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The walls are going up across Europe The EU is preparing for a militarised war on immigration

A child on the Greek-Macedonian border (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)


July 31, 2021   6 mins

There is an irony to be discerned in the European Union’s adoption of a series of fantasy bridges as a unifying symbol on its Euro banknotes: in reality, it is walls that are going up across the continent’s eastern approaches, as European politicians brace themselves for the flow of refugees about to make the trek from Afghanistan. After 20 failed years of war, the American pullout from Afghanistan will probably see the Taliban controlling more of the country than it did on 9/11, including the former anti-Taliban heartlands of the Northern Alliance. With a median age of 18.4 — more than 40% of the country’s 30 million population is less than 14 years old — most Afghans have lived their entire lives underneath Washington’s imperial umbrella. 

The country’s Westernised middle classes, centred on Kabul, and ethnic and religious minorities like the Shia Hazara, who played a central role in the 2015 migrant crisis, are unlikely to try their chances under Taliban rule, as long as the door to Europe remains open. Already, Afghans make up 42% of the refugees and migrants living in squalid conditions on Greece’s eastern island camps, perhaps an even larger proportion than they did in 2015 when the large presence of Afghan Hazaras was dramatically underreported in the West, distracted by the Syria crisis, despite Afghans constituting a major portion of the migratory flow, including 2/3rds of Sweden’s 2015 arrivals.

But in any case, the Europe of 2021 is not the Europe of 2015, and Europe’s leaders have no appetite for a return of the political turmoil that followed Merkel’s experiment with open borders. Distracted by Brexit and imported American culture wars, Britain’s remaining pro-EU contingent have neglected to follow the developing consensus on the continent, where the hard line on migration for which Viktor Orbán was lambasted by liberal commentators back in 2015 has now entered the political mainstream. 

When asked whether Germany had a duty to open the country’s doors to Afghan migration, even Merkel herself recently responded that “we cannot solve all of these problems by taking everyone in”. Instead she encouraged, rather unrealistically, a dialogue with the Taliban so “that people can live as peacefully as possible in the country”. In neighbouring Austria, Chancellor Kurz’s centre-right/Green coalition has responded to the surge in arrivals on its eastern borders with the deployment of the army and angry protests that European migration policy has “failed”, with the country’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer complaining that “we have one of the biggest Afghan communities in the whole of Europe,” and that “it cannot be the case that Austria and Germany are solving the Afghanistan problem for the EU.”

The Austrian government has decisively swung towards the Central European approach of hardened borders and expedited returns to countries of origin, with Kurz stressing that he would not halt deportations to Afghanistan, as Sweden and Finland already have, a reflection of a public mood darkened by recent high-profile crimes carried out by Afghan asylum seekers. Like centre-left Denmark, which is accelerating both its return of refugees to Syria and the search, apparently along with the UK, of third-party countries in Africa willing to host refugees and migrants on its behalf, the new mood in Austria is not the result of the populist Right coming to power, but instead of centrist parties adopting solutions that were in 2015 considered the sole preserve of the radical Right.

As in Spain, where the next government is likely to be a coalition between the centre-right PP and the radical right Vox, in Italy a coalition government between the centre-Right and the far-Right looms in the wings. Indeed, Salvini’s Lega is now so outflanked on its Right by the rising power of Georgia Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party, the most popular political party in the country, that it can be considered centre-Right itself, so far has the country’s Overton Window shifted. In France, where Macron has angrily rejected an imported American racial culture war in favour of the country’s homegrown culture war over Islam and the possibility of civil war, the soi-disant liberal saviour from the perceived populist menace has moved so far to the Right that the roughly even chances of a Le Pen victory in the forthcoming presidential election seem almost irrelevant in defining the country’s political trajectory. 

Perhaps it is Greece that highlights best not just the shifting mood in Europe’s external border states, but the shifting mood in Brussels itself. When Erdogan opened Turkey’s land borders with Greece in spring last year, bussing migrants to the border fences in a confrontation that came uncomfortably close to war, Greece’s militarised response unexpectedly won applause rather than censure from the EU hierarchy, as well as the swift dispatch of both Frontex border guards and funds to build an impassable border wall, now being beefed up with EU surveillance zeppelins and drones. Rather than a rerun of the 2015 migrant crisis, when Europe functioned as a ready source of monetary tribute to an embattled Erdogan, last year’s Evros crisis functioned as a dry run for the coming Afghan wave.

