When they turn the pages of history
When these days have passed long ago
Will they read of us with sadness
For the seeds that we let grow?
We turned our gaze
From the castles in the distance
Eyes cast down
On the path of least resistance
Cities full of hatred, fear and lies
Withered hearts and cruel, tormented eyes
Scheming demons dressed in kingly guise
Beating down the multitude and
Scoffing at the wise
The big news of the times is the refugee crisis in Europe. Well, that’s the simple way to write it. The refugees are from the crisis in the Middle East and North Africa; Europe just happens to be the closest reasonably safe port in the storm…or, maybe not “just happens.”
There is some curiosity – at least in alternative circles – about the make-up of the refugees. Many refugees are quite well dressed, with smart-phones and the like; many young males of military age. Of course, no single explanation can fit them all. It is reasonable to assume that some are doing nothing more than taking advantage of the opportunity to leave.
Consider if you were a reasonably well-educated young man, even perhaps with a decent income. You are living in a world where there is not only no hope of financial security, there is no hope of any kind of security in your lifetime even if you are living in a region that is currently not being bombarded. What would you do? How long would you wait?
There is another curiosity: why now? These lands have been war torn for years, for some more than a decade. There have been refugees for years, there have been refugees dying in their attempts to escape for years. An old and virtually ignored story doesn’t make 24X7 news in four corners of the globe by accident.
Ron Paul has written a good piece explaining the roots of the crisis; I don’t think regular readers here will need a refresher, but here is a snippet:
The reason so many are fleeing places like Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq is that US and European interventionist foreign policy has left these countries destabilized with no hopes of economic recovery. This mass migration from the Middle East and beyond is a direct result of the neocon foreign policy of regime change, invasion, and pushing “democracy” at the barrel of a gun.
You wouldn’t know this from reading any of the mainstream media. Take, for example, one of my favorite official-narrative mouthpieces, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. In this piece, he offers a very handy timeline to the crisis. It begins 19 April 2015, with the entry:
Around 650 migrants were feared drowned as a boat carrying 700 capsized in the waters of the Italian island of Lampedusa. Roughly 30 were saved.
A pocketbook edition, an elevator pitch; this is what Ambrose offers. Nothing important happened in the history of this tragedy, apparently, before April – less than five months ago.
Or this, from the opinion section of the Sunday New York Times:
THOSE of us outside Europe are watching the unbelievable images of the Keleti train station in Budapest, the corpse of a toddler washed up on a Turkish beach, the desperate Syrian families chancing their lives on the night trip to the Greek islands — and we keep being told this is a European problem.
The Syrian civil war has created more than four million refugees. The United States has taken in about 1,500 of them. The United States and its allies are at war with the Islamic State in Syria — fine, everyone agrees they are a threat — but don’t we have some responsibility toward the refugees fleeing the combat? If we’ve been arming Syrian rebels, shouldn’t we also be helping the people trying to get out of their way? If we’ve failed to broker peace in Syria, can’t we help the people who can’t wait for peace any longer?
The author, Michael Ignatieff, also points to his home country of Canada as well as “the petro states” for not taking in more refugees. He calls for the United States and Canada to make a good start by taking in tens of thousands of these refugees.
Ignatieff is able to write an entire op-ed without mentioning even once the root cause of the crisis; instead, he offers – with a sense of moral condemnation – as his closing:
What must Syrians, camped on the street outside the Budapest railway station, be thinking of all that fine rhetoric of ours about human rights and refugee protection? If we fail, once again, to show that we mean what we say, we will be creating a generation with abiding hatred in its heart.
Isn’t it likely that many already have “abiding hatred” in their hearts for being thrown into a hell driven by western powers?
So if compassion won’t do it, maybe prudence and fear might. God help us if these Syrians do not forgive us our indifference.
Our indifference? Syrians would have been glad for “our indifference” a few years ago, before the west decided to turn their homeland into a war-zone.
