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.

There are 80 comments.

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  1. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    James Gawron:

    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.

    Is the movement of refugees in such numbers and across such distances and so many borders different from what happened pre-WWII? It seems to be so.

    Globalisation first meant the movement of capital around the world, then of goods and labour.  Perhaps the movement of refugees right across the globe is an inevitable part of the same process?

    This changes the options the West has for dealing with civil wars and disorder far beyond its borders.  It has gotten much harder, if not impossible, to completely fence off their consequences – which means they’re less easy to ‘live with’ to ‘let them sort each other out in time’.

    • #31
  2. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Zafar: Globalisation first meant the movement of capital around the world, then of goods and labour. Perhaps the movement of refugees right across the globe is an inevitable part of the same process?

    If so, it’s one of the best arguments against globalism I’ve ever seen.

    • #32
  3. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Carey J.:

    Zafar: Globalisation first meant the movement of capital around the world, then of goods and labour. Perhaps the movement of refugees right across the globe is an inevitable part of the same process?

    If so, it’s one of the best arguments against globalism I’ve ever seen.

    It’s certainly an unintended consequence.

    • #33
  4. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: I think you’re forgetting already how hard it was.

    I’m not disputing that it was hard.  In some respects, it’s still not complete.  I’m just arguing against the thesis that it was as difficult as assimilating the Syrian, et al., refugees.  It was no where near as hard.  At least with the eastern Germans, there was a common history and at least the memory of a common philosophy on which to build.

    Nothing remotely resembling that exists with the refugees.

    Eric Hines

    • #34
  5. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    This is all backfiring rather badly for Erdoğan, I’m pleased to report. (Further strong language warning, but it’s in German):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5bp4GUIAKw&nohtml5=False

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lea_Gl3RumU&nohtml5=False

    • #35
  6. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    James Gawron: He tried packing the court but couldn’t do it.

    One small point, and then I’ll leave it, since you won’t deign debate the thing except on your changed subject.

    By the time of Wickard, FDR’s Supreme Court had eight FDR appointees sitting on it.

    But, since he didn’t get nine for nine, I suppose you’re right; he didn’t succeed in packing it.

    Eric Hines

    • #36
  7. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Zafar:

    James Gawron:

    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.

    Is the movement of refugees in such numbers and across such distances and so many borders different from what happened pre-WWII? It seems to be so.

    Globalisation first meant the movement of capital around the world, then of goods and labour. Perhaps the movement of refugees right across the globe is an inevitable part of the same process?

    This changes the options the West has for dealing with civil wars and disorder far beyond its borders. It has gotten much harder, if not impossible, to completely fence off their consequences – which means they’re less easy to ‘live with’ to ‘let them sort each other out in time’.

    Zafar,

    Your comments are well appreciated. I was referring to a time three years ago when the mass migration hadn’t got going yet but the number of Syrian refugees that had crossed into Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon was already staggering.

    Remember, anyone with a smartphone is now connected to the internet. This is why feel-good nostrums by well-meaning Western leaders are even more likely to cause a stampede. Every time Obama gave a speech more central American 13-year-olds decided to make the 800-mile ride on the “death train” to get across our Southern border. Instead of trying to make the real effort to help the people in these countries have a better life in these countries we allowed a fantasy of “no more borders” and the absurd entitlement that results take hold.

    I am not insensitive to the plight of people but as Nigel Farage said in debate recently.

    Farage used his speech to draw attention to the fact that the 1951 Convention on Refugees’ defines a refugee as someone who is persecuted due to their race, religion or nationality etc and slammed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s broadening of “refugee” to also include people in extreme poverty, pointing out that this definition might encompass a billion people. He drew applause when criticising what he characterised as the cowardice of the political establishment’s failure to talk about the plight of Christians in Iraq and Syria who “are now only 10 per cent of what they were a few years ago.”

    WATCH: Farage And Steyn Win Toronto Munk Debate On EU Migrant Crisis

    The sponsors of the debate took the video down. Probably because they didn’t like the obvious winners.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #37
  8. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    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.

    Thank you very much for supporting it.

    • #38
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: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.

    We are almost as far from when that article was originally published (2004) as they were from the fall of the Wall. I’d be interested in whether or not the Ossie/Wessie split has changed in the interim.

    (I am not suggesting another chapter – I didn’t contribute that much. Two paragraphs and a footnote, maybe … )

    • #39
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: This is all backfiring rather badly for Erdoğan, I’m pleased to report. (Further strong language warning, but it’s in German):

    Mein Deutsch ist sehr schwach, aber ein Präsident mit einem kleinen was?

