mad. They need heavier policing, rapid language training, opening up of labor markets to the greatest degree possible. They have to be able to work. Above all: family reunification. Large cohorts of single young men are not a good idea, and there’s never going to be a Syria safe enough for them to return to.

    They need to rapidly process the asylum-seekers, figure out who’s actually a legitimate asylum-seeker and who isn’t, deport the ones who aren’t, and let the ones who stay send for their wives and children. Not in our lifetimes. Merkel’s correct to say it can be done — West Germany managed to re-integrate the East, which after 41 years of communism was a zombie slave culture. This is nowhere near as challenging. My question’s whether there’s a will to do it.

    Claire,

    Israel does this all the time. However, one little detail. THEY ARE ALL JEWISH!!! Sorry for shouting but we need to grasp some of the difficulties you are discussing. The East Germans integrated after 41 years of Communism but they were already GERMANS! OK, I’ll try not to shout.

    Let’s get clear. The immigrants are not being kept from women. They are not on a Naval Base with Ensign Pulver in command. The street attitude towards women among Muslims is beneath all contempt. The Sharia Law attitude towards women is much more frightening. I have described the Sharia Law treatment of women as Domestic Dhimmitude. As long as they do exactly as they’re told they’ll be fine. The moment they step out of line they will be disciplined, physically if necessary. If their behavior is consistently an aggravation to their family they can be murdered.

    This is not Xenophobic propaganda.

    Feminists Need To Know — Islam Kills Women

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #20
  21. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: West Germany managed to re-integrate the East, which after 41 years of communism was a zombie slave culture. This is nowhere near as challenging. My question’s whether there’s a will to do it.

    I disagree.  Occupied Germany was much closer, culturally, to the FRG, even after three, or so, overlapping generations of Soviet occupation.  The Soviet Union and the prior Russia also were closer culturally to the FRG.  Memories existed.  Concepts existed.  Ways of thinking had existed and could be remembered.

    The folks from Syria, Iraq, Libya, even Turkey, are far and away from a vastly different world.  Ways of thinking, for instance, will have to be developed de nihilo.  It’s a far more challenging task to assimilate these folks than the victims of Soviet occupation.

    That doesn’t mean the effort shouldn’t be made, or that it can’t be done.  Hard means possible, as we’ve noted before.

    Eric Hines

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Eric Hines: disagree. They’re over a barrel only because they choose to be. Any bully’s victim can end that status by choosing not to be a victim anymore. That that’s harder to do than to say only puts a premium on choosing sooner rather than later.

    I was making the assumption, and I hope I’m wrong, that they wouldn’t act. I certainly hope they do, but I’m not optimistic; it’s already late in the game.

    • #22
  23. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    TG: I don’t recall: Is it believed that the culprits in Cologne were mostly refugees?

    No. They were mostly north African, there was an American among them.

    Or economic migrants? Or second-generation radicalized bad boys? And what about some of the other incidents (I’m remembering something in Sweden, I think, almost a year ago? I don’t have access at the moment to some of the notes I’ve kept on some of these things, so am going from questionable memory)?

    There’s been a lot of crime associated with immigrants from Muslim-majority countries in Europe — definitely the crime rate is higher among that demographic than others. But not so much higher, everywhere, that the level of hysteria we’re sometimes seeing here is warranted. It’s closely connected to class: immigrants from poor, rural parts of Morocco, for example — the Rif, especially — really seem to be a problem. Wealthier immigrants from Marrakech or Rabat do just fine.

    • #23
  24. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Eric Hines:

    James Gawron: ISIS-Syria-Iran should have been faced.

    Coulda, woulda, shoulda. We have to deal with the problem as it exists, not as it might have been had things been done [better] yesterday.

    James Gawron: The Obama administration is the most professional gang of slackers that have ever infested the White House.

    I disagree. I think Obama is much more dangerous than that, and so will either of the Progressive-Democrat Party’s candidates: he, and they, know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re doing it anyway, working very hard at it.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: A system that had been organized and stabilized around US hegemony and the presumption that we could be counted on to behave a certain way — whether or not people liked it — is falling apart because that organizing principle proved incorrect.

    Or because a critical component, one administration, violated the principle. More, because the system had no flexibility designed in with which to deal with such a rogue component.