After all, when Belarus’s autocrat Lukashenko began funnelling migrants to the Lithuanian border a few weeks ago, Frontex immediately responded with the deployment of border guards, and support for Lithuania’s planned new 550-km border wall — with Estonia even donating 100km of barbed wire to its struggling ally. Once again, the exact same fortification project Orbán was condemned for in 2015 was hurriedly paid for by the EU in 2020, and presented as a heartening symbol of EU solidarity by 2021. From the Baltic to the Aegean, walls are going up across the eastern marches of the European continent, which will soon define the bloc against the huddling masses straining to get in. Even in Turkey, where the secular opposition CHP party has accelerated its demands to return the country’s three million Syrian refugees within two years and made alarmed noises about the increasing flow of Afghan migrants across the Iranian border, the ruling AKP party is constructing concrete border walls to stem the flow from Afghanistan, just as it has constructed a concrete wall all along its borders with Syria, and deploys lethal force against Syrians trying to sneak through.

Turkey has become, indeed, the archetype of Europe’s new border guard states, the model for what will no doubt become a ring of authoritarian states bordering the continent’s southern and eastern fringes, whose rulers will be lavishly bribed to keep migrants and refugees from landing on European shores, a relationship somewhere between clients and blackmailers. Like Erdogan, who quickly learned to deploy migrants as a weapon against Europe whenever he was under pressure, Lukashenko has learned the value of Europe’s desire to keep migrants away while not actively being seen to dirty its own hands with the rough business of border management. 

The Moroccan government was equally quick to learn this lesson, recently waving through thousands of migrants to Spain’s North African foothold of Ceuta after the Spanish government granted asylum to a Western Saharan leader, and receiving a handsome bribe to take them back again. Meanwhile, Europe’s only interest in Libya is which faction can most effectively police migrants, just as its only interest in Tunisia’s ongoing coup will be the maintenance of this summer’s border policing deal. Despite the difficulties raised by American financial sanctions, the EU even appears to be eyeing up Iran as one of the potential host nations for the coming Afghan exodus, a dynamic which, if it takes effect, will surely dramatically affect all other aspects of its difficult diplomatic dance with the country. 

So while handing responsibility for keeping migrants out of Europe to regional states may be domestically easier for EU leaders, particularly those from Northwestern and Nordic countries with Green-tinged parties ideologically committed to pro-migration policies, it also offers neighbouring nations handy weapons to deploy against the bloc for their own geopolitical purposes. The great difficulty for European politics is how to balance these opposing tendencies: it is difficult to think, given the steady rightward drift of European politics, that an Open Borders attitude will win out against the simpler solution of a hands-on European effort to prevent migrants entering the EU. 

The expansion of the EU’s Frontex border agency into a 10,000 strong armed rapid deployment force indicates the direction of travel. Indeed, we are already seeing early manifestations of this approach, both in the pushbacks of migrants in the Aegean by the Greek coastguard with Frontex support, and in the growing legal restrictions on the activity of Western European NGO boats blamed for accelerating the migrant flow. Both were placed with the quiet acquiescence of Brussels, despite the protests of Northern European Green parties.

All this is, of course, a dry run for the almost certainly militarised and exclusionary border policing efforts that will grapple with the vast population movements from Africa and South Asia that will attend the coming decades of climate change. Already, Bangladeshis are the largest single national group making the dangerous crossing from North Africa, and it is not difficult to see a desertifying Sahel or collapsing Lebanon adding new sudden crises for European leaders torn between their desire to maintain allegiance to postwar liberal ideals on asylum and the increasing desire of their voting publics to reject them. The avowedly open, cosmopolitan Europe of the 1990s and 2000s is already dead, and even the lame duck Merkel and her ailing CDU party have abandoned the Wir schaffen das attitude of 2015 in the face of the coming wave. 

The British debate over the Nationality and Borders Bill, insular and self-regarding as all British political debate somehow manages to be, therefore ignores this rapidly shifting European context. In some ways, this must be a relief to a Conservative government that has shown itself incapable of satisfying its core voter base’s demands to stem the flow of irregular migration across the Channel: without any action by the UK itself, the EU will find itself drawn towards a Fortress Europe approach that will, eventually, choke the flow arriving on Kent’s shingle beaches. 

Just as France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin demands a Frontex deployment with aerial surveillance assets along the Channel coast, Priti Patel’s border woes will be solved by European leaders without meaningful British input other than funding analogous to the tribute the EU hands in desperation to Erdogan. The walls are going up across Europe: we will not see them coming down again in our lifetimes.