    Erdoğan will be waving his hands in front of the camera ala the Donald before you know it.

    • #40
  11. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire & all,

    Just as Jim Lovelock disavowed the GAIA hypothesis, his own creation. Trevor Phillips the man who coined the phrase and concept of “Islamaphobia” has now disavowed his own theory.

    UK “Equalities” Chief Admits He Was Wrong, Muslims Won’t Assimilate

    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    The GAIA hypothesis and Islamaphobia are childish ideas. The world simply doesn’t exist that way. It is time to grow up and put these children’s bedtime stories away and face the world as it is.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #41
  12. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Eric Hines:

    James Gawron: He tried packing the court but couldn’t do it.

    One small point, and then I’ll leave it, since you won’t deign debate the thing except on your changed subject.

    By the time of Wickard, FDR’s Supreme Court had eight FDR appointees sitting on it.

    But, since he didn’t get nine for nine, I suppose you’re right; he didn’t succeed in packing it.

    Eric Hines

    James was referring to the infamous Court Packing Bill. Even FDR couldn’t push that one through Congress.

    • #42
  13. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I have to come back to this and read it carefully. I can imagine the powers-that-be at the NYT sitting there wide-eyed and loudly gulping, because this is one hell of a “story” on how Europe is feeling after the Belgium attacks.

    Their politically correct ties got tighter as they read on, I envisioned, and finally someone must have gasped, “Run the generally speaking, Europe has changed…but we won’t name names story please, and follow up with the gluten-free French baked goods next week….” .  That story could be a chapter in an upcoming “sequel” that would thump a few world leaders, news outlets and a sagging world power out of their collective sleepy state….wow!

    • #43
  14. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    James Gawron:

    I was referring to a time three years ago when the mass migration hadn’t got going yet but the number of Syrian refugees that had crossed into Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon was already staggering….Instead of trying to make the real effort to help the people in these countries have a better life in these countries we allowed a fantasy of “no more borders” and the absurd entitlement that results take hold.

    Hi Jim – I don’t disagree with that, but the thing is Europe was pretty surprised by the sheer number of refugees (and others) who decided to make a break for Europe from Turkey.

    I’m sure criminal gangs tied to Governments (Turkish and Russian and, in fact, Greek etc.) had something to do with the timing, but they could only provide a means of entering Europe – the desire to do so was already there among refugees, and there in a relatively higher proportion than before because it was seen as a real option.

    We live in a world where it’s utterly unremarkable for Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum seekers to use expensive, complex and well organised (criminal) networks to try and get to Australia – a country their grandparents may not have even heard of, and where they would have had no thought of seeking asylum.

    The world is smaller, and how all of us see it has changed.  Governments are still catching up.

    Regards

    • #44
  15. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    So I read this as anti-nationalist, pro-EU, pro-Turkey (anti-Erdogan), pro-immigration.  Your advice to nationalists is honed to produce your desired out come, not yours.   That’s not honest advice.

    Theres a superior option open to Getmans who wish to remain German, and not be Erdoganized — accept zero invaders.  Return the ones now present.

    And yes, I explicitly mean “Your papers please.”  Post to come on this soon.

    • #45
  16. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Zafar:

    James Gawron:

    I was referring to a time three years ago when the mass migration hadn’t got going yet but the number of Syrian refugees that had crossed into Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon was already staggering….Instead of trying to make the real effort to help the people in these countries have a better life in these countries we allowed a fantasy of “no more borders” and the absurd entitlement that results take hold.

    Hi Jim – I don’t disagree with that, but the thing is Europe was pretty surprised by the sheer number of refugees (and others) who decided to make a break for Europe from Turkey.

    I’m sure criminal gangs tied to Governments (Turkish and Russian and, in fact, Greek etc.) had something to do with the timing, but they could only provide a means of entering Europe – the desire to do so was already there among refugees, and there in a relatively higher proportion than before because it was seen as a real option.

    We live in a world where it’s utterly unremarkable for Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum seekers to use expensive, complex and well organised (criminal) networks to try and get to Australia – a country their grandparents may not have even heard of, and where they would have had no thought of seeking asylum.

    The world is smaller, and how all of us see it has changed. Governments are still catching up.

    Regards

    Zafar,

    I agree completely that the world has shrunk. However, being delusional about the nature of genocidal Jihadism and unassimilable Sharia adherents certainly didn’t make for good policy either. We need to stop believing in this garbage right now.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #46
  17. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Yes Sir!

