Germany’s exceptional treatment of Syrian (and other) refugees is something the US needs to pay close attention to. I mean “the US” and not just a few State Department employees and maybe a scattering of news show producers on American TV.
The latest surge in political refugees is the result of ISIS’s presence in Syria. Let’s not pretend that the continuing refugee crisis is yet another distinct problem. Let’s not forget that ISIS is thriving thanks in large part to the Bush-Cheney interventions in the Middle East and the disruptions of already problematic political systems in Iraq and Iraq’s neighbors.
We don’t yet know the size of the death toll of immigrants coming into western Europe from the Middle East and North Africa, but we are beginning to see them reach their goals — most notably in Germany where the reception is orderly and humane for now but which carries political and social risks.
Germany is in many ways a laboratory of how the European Union could jointly tackle the migrant crisis. Key to the seamless response so far has been a quota system that has been in place for decades and distributes migrants across the country’s states according to their widely varying populations and economic prowess — much like the system Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed for the 28 member states of the European Union.
But if the German quota system highlights a possible path to a European solution, it is also laying bare the many pitfalls along the way. …NYT
Those pitfalls include political unrest in Germany and the rise of a neo-Nazi movement targeting immigrants.
If Germany represents the best of the European response to the migration crisis, in many ways it also represents the worst.
The German authorities have recorded more than 200 attacks aimed at housing for the migrants, or the migrants themselves, in the first half of 2015. Some of the most violent attacks have been in Saxony, where far-right protesters clashed with the police outside a refugee shelter in Heidenau in July, and tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Dresden last year to join an anti-immigrant movement called Pegida, the German acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, which deplored what it called the “Islamization” of Europe. ….NYT
At some point America will have to come to terms with the role we play in international instability. Over and over again. Sometimes with the cameras on and backed by a banner reading “Mission accomplished.”