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The European Immigration Crisis
Billions for Tribute, But Not One Cent for Defense
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  • Pete

    Say, what happens if Trump wins in November and then makes Europe start to pay for its fair share of NATO.

    My, my, my.

    • Angel Martin

      then the EU will surrender to Putin

      • f1b0nacc1

        I wish them the joy of their choice. I doubt they will find Putin a more amenable master.

        • Angel Martin

          for the euros, anything is preferable to war, even muslim rule.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Then they are welcome to it….to paraphrase Bismark, they are not worth the bones of a single American grenadier.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Hopefully Trump will win in November and terminate NATO by withdrawing from it, leaving it an empty shell. The time has come to wish the EUnicks well, then leave them to their own devices.

  • http://ottens.co.uk/nick/ Nick Ottens

    I don’t understand the argument here. You’re suggesting that more bombing would lead to fewer refugees? How does that work? When it’s the wars they’re fleeing? Haven’t we just seen in Libya that dropping a few bombs it not in itself going to solve these problems?

    If you’re serious about this, you’re going to have to advocate a long-term, full-fledged security and reconstruction effort that is going to take years and a lot of money. And even then success is clearly not guaranteed.

    I imagine European leaders understand that quite well. And they also understand that on top of all the challenges inherent in what I just described, they would have an extremely wary electorate at home to take into account.

    So please don’t pretend as though there’s some simple, military solution here and the only reason Europe isn’t doing it is because they’re oh so afraid to do war. That’s lazy analysis and not helping anyone.

    • Gene

      No one is pretending there’s some “simple military solution.” The point is that SOME bad situations require the application of organized violence to prevent even worse situations, but apparently we’ve decided that from now on we won’t intervene anywhere, any time, for any reason. (The Europeans can’t and the Americans won’t.) Yes, a hands-off policy would be dramatically cheaper and won’t cost any western military lives. It will probably work pretty well–as long as we can somehow contain the carnage in someone else’s country, that is–until it doesn’t.

      I don’t really disagree with you but this idea–which is gaining currency–that we’ll never have to fight again is a lazy analysis too. Forever is a long damn time.

      • http://ottens.co.uk/nick/ Nick Ottens

        Oh, sure, and that’s not what I’m saying. I’m just questioning the idea that “dropping bombs” is going to do much good here.

        Also, as for “we won’t intervene”, I think that’s a little overstated. Western countries are currently arming and supplying Kurdish and other fighters in Syria, the government forces in Iraq — both against ISIS. European countries and the United States have troops all over the world involved in peacekeeping operations, including Mali, Chad, the Central African Republic. We have anti-piracy efforts ongoing in the Gulf of Somalia, anti-smuggling naval operations in the Mediterranean…

        You have a point on the sentiment. Especially in Western Europe, there’s a lot of popular resistance to the mere idea of military action. But that doesn’t correspond entirely with the reality.

    • Angel Martin

      “…the only reason Europe isn’t doing it is because they’re oh so afraid to do war. ”

      that is exactly what their problem is.

      wealthy country + unwilling to defend itself = going to be invaded and occupied.

    • Frank Natoli

      So please don’t pretend as though there’s some simple, military solution here and the only reason Europe isn’t doing it is because they’re oh so afraid to do war. That’s lazy analysis and not helping anyone.
      You were intentionally demonstrating the dictionary meaning of “glib”? Or it was it unintentional?
      If the military solution was “complex” instead of “simple”, would that be of interest to you? I doubt it.
      There are violent forces at work throughout the Middle East and North Africa that Europe, and for that matter America under Barack Hussein Obama, has abdicated all responsibility for controlling. Had those violent forces, e.g., ISIS, been strangled in the crib by vastly superior Western military forces, then millions of people would not be fleeing the areas.
      But that’s not what happened due, in no small part, to people who think and write and vote like you.

      • http://ottens.co.uk/nick/ Nick Ottens

        Kudos for the nuanced response! And my apologies on behalf of all the cowards of the world.

        • Frank Natoli

          George Orwell, who knew something about violence, take a look at his “Homage to Catalonia”, once wrote “to abjure violence, it is necessary to have never experienced it”.
          Although I have never experienced violence, my WW2 combat infantryman father, and my Belgian mother, who survived four years of the Nazi occupation of her homeland, most certainly did, and over time they told me everything that happened to them.
          What did your parents teach you?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Likely that ‘everyone gets a trophy’

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This is why the Nationalists are skyrocketing in power all across Europe. They almost took the figure head position (President) in Austria this week. The mostly Leftist Establishment political elites of the Western World are the most incompetent, ignorant, and corrupt in many generations, and their days are numbered.

  • Beauceron

    I am coming to the conclusion that the immigration problem in the EU and US (yes, the US has as big, and maybe even worse problem than the EU) is a continuing problem because the elites WANT it to happen.