    • #47
  18. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: 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 —

    The Frontex report issued this week says the EU has got at best a marginal understanding of how many and from whence came the (way) more than 1M “irregular migrants” floating around the Continent.  Your prescription, therefore, is a pipe dream.

    But I have a more fundamental question: why, and in what manner, does doing all that you suggest serve German national interests?  What makes this a good thing for the typical tax payer?

    You mention only Cologne vis-a-vis violent sexual assaults on German women by gangs of Islamic refugees.   Are we all wrong to believe press reports about this happening in numerous cities throughout Germany and beyond?  Are you down playing it for  a reason?  Do you really think there’s an equivalence between a single U.S. sailor alleged to have taken advantage of a women passed out in a hotel hallway and the roving gangs of men attacking any women who happens to be walking on the streets of her own city?

    • #48
  19. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    HVTs:

    The Frontex report issued this week says the EU has got at best a marginal understanding of how many and from whence came the (way) more than 1M “irregular migrants” floating around the Continent. Your prescription, therefore, is a pipe dream.

    It’s not. In France, the police will stop you and say, “Papers, please,” for no reason at all. You can’t do a thing in Europe without identification, from renting an apartment to opening a bank to, yes, collecting welfare benefits — and if the cops stop you and ask for your papers and you don’t have them, you can be prosecuted. So if they decide it’s important to know who everyone is, it can be done. Anyone telling you anything to the contrary isn’t a good source to trust. I don’t know why people say things like “We have no way of knowing who they are!” What they might mean is, “We don’t have enough cops on the street to handle this so we need to shake down another EU country to pay for them.” Or they might mean, “Wow, we cannot seem to make any decisions about how to handle this collectively, because no one’s actually in charge of Europe, and everyone goes berserk when Germany tries to take charge — even though they’re the wealthiest ones and the most competent at organizing things.” Germans are really sensitive to the accusation that  they’re trying to take charge, so they refuse to do it — kind of passive-aggressively, though — so we’ve ended up with this “marginal understanding” of a situation we could understand perfectly well within the next 24 hours, if only someone would take responsibility for it.

    But I have a more fundamental question: why, and in what manner, does doing all that you suggest serve German national interests? What makes this a good thing for the typical tax payer?

    Depends how you define “national interests.” Germany has an interest in not having failed states on its periphery and in its major export markets — which are in the EU, especially the southern EU. If every state closes its borders to the refugees in sequence, you’ll end up with all of the refugees on the southern border states of the EU and Turkey — especially Greece, which really isn’t going to help Greece to recover economically. It’s unfair to demand that Greece play by the EU’s economic and social rules but refuse to share the burden of a crisis on the EU’s borders in any reasonable way. Now, perhaps you’ll reply, “Life is unfair,” and you’d be right, but it would be unwise, because it will be perceived to be so unfair.

    As for why it’s in any state’s interests to uphold the Geneva Convention, I’d answer that those conventions were drafted by a generation that very deeply understood problems like this and anticipated situations like this. They drafted the conventions not out of naivete, but out of the absence of it.

    We jettison the norms it established at our grave peril; once we say, “To hell with the Geneva Conventions,” we remove many important taboos and accepted norms. That’s one reason why the failure to enforce the “red line” on chemical weapons in Syria was so horrifying: outrage over the 90,000 deaths and 1 million injuries from chlorine, phosgene and mustard gas in the first World War is exactly what brought about the Geneva Protocol. (By the way — in the 1920s, Spain and France began their six-year Rif War against the Berber rebels in Morocco with mustard gas. Almost all of the terrorists recently arrested in connection with the attacks in Belgium and France are Moroccans whose families came from the Rif mountains. I assume that shared cultural memories like these help people from the Rif dehumanize their victims and create phony moral justifications for killing them. But that’s a tangent.)

    Even Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons in warfare (although he obviously used chemical weapons as a tool of mass extermination). The re-normalization of the use of chemical weapons in warfare is a catastrophe. Jettisoning any of the provisions of the Geneva Convention would likewise be a catastrophe: these are taboos that serve all of us well.

    And the moral case is obvious: Those who are legitimately seeking asylum are desperate, stateless people who but for the grace of God could be us.

    You mention only Cologne vis-a-vis violent sexual assaults on German women by gangs of Islamic refugees. Are we all wrong to believe press reports about this happening in numerous cities throughout Germany and beyond?

    I don’t know yet, to be honest, and it’s one of the things I’ll look into for myself while working on this book — in fact, if you’ve got specific ideas for doing that research, please tell me, and of course, please support the research.