Pope Francis had perhaps the best libertarian response coming from the mainstream – and a better libertarian response than that suggested by some libertarians:
Issuing a broad appeal to Europe’s Catholics, Pope Francis on Sunday called on “every” parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary to take in one refugee family — an appeal that, if honored, would offer shelter to tens of thousands.
A private organization offering a home and relief. This is consistent with the libertarian respect for private property; Pope Francis finally got something right – at least as right as can be given how intertwined the state is with property today.
Update: my words of praise for the Pope may have been a bit premature.
I recall something from several years ago, when I was a regular reader of The Daily Bell; it was either in an article or maybe a comment to feedback made by the editor. The issue was the so-called (and supposedly spontaneous) Arab-spring – the many, almost simultaneous uprisings throughout the MENA region. The Daily Bell suggested that maybe chaos was the objective of the west.
That thought has stuck with me, perhaps because it is the only outcome that neatly fits the preceding actions by western powers; perhaps because such actions continue despite the daily reminders that these actions result in chaos.
But I never felt very settled about it: out of chaos comes chaos, not order; we are witnessing the chaos daily. Is chaos the end objective? Perhaps, if your desire is limited to selling more weapons or increasing government mandates and control, etc. Perhaps this is enough – all states benefit from heightened tension: real, imagined, or contrived.
Or is chaos the means to a further end objective? I can think of two possibilities:
First, the outcomes are such that Europe will, at least for quite some time, be quite distracted and further weakened. By weakened, I mean specifically (and only) that the economic costs of integrating hundreds of thousands or millions of refugees will be high; that there are already powder-keg politics in almost every European country – for example, the leftists who want to unshackle spending and the rightists who are rather nationalistic even toward other Europeans, to say nothing of non-Europeans.
There is the powder-keg of the unemployed – and especially unemployed youth. This doesn’t disappear with the coming (trust them, it is coming) economic recovery. For life there will be at least one generation permanently behind on, if not excluded from, the upwardly moving ladder. There is the powder-keg of the Euro itself, and further the issue of regional governments vs. national governments and national governments vs. Brussels – in other words, decentralized political power vs. consolidation.
The purpose of this post is not to make some statement for or against any of these powder-keg inducing issues; only to note them. Now throw into the mix this refugee situation.
So if the objective is something more than chaos, it could be an objective in the United States to weaken one major potential competitor on the global stage – to keep that potential competitor weakened. According to Jacques Barzun, Europe assured this end with its calamitous Great War. I guess it just takes a long time for a four-hundred (or sixteen-hundred) year old culture to die once it has received the death-blow; it apparently even requires a few more stabs at the dying body.
Second, the global hegemon, encircling the Eurasian landmass, via introduced chaos around the edges looks to create opportunities for destabilization within the landmass and opportunities for further intervention on the fringes of the landmass. This is evident not only in the MENA region, but also Afghanistan and Pakistan. In other words, out of chaos on the fringes comes chaos for those who currently control the landmass (basically Russia and China).
But maybe the story is nothing so dramatic. All of this could be, as I have recently speculated, nothing more than different factions in the gargantuan bureaucratic machine known as the US government each running their own private gangs for their own private agendas – all under the legitimacy offered by a GS pay grade.
Maybe it does all fit together – the death of the west and the uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) numerous publicly-funded yet private war-making machines within the bureaucracy of the United States. Death by gluttony (of a type). After all, the death of the west and western culture will not limit itself to the eastern side of the Atlantic.
So, why the title of this post: “The Judgement of History”? From the aforementioned piece by AEP, he cites Peter Sutherland, the UN's special envoy for migrants and refugees: "Historians will judge us very harshly when this is over."
Maybe, but maybe not for the right reasons. It depends on who writes the history. We see from AEP and the New York Times that the “proper” history is already being shaped. But a few hundred years from now?
The United States Empire overextended its military reach in an attempt to secure broader markets and exert control over all regions of the globe and even outer space. In this, it spent its wealth on military adventure and regularly debased its currency. Eventually, the government could not continue to deliver the promised bread and circuses; discontent grew within the center of the empire.
For these reasons, like Rome, the United States eventually died due to the apathy of its citizens.