Aris Roussinos is an UnHerd columnist and a former war reporter.

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Simon Denis
Simon Denis
2 years ago

If this is true, then it’s about time. As others have said, everyone could see the need for this policy, except for the western establishment. Now, again as predicted, they are at last building barriers, but around a far more endangered Europe than would have been the case had they acted sensibly to start with. As for the Overton Window, it is less moving right than at last responding to the real and proportionate anxieties of the European peoples. To the surprise of the privileged, insulated, sneering metro-Left (there is no other form of Left, these days) people have a wish to see their homelands perpetuated, their identities respected and their security sustained. The callow, nihilist, narcissistic, pseudo-cynicism of the “post-modern”, “anti-racist” playground evaporates in contact with the chilly reality it has helped to bring about. I just hope it’s not too late.

Jim le Messurier
Jim le Messurier
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

‘The callow, nihilist, narcissistic, pseudo-cynicism of the “post-modern”, “anti-racist” playground evaporates in contact with the chilly reality it has helped to bring about.’
I wish I had written that!

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

The walls are going up across Europe: we will not see them coming down again in our lifetimes.
And who, apart from EU politicians, didn’t see this coming all the way back in 2015?
Meanwhile, in the US the democrats loudly proclaim that work on Trump’s iniquitous border wall will stop, but both Biden and Harris send clear signals to South American migrants that this is not the time to come to the US.
The most remarkable statistic in this article is: “With a median age of 18.4 — more than 40% of the country’s 30 million population is less than 14 years old â€” most Afghans have lived their entire lives underneath Washington’s imperial umbrella.
That many young people with little or no hope is a human powder keg.
A well-researched and thoughtful article. Good to see Aris Roussinos once again contributing to Unherd.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’m sure the EU machine did see this coming.
Their playbook seems to be to allow (maybe even encourage) a situation to deteriorate in order to increase the justification for “more EU” in the future.
For example, the border crisis has effectively created an embryonic EU army, and the vaccine fiasco has led to calls – by the Commission – to beef up EU vaccination purchasing powers.
The Brussels project will never “waste a good crisis” that might enable it to inch further toward the strategic goal of “ever closer integration”.
The 30,000 employees of the EU machine roll along nicely, while constituent populations – most frequently at the periphery – take the blows.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Barton
Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

If the EU becomes a nationalist entity defending its borders then so what if it gains more powers. Greece can’t defend itself on its own and Turkey is in NATO already. A break up of NATO would be a good thing.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago

If the EU project just stopped at gaining powers around border control, then I would be much less concerned. My point covers a much wider (and increasing) scope of activity.
I don’t know enough about NATO to comment on that 
.

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
2 years ago

If the EU becomes a military power as well as a legalistic one then the world should become extremely worried, every bit as much as with the rise of China militarily.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rob Britton
Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Britton

It would be entirely defensive. Except perhaps for the french, who do their own thing in what’s left of the empire. Far from hostilities with Russia a non aggression pact would be a good idea, even an alliance. China is not a worry.

The people telling you so worry about China, were the people telling you to worry about Iraq.

Stuart Rose
Stuart Rose
2 years ago

Iraq was hardly China. Though more of a reprobate regime, it didn’t have the economic and military power that China has.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Rose

China is on the other side of the world. It’s neither your concern nor your worry. In fact the opposite. The American generals have embraced woke because they believe that they need a population of 500M to combat China. Hence the new found hysteria about white supremacy in the US, something that wasn’t a problem when the US was 90% white. China isn’t a threat to the US, or Europe, it’s a threat to US hegemony. Which isn’t the same thing.

Stuart Rose
Stuart Rose
2 years ago

China is considered a threat by its Asian neighbors, none of whom wish for the U.S. to lower its military profile in the area or convey weakness or hesitation to China.
As for Europe and the U.S. an economically lawless, or law adverse, China is a long-term threat despite the immediate interests of all the companies who profit from trade with China.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago

The response to this shows me why the Anglo sphere is doomed. NATO is not needed anymore, it was set up to oppose the USSR, and the existence of the alliance should have ended after the collapse of the USSR. It’s like having an alliance against the AustroHungarian empire in 1960.

Stay with NATO and NATO ideologies and the future is more of the Ideological ferment driven by the ever increasing hostility to “whiteness” – which is in fact most common in the Anglosphere, pretty much dominates the 5 eyes in fact. The new imperialism of anti whiteness and LGBT+++ is largely driven by English speaking countries.