    I think the best places for me to get a sensible, non-exaggerated, non-politically-exploited statistics, and a sense of what’s really happening, is Germany, where I think speaking to local law enforcement and rape crisis centers might help me figure out which statistics are reliable, and how they compare to crime rates among other ethnic cohorts. I’d like also to visit refugee shelters, get a more personal sense of the people who are claiming the refugees are uncivilized and un-civilizable, as well as a better sense of the refugees there. So far I’ve only met them in Turkey and France. Perhaps the ones there are from a different region, or perhaps there’s some other reason they’d act differently in Germany than they do in Turkey. I don’t know.

    Are you down playing it for a reason?

    I’m not playing it down, but I’ve seen none of it firsthand and I do have a sense that the reporting is hard to trust: People seem either to believe that even hinting that refugees might be more prone to rape is fundamentally racist, or that refugees are raping every woman in sight. I’d like to see what’s going on for myself. (In France, no one is reporting rapes, although comparatively, France has admitted comparatively few refugees.)

    Do you really think there’s an equivalence between a single U.S. sailor alleged to have taken advantage of a women passed out in a hotel hallway and the roving gangs of men attacking any women who happens to be walking on the streets of her own city?

    Not just one single US sailor — I mean, that base is notorious. Yes, I do. Politically incorrect as it is to say it, I firmly believe that if you take a large group of aggressive and sexually frustrated young men, put them in a foreign country, and add a lot alcohol, they’re apt to act like animals. God help us if feminist theory has so twisted our minds that this is no longer considered “common wisdom.”

    I’m astonished that this didn’t occur to the police in Cologne. Since then, public festivities seem to have taken place with a more normal rate of criminal complaint (there’s always some harassment during these things — think Mardi Gras in New Orleans). I’d guess that’s because the police got the message: We’ve got to be there, be visible, and stop anything like this before it gets out of hand.

    • #49
  20. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Claire, we have already jettisoned the Geneva Conventions by extending protections to those whom the accord was explicitly designed to disadvantage.

    This is socialist accounting where the currency is blood.

    • #50
  21. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Claire, notoriety is not what it’s cracked up to be.  The crime rate, every single variety, is lower among US troops on Okinawa than it is for a comparable demographic of Okinawans.

    This is quite the inverse of the situation in Germany, or anywhere else experiencing non-assimilating waves of barbarians.

    It’s the reflexive “Yeah well America is just as bad” argument which I find most galling.  No, it is not.

    • #51
  22. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: In France, the police will stop you and say, “Papers, please,” for no reason at all. … if the cops stop you and ask for your papers and you don’t have them, you can be prosecuted.

    Thanks for your detailed and enlightening response . . .  unfortunately can’t reply to all of it now.

    Frontex says literally a million or more migrants showed up, few with any documentation whatsoever. The refugees understand that saying ‘from Syria’ means the refugee fast lane.  Frontex has absolutely no way to validate who/from where/why these people arrived; police can demand papers but nothing can be done.  You say they can be prosecuted and I’m sure that’s true.  But a million or (likely many) more prosecutions for improper documentation when all they have to say is “Syrian refugee”?   That’s obviously neither feasible nor productive.  Even if it happened, is the EU going to build prison cells for all these documentation violators?  It’s not going to send them home . . . can’t figure where that is and will be tied up in court forever even if it tried.  That’s why I say it’s a pipe dream.

    It’s similar to the catch and release policy here . . . in theory our migrants will show up to court on a day dutifully told to them in writing as we usher them out the door.  They don’t and know we will do nothing.  Neither will EU countries.  Only preventing arrival works.

    • #52
  23. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Clearly the EU is the problem. Let the people of Europe — the geographical area — throw off this yoke and many of these conundrums and difficulties just evaporate. No EU institutions to Erdoğanize, and Erdoğan becomes an almost exclusively Turkish problem. No anti-EU parties to fund for trouble-making purposes, and Putin becomes a martial, not an institutional problem. With national political institutions having to respond to the concerns of their own citizens rather than transnational fantasies like international norms (the sacrifice of common sense on the altar of any international instrument with “Geneva” in the name), solutions that respond to the consciences, cultures and convictions of large numbers of human beings — which is to say, lasting solutions — become possible.

    • #53
  24. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    St. Salieri: 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.

    Good piece today in the Guardian by the only British leftist worth reading, Nick Cohen. Toward the end of the piece he notes some of the things you might track if you wanted to convince people that there are easily-traced links. He’s also correct to say that the Dutch referendum should horrify everyone.