    I know that sounds conspiratorial, but I can think of no rational reason for their actions. Migrants are NOT that difficult to stop. You can arrest and detain them, you can charge any business who hires an illegal and jail the CEOs too. You can get the military involved. You can refuse to spend any capital on them. Once migrants find out the only thing they will get when they at their destination is arrested and returned, and that there is no prospect of employment or hand outs waiting, they will stop coming. What the EU in particular has done is basically act like a magnet. Everyone is welcomed, the money flows, free housing is provided, jobs are promised. Of course millions more are coming.

    Our elites believe they are remaking our societies and cultures– and we will all be remade whether we like it or not.

    Our elites are either idiots or they’re evil.

    I am not sure which.

    • http://ottens.co.uk/nick/ Nick Ottens

      “I know that sounds conspiratorial, but I can think of no rational reason for their actions.” — Then try harder.

      Most people aren’t idiots. Most people aren’t evil. That should never be your default assumption.

      Half of what you’re saying is false, which I’m sorry to say means you’re ill-informed. There is no “free money” waiting for migrants anywhere I know. Stopping migrants actually IS difficult when you have a lot of coast to cover in both the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. And when you have governments in border states like Italy and Greece which haven’t always been living up to their commitments to patrol the border.

      That said, NATO countries have deployed navy ships in the Mediterranean to intercept smugglers and that’s working. There’s Frontex personnel in Greece now (after the Greeks refused to admit them for many months) and processing centers are set up there. And there’s that deal with Turkey (although there’s plenty to criticize there). That’s also slowed the flow of people coming in from the southeast.

      Bottom line: the world isn’t simple. Some things ARE hard and they take time. Don’t jump to conclusions and imagine there’s something nefarious going on because something doesn’t make sense to you at first. Do some research. Read up, and you’ll find that most of the time there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation.

      Good luck.

      • Beauceron

        Oh, dear, I suspect this will be exhausting.

        “That should never be your default assumption.”

        Thanks for the trite pop philosophy lecture, Nick. But of course it wasn’t my “default assumption.” A blunt admission like “I am coming to the conclusion” would cue in even those with only mildly decent reading comprehension there was no default set on the opinion expressed, even if they disagreed with it.

        “Half of what you’re saying is false, which I’m sorry to say means you’re ill-informed.”

        We’re going to go through these one by one, Nick. Here’s a dunce cap. Place it firmly on your head and I shall begin the lecture.

        “There is no “free money” waiting for migrants anywhere I know.”

        I think you’ve established how little you know all over this thread, Nick. But just a few examples:

        In Sweden refugees get up to 225 euros a month per adult, with up to 159 euros per month for minors. Once they get housing they get an allowance of 37 euros per month for someone who is single and 89 euros if they have a family.

        In Germany adults get 143 euros per month for personal needs.

        In France, refugees already receiving public housing also receive a monthly allowance that varies between €91 and €718 according to the family situation and the facilities provided.

        Nearly all European countries provide a “daily allowance” or stipend money to refugees. But there are also housing costs and costs to cloth and feed and educate. Most also try and arrange for employment. See EurActiv’s story “Aid to refugees: How do European countries compare?”

        “Stopping migrants actually IS difficult when you have a lot of coast to cover in both the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. And when you have governments in border states like Italy and Greece which haven’t always been living up to their commitments to patrol the border.”

        They are not coming over in stealth watercraft, Nick. They are coming on well known routes, in shoddy craft usually packed to overflowing. If you are seriously going to try and argue the problem has been the EU’s inability to find the dang buggers, well, Nick, you’re even dumber than I thought– and you seem pretty stupid. You have advanced militaries and intelligence services. Heck, Germany has actually flown in some refugees direct from Lebanon. Mediterranean countries, aided by other EU countries, can stop the refugees at sea. That is not the problem.This is not primarily about interdiction at sea, it’s about setting policies that dissuade refugees from heading there in the first place and removing them quickly when the do arrive. Destination countries need to stiffen their policies so they don’t set out in the first place.

        “That said, NATO countries have deployed navy ships in the Mediterranean to intercept smugglers and that’s working.

        So you do agree they can in fact stop them at sea. Say one thing, contradict yourself in the next paragraph and hope no one notices. Not a good strategy.

        “And there’s that deal with Turkey (although there’s plenty to criticize there)”

        So much so that even you can’t gloss over it. I’ll give you a pass on that, Nick. It’s too easy. Besides, it hasn’t really been a deal at all. More of a shakedown.

        “Bottom line: the world isn’t simple. Some things ARE hard and they take time. Don’t jump to conclusions and imagine there’s something nefarious going on because something doesn’t make sense to you at first. Do some research. Read up, and you’ll find that most of the time there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation.”

        Oh, dear. Another dose of saccharine pop philosophy. And a butterfly flaps its wings, Nick. Peel the layers of the onion for me. Crikey. Listen to yourself.

        I don’t mind ignorance, Nick. But crass stupidity veiled in smug, self-satisfied cliches used to prop up your own poorly informed cookie-cut opinions while you insist others are ill informed is pretty annoying.

