The United States is a nation of immigrants. One often hears this as the answer to those who question present policies on turning a blind eye to illegal immigrants crossing our southern border. To a degree it is a valid statement but also irreverent to what is going on in this country and especially Europe. Immigration of the right sort of people made the United States the powerful nation that it is. My father was an immigrant, my wife’s mother was an immigrant, My family has helped a Vietnamese boat people family, My family hosted two Iraqi Muslim immigrants, who lived with us for several months. (they are great additions to this nation, who never took a penny from the taxpayers.)The point is not that immigration is bad, or that even those from a radically different culture should be excluded. But a mass migration of a people simply seeking refuge with no intention of being anything other than a Syrian living in Germany, or an Iraqi living in the UK, and never having any intention of becoming part of their host society is a recipe for disaster.
The people fleeing to Europe are fleeing the perpetual chaos that has been a characteristic of the Arab world for decades. They emerged from decades of military dictatorships punctuated by the so-called “Arab Spring,” initially seen by Western pundits as a move to democracy, only to find that the only winner has been the militant Islamists. Basically for most of the migrants it is simply wanting peace and order in which to live their lives, For the young men, they are escaping taking part in a bitter sectarian and pseudo religious war in which none of the antagonists appeal to them. In fact, a rarely analyzed phenomena in the Arab world is a rising antagonism to any organized religion.
It is not a hegira, a planned migration to install Islamic rule on Europe as some scaremongers are writing. That only makes a bad situation worse by creating more antagonism among a hostile European population. While European leaders are talking in terms of admitting thousands of immigrants, their populations are very apprehensive and for good reasons.
There are three very serious problems attendant to this mass migration. They are political, economic, and especially cultural.
First the political ramifications. The massive problems attendant to the mass migration of people to Europe, and perhaps later to the USA, are directly attributable to the failed or non-existent policies of the Obama administration. His policies and lack of leadership has been so bad that it is difficult to even explain in rational terms. His third worldism ideology, best explained as ascribing all the Third world’s chronic problems to the ‘aggressive’’ militarist United States or the colonialist West, is his basic mind-set. When one reviews Obama’s upbringing and enculturation it would be difficult to imagine otherwise. His attitude is an example of Western response, Solzhenitsyn described as one of cowardice in his famous 1978 speech at Harvard.
One should recall a fairly recent case history of Muslim immigration into Europe and resulting problem of integration into a basically alien population; that being the problem of the Algerians fleeing nationalist Algerian retribution after the end of the bitter Algerian war fought to obtain independence from France beginning in 1955, It lasted until 1962 when President de Gaulle unilaterally ended it and withdrew the French army.
The sudden end of the war created a massive problem for the Harkies, as they came to be called, the loyalists of the French rule. As it happened the departing French simply took all their weapons away from the Algerian loyalists and issued a good luck farewell. Over 50-to 100 thousand of these soldiers and their families were murdered in revenge killing sprees by revolutionary goons and their followers.
Some 30-90 thousand Harkies and families managed to make their way to France, where in typical French indifference to foreigners ,they were herded into relocation camps, little more than concentration camps, and very little was done to integrate them into main stream society. Gradually these camps grew into ghettos of Algerians refugees without a means of employment or being accepted as first class citizens.
No doubt the original fleeing Algerians were grateful for the safe haven France offered, as opposed to the alternative of being murdered.
But today much of the French problem with Islamist terrorism is the second and third generation Algerians, including the Harkies, who have not been integrated into French society…. and indeed many have refused to do so. The terrorism problem today among Muslim refugees does not exist among the first generation immigrants, most of whom still maintain some degree of appreciation for their host country. The problem is the second and third generation who seem to rekindle some sort of nativist yearnings. A Moroccan friend of mine wrote a paper for the North Carolina university he was attending examining the attitudes of the congregation of a Sunni Mosque in Raleigh . He found that a favorable attitude toward Osama Ben Laden was more prevalent among the second generation Sunnis, especially the males. The bottom line is that the human condition everywhere, among all societies, dictates that gratitude will always be in short supply.
This is the crux of the massive wave of immigrants/refugees streaming into Europe and then, later, undoubtedly into North America. The most critical issue is the cultural and social attitudes they bring with them.
First of all about 70% of the immigration wave are males, escaping the war avoiding military service or joining a militia.
Many say they will bring their families later. This will dramatically increase the number of immigrants. Moreover the large percentage of young males without women will be another issue most observers do not like to talk about. Foe example one German school, situated next to a building housing young Syrian refuges the girls were told not to wear revealing clothing.