    The minority who voted in the Dutch referendum knew little about the Ukrainian war. They wanted to attack their government and Brussels bureaucrats. Whatever their motives, it remains the case that the selfish and parochial citizens of a western democracy destroyed the hopes of Ukrainians, who have paid in blood in their struggle against Russian domination.

    If they were too thoughtless to know what they were doing, their leaders knew all too well. Putin has spent years courting the European far left and far right. For years too, conventional opinion has regarded his alliance-building as another sideshow. Who cared if Jeremy Corbyn was a regular, uncritical guest on Russian propaganda networks? He was just a Labour backbencher. Or if Nigel Farage described Putin as the world leader he most admired? He couldn’t even win a seat in parliament. Why report on Seumas Milne kissing Putin’s ring at conferences on the Black Sea? He was just an obscure Guardian columnist.

    Putin was smarter. He understood what conventional wisdom never grasps: today’s fringe becomes tomorrow’s mainstream. Putin has welcomed his admirers from the European left and pumped money into Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France. His investment is coming good.

    Why supposed leftists are allying with an imperialist and ultra-conservative Kremlin is a question for another day. But the far right’s updating of the Hitler-Stalin pact makes sense. ..

    • #54
  25. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Claire, notoriety is not what it’s cracked up to be. The crime rate, every single variety, is lower among US troops on Okinawa than it is for a comparable demographic of Okinawans.

    I’m perfectly willing to believe that, but it seems many Japanese citizens don’t. Why?

    This is quite the inverse of the situation in Germany, or anywhere else experiencing non-assimilating waves of barbarians.

    Have you ever met a single one of the people you believe to be non-assimilating barbarians?

    It’s the reflexive “Yeah well America is just as bad” argument which I find most galling. No, it is not.

    No, I agree that America is not “just as bad” as Syria. My point is that some circumstances require a heavy police presence. If you have many young men who haven’t had access to women in a long time, or at all, lots of alcohol, and no clear authority on hand, you’re more apt to have problems than you are in a gathering of teetotalling elderly British lesbians.

    • #55
  26. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei: . Let the people of Europe — the geographical area — throw off this yoke and many of these conundrums and difficulties just evaporate.

    Of course. Why didn’t I think of that? Europe had no difficulties before the EU. It was a prelapsarian paradise. Why did they even think up this EU idea in the first place, I wonder?

    • #56
  27. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    Claire, notoriety is not what it’s cracked up to be. The crime rate, every single variety, is lower among US troops on Okinawa than it is for a comparable demographic of Okinawans.

    I’m perfectly willing to believe that, but it seems many Japanese citizens don’t. Why?

    Yellow journalism.

    • #57
  28. St. Salieri Member
    St. Salieri
    @

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    St. Salieri: Can you give more explicit evidence…

    Good piece today in the Guardian by the only British leftist worth reading, Nick Cohen. Toward the end of the piece he notes some of the things you might track if you wanted to convince people that there are easily-traced links. He’s also correct to say that the Dutch referendum should horrify everyone.

    Thank you again.

    This is the short of thing one is looking for, but doesn’t have the time to do alone (everyday) or unaided.

    Wouldn’t it be a miracle if we couldn’t turn this model into an actual honest to goodness news agency.

    Your response to my last question was the response one thinks of – if one doesn’t immediately go whole hog – all Muslim men will be rapists in Europe.

    I hoped to see push back and argument with evidence.  The situation has moved so fast, and is so politicized on all sides, that it is bewildering, but the best way to learn when one doesn’t have the expertise or the ability to gather the information itself is watch the exchange and see who has the better arguments and evidence.

    I’m glad you are doing this, I want facts and information, and informed commentary.

    One wonders if others couldn’t be enticed to join you in this model.

    I hope you will be speaking to refugees themselves, and also those who are outspokenly critical of Europe.

    • #58
  29. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    genferei: . Let the people of Europe — the geographical area — throw off this yoke and many of these conundrums and difficulties just evaporate.

    Of course. Why didn’t I think of that? Europe had no difficulties before the EU. It was a prelapsarian paradise. Why did they even think up this EU idea in the first place, I wonder?

    Are there any institutions that have outlived their usefulness or so changed from their original conceptions that they need to be replaced? By what right did thirteen North American colonies rebel against the thoroughly enlightened British monarchy? After all, before the institution of empire on the east coast it was anarchy!

    • #59
  30. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei: Are there any institutions that have outlived their usefulness or so changed from their original conceptions that they need to be replaced?

    Hey, you joined a conservative discussion group. You shouldn’t be surprised by a preference for conservatism.

    • #60
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