    Eric Hines

    Eric,

    You need to be able to name names and assess completely before a major course correction. I’m not interested in coulda, woulda, shouda, but a quick review of where we have been recently in foreign policy. It is also amazing that you could imagine that somehow the system had inflexibility designed in when a rogue President short circuits the whole government on a daily basis with his pen & phone.

    As for the felon and the crazy socialist uncle, I couldn’t agree more that they might even be worse. The dems just keep amazing me.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #24
  25. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    James Gawron: It is also amazing that you could imagine that somehow the system had inflexibility designed in when a rogue President short circuits the whole government on a daily basis with his pen & phone.

    That’s a clear demonstration of a system’s inflexibility.

    Eric Hines

    • #25
  26. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Eric Hines: I disagree. Occupied Germany was much closer, culturally, to the FRG, even after three, or so, overlapping generations of Soviet occupation.

    I think you’re forgetting already how hard it was. One thing that really stands out to me is how similar the complaints about immigrants are to the sort of things West Germans said about Ossies — which I remember very well, and it seems I’m not misremembering, although I remember the language wasn’t this polite:

    Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 19.02.19

    In some ways this situation reminds me of the reunification — that initial elation, followed by the realization that rehabilitating all these backward Easterners who had no idea how to function in a modern capitalist society where things weren’t just handed out by the state was going to be incredibly difficult and expensive. And I remember hearing the same tone, after a time, of resentment — we’ve been so generous to them and they don’t even appreciate it. And of course there was the whole Ostalgie phenomenon, the resentment at being patronized … I think this is more similar than you might imagine.

    • #26
  27. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    More about the persistent difficulty of East-West German integration. That it was and is difficult doesn’t mean it wasn’t, on balance, a good thing. So far. Mind you, a united Germany has only been a success for a very short time; the jury’s still out.

    • #27
  28. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Eric Hines:

    James Gawron: It is also amazing that you could imagine that somehow the system had inflexibility designed in when a rogue President short circuits the whole government on a daily basis with his pen & phone.

    That’s a clear demonstration of a system’s inflexibility.

    Eric Hines

    Eric,

    The Constitution, or the system as you apparently refer to it, was adequate for FDR to fight a two theater world war and win in both theaters. He tried packing the court but couldn’t do it.

    The inflexibility that I would consider debating is the fact that we have virtually no other remedy for rogue Presidents or rogue Supreme Courts than impeachment. As Congress has the War Powers Act to reign in Presidential Power, I think Congress should have the power to overturn a majority Supreme Court decision and put a qualified minority decision in its place. This lame duck with his crazed Court may do more damage in the remaining 285 days then he did in the first seven years.

    I don’t think one can blame Obama’s foreign policy psychosis on the system.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #28
  29. skoook Inactive
    skoook
    @skoook

    Claire ; l might disagree with some of your North American observations, but theNRO piece is the best in show on Europe today.

    It connects dots, deepens insight .Every paragraph is gold. A must read.

    The European populous are languishing in a warm tub , having painlessly slashed their writs, bleeding out in style.

    • #29
  30. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Eric Hines: I disagree. Occupied Germany was much closer, culturally, to the FRG, even after three, or so, overlapping generations of Soviet occupation.

    I think you’re forgetting already how hard it was. One thing that really stands out to me is how similar the complaints about immigrants are to the sort of things West Germans said about Ossies — which I remember very well, and it seems I’m not misremembering, although I remember the language wasn’t this polite:

    Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 19.02.19

    In some ways this situation reminds me of the reunification — that initial elation, followed by the realization that rehabilitating all these backward Easterners who had no idea how to function in a modern capitalist society where things weren’t just handed out by the state was going to be incredibly difficult and expensive. And I remember hearing the same tone, after a time, of resentment — we’ve been so generous to them and they don’t even appreciate it. And of course there was the whole Ostalgie phenomenon, the resentment at being patronized … I think this is more similar than you might imagine.

    The comparison between accepting Syrian refugees and reintegrating East and West Germany is absurd. The two Germanies were one people ripped in two by conquest. The Syrian refugees are complete outsiders with zero connection to German culture and zero inclination to acquire any. Germany had nothing to do with the situation in Syria, and has zero obligation to do anything about it.

    • #30

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