Unintended Consequences

By Samuel Stevens

@SamuelJ_Stevens

The recent Muslim terrorist attacks in Paris and the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe are the result of over forty years of shortsighted policy by the U.S. and Israeli government.

The argument could be made, though, that it goes back even further to the British Balfour Declaration in 1917, robbing the Arabs of the self-determination T.E. Lawrence worked so hard for during the First World War.

Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi and now Bashar al-Assad are not ideal Western leaders; their nations are not liberal democracies by any stretch. On the other side of the world, the past two American administrations value forcing democracy onto a people that have no experience with it, rather than the security of the Middle East, and by extension the U.S. and Europe.

These policies that cause influxes of refugees and terrorism do not come down on the ruling class that pushes them. Syrians are not going to live in the German Chancellery (their White House), they are going to small villages and towns that cannot afford to feed and house them.

The new imperial program does not involve taking over a country by force as it did in the nineteenth century. The new imperialism in the Middle East is about regime change—eliminating nationalist leaders and replacing them with far more radical Wahhabis that are pliable to Western commercial interests.

Destroying countries and then allowing more fundamentalist governments to take over causes two problems: first, the destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria causes refugees to leave for Europe and the United States. The home countries become support bases of terrorism, and increased Arab migration to the West allows terrorists to hide in plain sight with legitimate immigrants.

Terrorism is an insurgency, or protracted war. Mao, leader of the Communist revolution in China, said that insurgents “must move among the people as a fish swims in the sea.”

It does not matter if “not all Muslims” are terrorists. What is important is that a large Muslim population in a Western country, especially smaller ones like in Europe, provides cover to the few who are members of ISIS.

Taking in refugees from the Middle East does not address the problem. Rather than help Assad restore stability to his nation, the U.S. government has spent its time arming “moderate” Syrian rebels. Neoconservative and liberal interventionist policy makers have learned nothing after decades of interventions, trying to spread the gospel of democracy and Western capitalism to groups of people with very different histories and cultures.

Media tries to justify these interventions through appeals to emotion. The image of a Syrian boy drowning on the beach, or the overloaded boats of refugees is a tool of the media to manipulate the public.

War and human suffering are tragic. Europe and the U.S. already have people without jobs, homes, or food. Our governments have not been able to take care of them.

Adding to that problem is not going make it any better. People in the U.S. and Europe want to save Arab refugees, when we cannot save ourselves. Caring for these refugees because of pathological altruism makes people feel happy.

It does not confront why the people are refugees in the first place.

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