The wide gap is illustrated by a conversation I had with a young Syrian in Damascus in the mid nineties. He was lamenting the fact that his family had brought him back to Syria after a long residence in Germany, as he stated, to protect his young sister from the baleful immoral influences of Germany. He went on to describe his happy sex life with his German girl friend and compared that happy time to his present situation. His mother had selected young bride for him and when he went to meet her for the first time, he reached out to touch her and she recoiled in fright. As he ruefully observed how can I live in this country?
In terms of attitude they bring their ingrained hatreds and ethnic divisions with them, including the Sunni-Shia divide, the Sunni – Alawi, mutual hatred and a smaller number of Christians who no longer have a home in most of the Arab world. Many harbor deep resentments against their former Muslim neighbors.
A recent informal survey of the Syrian refugees highlighted the problem. Although these people are fleeing chaos caused by Assad military or the Islamists, many having lost family members and their homes to the intra Arab violence, they still identify Israel as their main enemy.
Many of these refugees are not peasants but lower middle class people who will find it impossible to obtain a level of employment and social status commensurate with their former status. The safety and government handouts will only pacify the refuges for a short period and then resentments will grow and fester. Middle class families that had domestics working for them may well find themselves as the domestics in Europe. This is the meat of the economic problem.
As the problem of Greece indicates, government largesse is not forever and when the inevitable cuts come what happens to a refugee mass still living on government subsidies? Recent government surveys in the U.S. shocked some among the illusionists of the Left in finding out how many recent immigrants with families are living wholly on U.S. Tax payer subsidies. It is much worse in Europe. An Iraqi friend of mine living in the UK (who is himself an exception, having acquired advanced degrees and found employment), wrote that most of his Iraqi friends, having come to the U.K. years ago, are still living on subsidies, and do not even look for work. The welfare system has a way of self-perpetuation and can only be discontinued at the risk of social upheaval. That is evident in our country, if one could imagine the social turmoil if welfare was eliminated suddenly. It has become a sort of blackmail payment from the taxpayers to insure social stability.
Another irritating question asked by many Americans is why the Arab countries, particularly the Gulf states, do not accept the refugees, at least some of them..?
The saga of the Palestinian refugee population provides the bad example. Arab countries are loath to admit any refugee Arabs because of the record of the Palestinians turning against their host government, This has been amply demonstrated in Jordan by the attempt of the PLO to oust the Hashemite regime in 1970, the long-lasting and bloody civil war in Lebanon, and the actions of the Palestinian community in Kuwait who sided with Saddam’s invasion in 1990. The current immigrants are mostly Syrians and Iraqis are not Palestinians but the very conservative and Wahhabi influenced Gulf States with their large non citizen populations fear the immigrants as a fifth column.
And among the immigrants themselves, their irrationality, avoidance of personal responsibility, and proclivity for conspiracy theories (that characterizes much of the Arab modern society), makes it impossible to accept their own culpability in their present situation.
There is no contradiction between being a quietist devout Muslim and a good American citizen, but when too many immigrants, including Muslims, are concentrated in one area they tend to simply transplant their dysfunctional society to their new abode..
Immigration must be an orderly individual or single-family process, with due regard to the cultural and economic considerations free of domestic political considerations.
The Western world has lacked tough hard-nosed leadership for many years. U.S. Troops should not have been withdrawn from Iraq and while the ISIS was in its embryonic stage military force should have been used to create a safe haven buffer zone on the Syrian -Iraqi border and a concerted effort made with overwhelming force to destroy the ISIS malignancy. Pinprick and politically safe air attacks are not the answer. The feeble effort to bring down Assad is a diversion typical of Western leaders seeking easily defined enemies to avoid dealing with the more perplexing and thorny ones. The Syrian regime is execrable but containable. The ISIS is a world – wide movement and in the long-term very dangerous.
The sort of mass migration taking place today breeds polarization and hatred in a fragile European society. Every student in the Western world should be mandated to read and show understanding of the most prescient critique of Western society to ever appear, that of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s speech at Harvard in 1978. As he termed it, the “Exhausted West.” allows itself to be bullied by third-rate dictatorships (think Iran today), thinking that the Western model of parliamentary democracy is everywhere the ideal for all societies and that other countries and regions are only stymied in their move to democracy by dictators or barbarism. He warned against the decline of courage found most prevalent among the Western elite.
“Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity, and perplexity in their actions and in their statements, and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable, as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice.”
Tex- Excellent article. I wonder if any future historian will properly lay the ultimate blame for this mass migration on the Obamanation and the other gutless, progressive leaders of the West? Dave.