Non English speaking Europe mostly rejects all that.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago

Fair points about the ideological nonsense that’s rife in the Anglosphere – but the NATO point is incorrect.
NATO might have been ostensibly set up to counter the USSR, but its purpose was always wider than that. Initially it was for maintaining peace in all Europe, and more recently an agent for peace globally. It was the bite that the League of Nations didn’t have.
It still has a purpose today, even if it is far from perfect. But that is to be expected as it is an alliance between sovereign nations, and not some sort of pseudo standing army for Western World.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

The end of the USSR did seem to make the continuation of NATO unnecessary, leaving it as an answer in search of a question. Unfortunately, Putin’s rule of Russia has recreated that question.
And NATO has no ideology.

Last edited 2 years ago by Colin Elliott
A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago

If the EU becomes a nationalist entity defending its borders then so what if it gains more powers

So what? Because the EU doesn’t have the democratic spine to be legitimate. It would be a supranational military force that answers to no people, in the control of unelected EU autocrats.
NATO by contrast is an alliance between a variety of democratic nations with the main purpose of maintaining peace in Europe. It has no authority beyond the authority delegated to it from its independent democratic nations.
There’s a huge difference.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

One wonders how you’d withdraw your forces from an EU army. I imagine it wouldn’t be as easy as leaving NATO.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

I thought nationalism was bad?

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

What a profoundly ignorant – even deranged – comment on the EU by Barton. Hate mongering seems to be his default mode.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

There is something very odd about that “40 percent under 14” figure – it means that 40 percent of the country was not even born when the US went into Afghanistan. It either says that the population has exploded there in a decade and a half, or literally millions of older people are dead in that period, both seemingly unlikely on the face of it.

Last edited 2 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The U.K. saw c. 600,000 deaths in 2019. Sure, Afghanistan has a smaller population (about 60% of UK’s) but far greater opportunities for dying. So several million deaths over a decade seems
 about right
?

Last edited 2 years ago by Jonathan Weil
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

40 percent of 30 million is 12 million, all under 14. If 300000 older people died there per annum since 2006, that’s 4 million dead – a net increase of 8 million over the period, which seems unlikely given the circumstances in Afghanistan.

Last edited 2 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

It’s people having lots of children. And higher death rates in the old. The median age would be higher than 14, probably 20 or so. Not too different from the baby boom generation when the median was mid twenties.

Last edited 2 years ago by Franz Von Peppercorn
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago

Well we can all look forward to the talibani version of the Rolling Stones and Beach Boys then. But bands with kalashnikovs instead of stratocasters. Although on the plus side sourcing the narcotics will not be a problem.

Last edited 2 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Last time round the Taliban were a lot tougher on drug producers and traffickers than the US backed governments who have ruled during the last 20 years.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago

Very true – but one of the reasons why Afghanistan is almost ungovernable. Hard to maintain peace and fight narcotics – when it is every non-fighting person’s livelihood growing the poppy crop.
Trying to get the local economies weaned off of the crop was/is arguably harder than fighting the Taliban.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

That’s not what I understand; they may not tolerate local use, but find the foreign currency useful.

Irene Ve
Irene Ve
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

You are underestimating current population by 10mln, that is where your mistake is.
Population of Afghanistan 2020 – 38.9mln, in 2006 – 26.4mln. Population growth since 2006 is 12.5mln or 32%, so the least possible percentage of 14yo or younger is 32%. If you add/consider deaths in that period (could not get the exact numbers), then 40% of 14yo or younger seems plausible.
The reason is fertility rate: in 2005 it was 7.2, 2010 – 6.5, 2015 – 5.5, etc.

Last edited 2 years ago by Irene Ve
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

In effect what that implies is, the ludicrously high fertility rate from previously in taliban controlled Afghanistan, combined with probably a side effect of the US going into Afghanistan, when child mortality likely suddenly improved dramatically because medical aid was pouring into the country and doctors could move around. That I guess would kind of tie up.

Irene Ve
Irene Ve
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Exactly. It is not just Afghanistan’s problem though. All underdeveloped/failing states show ludicrously high fertility/birth rate (statistics conveniently available at worldometers), which, combined with aid they receive (food, medical etc.), leads to explosive population growth.
Consider also (for a moment let’s forget about immigration issues) what it does to the average IQ of human species – google “countries by IQ.” , compare with population growth data.

Last edited 2 years ago by Irene Ve
Frederick B
Frederick B
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Back in 2015 the Office for National Statistics produced some figures showing birth rates for various populations in England and Wales. Afghan women were way out in front with (to the best of my recollection) around 4.5 children per woman. The comment of the ONS at the time was that, in terms of numbers, the Afghan birth rate in Britain was not significant because the population was so small.
Not so small any more. Another revelation by the ONS, just the other month, was that among foreign born fathers of British born children, Afghans have moved into tenth place.
The government has now caved – as it always does in these cases – to demands to allow Afghans who worked for our military to settle in Britain with their dependants. The Mail had a celebratory piece the other day about one family which has just arrived with six children.
So our misbegotten intervention in Afghanistan, costing heaven knows what in British blood and treasure, leads to yet another rapidly multiplying mass immigration.

Niels Georg Bach
Niels Georg Bach
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

As far as i remember then in Iraq the population. is growing with about 1 million persons a year. There’s no chance that the society can build capacity to take care of these children. It lacks institutions and jobs already.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

Hence more pressure for emigration, as in other countries with similar demographics.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I haven’t checked the figure, but there are several countries in the world with a large proportion of very young people, due to large families and reduced child mortality. It’s not good news.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
2 years ago

Thanks, Aris Roussinos , for yet another great article. Although I see that barbed wire and walls play an essential role, on their own they will not be sufficient. European nations, including the UK, have got to abolish the “pull factor”. There must be more use of temporary right to remain, rather than full asylum. Full citizenship should be earned over a very long period of time. Deportation must be made much more routine and countries penalised for not taking their people back. Countries like the UK are really bad in this respect, especially the lack of clamp-down on illegal employment of illegal immigrants.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

How about welcoming asylum seekers and as you say full citizenship granted after a very long time perhaps 15 years? Meanwhile conscript them into a Pioneer corp set them to work educate them in Western ways. I read somewhere recently that’s 90% plus of Afghans interviewed wanted to live under Sharia law. So we should ditch our multi-cultural approach and vigorously integrate these people. I also note that Saudi Arabia Kuwait and other gulf States don’t take anybody in. Now the Chinese are cosying up to the Taliban they might take them in? I live in the north of England and see the results of cultural enrichment.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
2 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

A Pioneer Corps? There is no chance of that whatsoever, as you surely know. And if 90% want to live under Sharia law, let them go to, or stay in, a country where Sharia law prevails. Namely not in Britain. If Saudi and the Gulf states won’t take in their coreligionists, why should we?

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

To the Afghanis I say, “Go East, young man, go East.”

Chelcie Morris
Chelcie Morris
2 years ago
Reply to  Ron Bo

It’s very naive of you to believe that we can integrate those who want to live under Sharia Law. They want it so why do you think integrating them will stop that want? It will only manifest itself more in our own countries and endanger ourselves.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

Better late than never. We’ve lived long enough under people who are much more concerned with their own image of themselves as “compassionate” in a way their supposedly callous parents were not, instead of addressing themselves to their duty to protect and strengthen their society, which often requires hard, regrettable decisions. A collapsed west is useless to anyone, least of all those suffering under the Taliban.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

This is the Liberal backfire, tolerance to law breaking always gets more lawbreakers, enough to wreck things for the law abiding, maybe wreck the West even..

Lockdown of the West, the closing business but still paying the idled workers through debt in an already debt laden system, may well (I believe it will, by 2024) precipitate a global financial collapse on par with the 1929 one. This will mean billions of migrants wishing to enter the West, and a great many using every tactic to enter the West.

Now that illegal immigrants have been catered to in the multi-millions, a hundred million will be drawn in. The Liberals did this. The suffering this will bring will be unprecedented, like the old days of Rome when vast tribes from the East being pushed out of their traditional lands by invasions from further East, would ask for land to settle under Pax Romana. The Romans sometimes granted this, and several times could not stop these massed migrations into their administered territories when they tried, and it never ended well.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yeh. Or maybe that won’t happen precisely because the ideology of Europe has changed.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Why try to enter the West after it has gone bankrupt ?

David Shipley
David Shipley
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Because these things are relative. If you think the West is bust, try looking at the countries these people are coming from. And funnily enough they don’t seem to find China quite as wonderful as some in the West do.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  David Shipley

No. They don’t go to China because China gives permanent residence to a few hundred non Chinese a year.

Chelcie Morris
Chelcie Morris
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

This same thing happened when the Briton’s asked the Saxon’s to come over to help them fight off the Picts in exchange for land. This encouraged more Saxon’s to migrate over and they eventually took over.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chelcie Morris
Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago

So, walls do work. Who would’ve thought it..

Last edited 2 years ago by Hersch Schneider
Jim le Messurier
Jim le Messurier
2 years ago

So….Trump was right all along?
(metallic voice) does not compute, does not compute…..

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

Walls work better than a moat. I fear we tend to be complacent, thinking of the sea as a barrier, when we of all people should know it’s nothing of the kind; it’s a conduit.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

Great article. I always enjoy Roussinos’ contributions. Always clear-sighted and well-written. He sees the big picture and writes about it fearlessly: that’s basically what I’m looking for in a reporter but people like him have become rare.

Last edited 2 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
2 years ago

They’re building the walls in the wrong places. They need to build them AROUND the countries exporting refugees. The richer and more educated the refugee, the more they should be forced to remain (or returned) in their country of origin. If the very people who are most able to force change, for the better, are allowed to run away, or feel safe that they have a bolt hole when things go pear shaped, then bullies and violence will increasingly win in these desperate countries. Kharzi, and his cronies, for example, should be chained to their desks in Afghanistan, and not allowed to flee. They can then ponder the, grizzly, fate of their predecessors, at the hands of the Taliban as they await the future they corruptly colluded in, pilled high with the bodies of the minions they sacrificed along the way.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
2 years ago

I am sympathetic to the plight of Afghans facing a Taliban takeover. But the answer is for them to resist it. I welcome a harder EU line to combat these vast migratory movements. I do not want to see Europe, including Britain, overwhelmed by immigration. That isn’t “racist”. It’s basic self preservation. If you can get hold of a copy of the prescient “The Camp of the Saints” by French novelist Jean Raspail, do so. It anticipated the “boat people” influx back in the 70s. As well as the Liberal Left death wish in the West.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

I’m no expert on foreign affairs but isn’t that exactly why Western countries like the U.S. should not abandon countries like Afghanistan? Isn’t it better/cheaper/more humane, to directly intervene on behalf of the common citizens of those countries to help them “resist it”, rather than hide in our safe places?

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

Aaah but if we intervene we are imperialists and therefore a target for retribution rather than gratitude. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. I remember on both Syria and Libya we were harshly criticised as ‘enabling genocide’ for NOT intervening. Then when we did.. well you know the narrative by now.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

To what end? The Taliban, and other Islamists, aren’t going anywhere.

Chelcie Morris
Chelcie Morris
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

No, it isn’t better or more humane to inferfere. They are essentially going through a civil war, like every country in Europe did before they became the countries they are today, and it’s through these wars that stability comes. Interfering will only extend this period, essentially putting the whole situation back to zero and once we leave the same thing will start over again, so letting them get on with it is the only thing we can do. It’s cowardly to run and hide and we should be protecting ourselves from these refugees who do just that; they don’t come here to become Europeans but to change Europe to be like the countries they fled from. It’s also telling that most of the refugees are fighting age men between the ages of 15 and 40. Imagine if European men fled enmasse to the Middle East or Asia when Napoleon or Hitler were invading Europe instead of fighting back? It would be a completely different place.

Julia Wallis-Martin
Julia Wallis-Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

Camp of the Saints can be downloaded from Gutenberg.

Aleksandra Kovacevic
Aleksandra Kovacevic
2 years ago

Thank you!

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago

On the one and, you can’t blame “normal” Afghans for not wanting to live in a totalitarian Taliban state. On the other hand, they must fight their battle against it.

Also, why are no Muslim states taking on these refugees?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

If you were a young urban professional with University educated skills in Kabul, would you flee to Uzbekistan or Azerbaijan? What would be the point?

Last edited 2 years ago by Prashant Kotak
benjamin.seg01
benjamin.seg01
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Yeah right, because yuppies with a university degree are the typical refugee?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago
Reply to  benjamin.seg01

It’s mostly those with some sort of means that can attempt to get out. The rest, the poor, are stuck – they have no hope of escape – both from their countries, and the prisons in their minds – old religions plus old societal conventions tying millions up in knots, leading to abject miseries.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  benjamin.seg01

I thought that they were all doctors and nurses.

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
2 years ago

why the cheap shot at Britain? Post-Brexit, with a raft of issues to face, isn’t it understandable that our government is focussed on our own problems? And weren’t the untenable policies of the EU’s open border the main reason we wanted to leave, given that the EU would not allow us to limit the flow? Thank goodness that these measures are happening, and Europe might be saved as a western civilisation.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Diana Durham

The U.K. was in control of its own asylum system in the EU and out. It was also a U.K. decision on its own to allow in the accession Eastern European states access to Britain earlier than necessary under EU law. This was one of the reasons why polish immigration went to Britain and Ireland (which because of the CTA had to do the same) and not Germany.

The UK’s main immigration is non EU anyway and that’s decided by U.K. law.

In any case with people fleeing France for England it’s clear that the EU is harsher than the U.K. on illegals.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

‘it’s clear the EU is harsher on illegals’ – yet Brexit Britain is portrayed as the racist xenophobic uncaring one??

Deborah B
Deborah B
2 years ago

Excellent article, thought provoking and chilling in equal measure. I cannot, however, stop myself thinking about the terrible irony of a world where a significant proportion of humankind cannot and will not live in their native land because it is unbearable. Even the basics of security, healthcare, education, food supply, a simple roof over your head and a shred of hope that the future might be better for your children are absent. Can we imagine that? I cannot. We are so fortunate. However … If I had the gall to suggest that perhaps the UK and other developed nations should roll up their sleeves and actually ‘impose’ those basics on these countries, well, troll me all you like, but that is empire. And everyone knows empire is bad, bad, bad.
Let nations decide for themselves how to run their countries and you westerners, get the hell out with your damn NHS and your roads and hospitals and schools and rule of law.
It doesn’t seem to be working. And there is no answer.

caroline.macafee
caroline.macafee
2 years ago

No, closing the EU borders won’t save the UK from the continuing influx of migrants. The EU is trying to close the stable door, but the horse has already bolted. There are millions of unassimilable young men already in the EU who speak English and aim to reach the UK.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago

The underlying assumption is that the nations employed as ‘buffers’ through the liberal use of blood money – Turkey, Black and Caspian sea steppe nations, various dysfunctional north African Arab states, even Iran – (notwithstanding the mafioso style politics of this horrible game) will all be in effect able to act as huge permanent refugee centers where the refugees live in limbo in squalid slum encampments. I doubt this is realistic. More likely those huge shiftless unintegrated refugee populations will simply destabilise those nations in different ways – they will turn into versions of the nations the refugees escaped from. So all Europe will have gained is a stay of execution.

Last edited 2 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

A bit like drowning people clambering aboard a lifeboat, only to cause it to sink.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Yes. Morocco is a powder keg waiting to be set off.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
2 years ago

“without any action by the UK itself, the EU will find itself drawn towards a Fortress Europe approach that will, eventually, choke the flow arriving on Kent’s shingle beaches”

To be honest, that was always going to be part of the solution. There is only so much we can do to stop this. Hopefully things will get easier for Priti now that this is happening.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

Not necessarily. I suspect that those who leak through the strengthened eastern and southern borders of the EU may be encouraged to leak through the north western border. After all, we’re unusual in not having a national identity register, and comparatively few checks on the various state services and benefits. An attempt to create a ‘hostile environment’ is the target of a campaign to discredit it.

Last edited 2 years ago by Colin Elliott
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

Another thought provoking article be Aris Roussinos.

One of the few who writes like a true reporter rather than just an opinion columnist. Although his opinions are clear.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago

“The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils.”

Long live the great Orban, hero of Europe and successor to the continent’s Cassandra, Enoch Powell:

“We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependents, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant-descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.”

Europe and America were built by us, for us. And no one else can be us.

Jim le Messurier
Jim le Messurier
2 years ago

Excellent article. Aris Roussinos is one of the best writers and commentators around, IMHO.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
2 years ago

Amazing they want to come considering how racist and vile and misogynist we are in the west!

Julia Wallis-Martin
Julia Wallis-Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

An unwelcoming UK is still preferable to the likelihood of being decapitated. If nothing else, at least they are genuine refugees, which isn’t to say the UK should take them and grant them citizenship. We cannot, however, turn our back and leave them to their fate. One solution might be to build concentration camps in the UK. They need not be run as detention centres: rather, they could provide safe, comfortable accommodation, food, education, and above all, hope, not just for Afghans, but for all illegal migrants.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

As I was reading I wondered when the UK would get a mention and there, in the penultimate paragraph it was. Trusting in The English Channel, we were more spectators than participants as the first waves of migrants arrived in Southern Europe.
So, if we can build giant wind farms in the sea, how long before someone points out that metal posts to support barbed wire would be far simpler. Those stretches near ports could have gates, or lowerable sections for shipping.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
2 years ago

“…the new mood in Austria is not the result of the populist Right coming to power, but instead of centrist parties adopting solutions that were in 2015 considered the sole preserve of the radical Right.”
There is a lot further “radical Right” to go than this. And we will. Hold on, it will be a bumpy ride.

Last edited 2 years ago by Terry Needham
Julie Kemp
Julie Kemp
2 years ago

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Too many broad-spectrum absolutists either pushing out one way or another (China, MEast, Africa), or allowing in (US southern border), causes me to favour real blockades between the continents/countries. Cultures can’t freely create in or survive gross physical onslaughts and bureaucratic confusions. They are no help to anyone. Only ineptitude and wide-ranging despair arises. Winter is arising for the northern hem and such mass movements are not healthy in any respect. Asylums of any kind can only go so far and be reasonably provided by a healthy (albeit limited) functioning state organism. Look what happened 30 years ago in many western countries just by cancelling mental health asylums and the social disruptions of all kinds that followed: confused law & order practices, thorough-going cultural dismay, individual travesties and tragedies and mismanaged hamstrung sickness agencies. Now we’ve recently had the American hysteria and revolts and rebellious criminal feasting as the Police are dehumanised and demonitised! High notions of accepting all are fine to intellectually indulge in but meeting such expectations is never really attained – and i don’t see it happening now in this engineered context of covid amidst the de-westernizing political movements that abound around our dear, sorry and much abused Earth. Talk about growing up!

Last edited 2 years ago by Julie Kemp
Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

Wasn’t it Trump? or one of his speech writers, who said to the the Liberals, AOC etc, words to the effect “If you’re so good at running a country, go back and sort out the one you came from. Do a good job then come back here and show us how it’s done.” Typically our liberals chose not to report the second sentence.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago

These Afghanis are pieces of work, aren’t they?

Right now many are begging the US soldiers who were sent to that wasteland to help them get to the US.

They want freedom and we, apparently, need more Uber drivers.

The misguided US soldiers feel a debt to their former translators and scouts. Americans forget that we were over there fighting for THEIR freedom, not OURS. They were helping us help them. THEY owe the debt to all the casualties we suffered.

Which they could repay if they were serious about wanting freedom. But they’re not, at least not for their country.

What would be serious? Going on a Long March through the boonies and setting up a state within a state like Mao and Chou did.

Burrowing into the villages far from the capital and building a guerrilla army like Ho and Giap did.

Hiding in the mountains and conducting hit-and-run raids like Fidel and Che did.

And like the Mujihadeen did against the Russians.

But that’s not for our “freedom-loving” Afghanis.

The Commies and jihadis get men looking to wear down a powerful enemy and take the capital in time.

America gets “allies” looking for a bolt-hole.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
2 years ago

The sad thing about the incomplete evacuation of Afghanistan is that we have failed people who, maybe unaccountably, celebrate our values and can make a huge contribution not only to our own morally tottering civilisation but to the whole world, while holding open the doors to those who have no intention of integrating. If the problem of this gravitational slide of people across the globe were easy to solve, it would have been done already. Most of the ‘crises’ are human-made, not the result of desertification or inundation, so in principle all you would need is to give everyone a patch of land and leave them alone. But it seems no-one with a trigger-finger, whether in the Pentagon or the Taliban, and probably now Beijing, can leave well alone (over to you, psychohistorians). The reality is people will continue to come, but if they bring their home soil with them it should be in a jar, not spread over the ground of the host country. European colonialism was not sustainable, neither will be reverse colonisation.

Last edited 2 years ago by Nicholas Taylor
rick stubbs
rick stubbs
2 years ago

You should not cite Lord Acton when paraphrasing.. “The lights are going out all over Europe and will not be relighted 
”. without attribution. For Acton’s generation this was true but they flickered back on in post WWII in a few places – lest we forget. Obviously, AR takes a cynical view of the center lib/right bourgeois wall building and bribery but can they survive a popular vote otherwise?
Plus one wonders what would Brit Labor do or the French PS or German SPD? And what, pray tell, does the author advocate? Should the US have stayed in AF? Should EU states supported them more actively to make that happen?

Last edited 2 years ago by rick stubbs
Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  rick stubbs

And pray tell, why would he want to cite the Lord Acton for a quote attributed to Sir Edward Grey?