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This week on Banter, Sadanand Dhume joined the show to discuss the Rohingya refugees in Southeast Asia as well as the performance of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in reforming India’s economy. Dhume is an AEI Resident Fellow whose research focuses on South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society. He is also a South Asia columnist for the Wall Street Journal and has written for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia.
A few days ago, I posted the first part of an extended email exchange between me and one of our members, Lilibellt, an Austrian native who now lives in Vienna. Here’s the next part. It gets quite detailed, but even so, we’ve barely begun to discuss the other massive crisis facing Europe. Still, keep Putin in mind as you read this. Peter Dickinson argued in Newsweek yesterday that Europe is still in complete denial about it:
I thought many of you would appreciate Dr. Taylor Marshall’s essay called, “Islamic Refugee Crisis: Good Samaritan or Maccabean Response? Or both.” I believe that even non-Catholics will appreciate Dr. Marshall’s reasoning here. Using the Bible and citing Thomas Aquinas, he argues that our duty towards our nation’s common good requires us to refuse to bring […]
Gary N. Kleiman, a DC-based emerging market specialist and a columnist for my old haunt, Asia Times, has an idea for financing relief efforts for the global refugee crisis: sovereign refugee bonds. Obviously, the idea is still germinal. He writes about it here at Beyond Brics:
The plight of tens of thousands of Middle East refugees pouring daily into eastern and western Europe has prompted EU and UN emergency action to raise billions of dollars for unmet previous pledges as well the historic fresh influx. But the funding model that relies on governments supplemented by private donations has long been unable to keep pace with the global spread of internal and external displacement now affecting 60m people, 80 per cent in developing countries, according to the UN’s latest figures.
Financial markets, both debt and equity, could be mobilised for emerging economy frontline states to provide a new, long-term source for immediate infrastructure and social needs and future professional training and employment entry. Sovereign refugee bonds would be a logical start, building on existing investor local and foreign-currency portfolios across emerging market regions. Issues could carry partial guarantees from the World Bank and other development lenders, but more creditworthy governments are in a position to continue normal borrowing on commercial terms that could be discounted with a commitment to carefully track the proceeds for a range of refugee hosting and resettlement purposes.
On Tuesday afternoon, EU Interior ministers forced through a plan, by majority vote, to relocate 120,000 refugees now in Greece, Italy, and Hungary among the rest of the EU nations. Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic voted against mandatory quotas, and Finland abstained. I say “forced,” because this deal was surrounded by an unusual amount of EU-infighting and controversy.
Earlier this month, Germany unexpectedly reintroduced temporary controls on its border with Austria, and suspended all train travel between the countries for a full day, citing the consistently high inflow of refugees into the country. The member states saw this as a clear signal from Germany that it would not stand alone in bearing the burden of the crisis. The decision followed widespread criticism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s handling of the crisis from within her own ranks, with former ministers calling the Chancellor “starry eyed,” and warning that opening the borders to uncontrolled and unregistered immigrants would have devastating long-term consequences. According to the German Press Agency, the German vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, wrote to SPD party members announcing that Germany may now expect up to one million refugees instead of the 800,000 formerly forecasted by the Interior Ministry.
The EU’s interior ministers have been meeting for the past weeks in an attempt to break the deadlock, with Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia against the proposed mandatory burden-sharing. European Council President Donald Tusk said that if a consensus couldn’t be reached, countries that support the Commission’s proposals ought to force those who oppose to comply through qualified majority voting and by withholding funds and benefits.
I noticed yesterday on the Member Feed that Ricochet member F-18 was wondering why we hadn’t been discussing the refugee crisis on Ricochet. In fact, we have — quite a bit — but he’s right that some of the most interesting discussions have been coming up in the comment threads, and thus aren’t so easy to find.
I’m in Europe now, and was living in Turkey as the Syrian war began and the refugees began streaming across the border. So I thought I’d open this thread to anyone who wants to ask questions about what exactly happened and what’s happening now in Europe.
Before that, though, I thought I’d put up links to some of the posts I wrote here on Ricochet as the crisis began. It would take you a few hours to read them all and watch all of the video interviews, but if you have them to spare, you might find them useful: You can see from them how absolutely clear it was, even in 2011, that a disaster of this scale was inevitable.
Last night on Fox News, Republican frontrunner (!) Donald Trump seemed to contradict his earlier position on the Syrian Civil War refugees now flooding through Europe. Just a week ago, he had suggested — vaguely — that the United States should take some of them in.
Last night, he was more emphatically against it, reiterating, among other things, that the richest states in the region — the Arab Gulf states — have yet to take in a single refugee. In this respect, at least, Trump is right in line with Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch: