In response to an FT Debate on 12th March 2016, entitled "How has the EU mismanaged the migrant crisis?"
"Is the EU to blame for the crisis in the first place, or has it mismanaged the situation?"
We have to go back a long way to understand this crisis, and be prepared to look at motives and actions that have been, and still are, less than noble.
Looking at Syria, and the refugee crisis that erupted there, we have to understand:
1. The historical enmity between Sunni and Shia
2. The transition of US monetary hegemony from the gold backed dollar of the Bretton Woods system to the petro-dollar in the seventies
3. The alliances that the US built in the middle east to support the hegemony of the petro-dollar
4. The proxy war that has been developing between the US and Russia since the re-emergence of Russia from the rubble of the USSR
5. The refusal of Assad, Russia's ally, to allow the Qatari pipeline through Syria, blocking the ability of the US' Sunni allies to compete with Russia in the European gas market
6. The unacknowledged, but nevertheless pervasive strategy of the neocon elements in Washington foreign policy circles to use regime change in support of their aims, E.G. as outlined in the Wolfowitz doctrine
7. The US strategy of arming, funding, and training insurgent groups to pursue its objectives, going back to the creation of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, to the latest manifestation of unforeseen and grotesque consequences - ISIS
8. The inability of President Obama to extricate the US from its history of global intervention, and/or to control the neocons and globalists in his own back yard, and/or to build strong common interest with Russia and China
And that is by no means a full description of what got us here.
Into this mess enter Mrs. Merkel, arguably the most effective, certainly the most popular leader in Europe, fresh from an untypical 'cock-up' over Greece...who, after a few days of apparent soul searching, opened the door of the EU to a flood of badly damaged, and in many cases cruelly abused people ...arriving into a community of nations already wobbling from the inbuilt contradictions of its fiscal and monetary arrangements, and a still unresolved debt crisis.
I don't have an answer to this, and anyone who says they do is a fool or a charlatan. But what I do know is this:
1. The EU was already in crisis before this erupted
2. We have to resolve that before and during attempts to solve the refugee crisis
To elaborate: The EU was already in a crisis of confidence before the refugee crisis erupted. So when Mr. Stephens says things like: "One more thing. Europe is a community of values — something forgotten by many during this crisis", I don't know whether to laugh or cry. What values are you talking about Mr. Stephens? Ignore egregious fiscal and monetary problems? Fantasise that monetary union without fiscal union is a jolly good idea that was planned all along? Pretend poor people and the unemployed are as sanguine as middle class folks with a job? Kick the banking crisis can down the road? Pretend your Central Banker is Harry Potter?
For the 'values' argument to be more than cheap moralising, we need to put our own house in order. Unless the fiscal and monetary arrangements of the Eurozone are fundamentally reformed, there will be another sovereign debt crisis, this time a big one - and the collapse of the Eurozone. Add that to the refugee crisis and few of us alive would have experienced anything comparable. It will make everything ten times worse.
Looking at the crop of leaders we have, the quality of output from gatherings like Davos and the G20, the total lack of appetite for truth telling amongst our politicians, the sub-contracting of the economy to a group of unelected academics, the state of denial of 'elites', the failure to understand or acknowledge that the rise of independence movements, populists, and referendums etc. etc. might have anything to do with them...looking at all that...I think we are 'screwed'.