        Thus endeth the lessen. No charge You can keep the cap.

        • http://ottens.co.uk/nick/ Nick Ottens

          Why does this need to come with all the insults? Why is it so hard to have a normal, reasonable discussion?

          Look, you start off the discussion by saying those who don’t see things your way must be idiots or evil. You’re setting a tone there, so don’t be so shocked that you get a little pushback.

          I’m glad you’re better informed than your first comment suggested, though. But your point-of-view is rather one-sided, as I see it, and I think you’re oversimplifying the situation.

          The “free money” you’re referring to is typically conditional and the welfare migrants can receive is in most countries less than for natives. Migrants are also often ineligible for all sorts of public provisions, like unemployment insurance. This is why I challenge your notion that they come to Western Europe and are somehow taken care of quite comfortably. That’s not really the case. On the other hand, people aren’t left on the streets to fend for themselves either.

          Now you can make a reasonable argument and say if you come to a country you should take care of yourself, not expect that country to take care of you. That’s fine. But don’t overstate your case and claim there’s all sorts of free stuff waiting for newcomers. The reality is more austere.

          As for intercepting migrants at sea, it’s not an easy thing to do. The Mediterranean is a big area to cover. That said, significant progress has been made through aerial surveillance and the deployment of navy ships. This has all helped slow the influx. I’m not sure we really disagree here, it rather seems you’re reading too much into my comment. (As evidenced by your “gotcha” where you think I contradicted myself…)

          All I’m saying is you can’t just bring this to a halt from one day to the next for the simple reason that it’s a large area and you have limited resources. Hence my claim that this is not “easy”. Honestly — I don’t see how this is a controversial statement…

          Consider the US-Mexico border as an another example, if you will. Even with all the will and manpower in the world, it’s hard to control such a long border and people will inevitably get through.

          • Beauceron

            “Why does this need to come with all the insults? Why is it so hard to have a normal, reasonable discussion?”

            You started this with your condescending post. You got backhanded. Don’t complain about it. Change your tone.

            “I’m glad you’re better informed than your first comment suggested”

            Oh, how gracious. What a pompous, hollow fellow you must be in real life.

            “The “free money” you’re referring to is typically conditional and the
            welfare migrants can receive is in most countries less than for natives.
            Migrants are also often ineligible for all sorts of public provisions,
            like unemployment insurance. This is why I challenge your notion that
            they come to Western Europe and are somehow taken care of quite
            comfortably. That’s not really the case. On the other hand, people
            aren’t left on the streets to fend for themselves either.”

            “So you’ve quickly backpedaled from “There is no “free money” waiting for migrants anywhere I know.” to essentially arguing “There is money, but it’s less money than natives get.” It’s the native’s money, its from their taxes. Non-citizens should not be paid a dime. And I never said anything about being “taken care of quite comfortably.” I said it was enough to attract migrants– a fact that should at this point be self-evident to anyone with even a modest degree of intelligence and situational awareness. Most of the migrants are not fleeing war or oppression. They are economic migrants.

            “Now you can make a reasonable argument and say if you come to a country
            you should take care of yourself, not expect that country to take care
            of you. That’s fine. But don’t overstate your case and claim there’s all
            sorts of free stuff waiting for newcomers. The reality is more austere.”

            Caught in a cheap and easily falsifiable series of lies, you’re now retreating to reductio ad absurdum arguments. I of course never said they were placed in the lap of luxury. But they are better off, once accepted, than where they came from. They will get stipends, clothing, food, housing. That it isn’t great housing, or 5 star food, or even a livable wage stipend is not the argument.

            “As for intercepting migrants at sea, it’s not an easy thing to do. The
            Mediterranean is a big area to cover. That said, significant progress
            has been made through aerial surveillance and the deployment of navy
            ships. This has all helped slow the influx. I’m not sure we really
            disagree here, it rather seems you’re reading too much into my comment.
            (As evidenced by your “gotcha” where you think I contradicted myself…)”

            Well, you DID contradict yourself. It took a year to start using military and intelligence means readily available to them. That should have taken at most a month, not a year.

            “Consider the US-Mexico border as an another example, if you will. Even
            with all the will and manpower in the world, it’s hard to control such a
            long border and people will inevitably get through.”

            The US-Mexico border is an excellent illustration of my point. Our migrant problem is far worse that Europe’s and has gone on far longer. We have not put much will or manpower behind interdiction. Indeed we have installed paths and water resources to ease the trip. Most of those we catch are released and not returned. Indeed, we are actually flying in illegal Cuban immigrants from Costa Rica to the US. It’s madness. But the same point plays here. We need to start prosecuting companies and people that hire illegals, we need to stop providing benefits to non-citizens, we need to stop offering amnesty to people who broke the law to be here. That is what will stop illegal immigration. We can do that, we are afraid to. We lack the will, not the ability.

          • http://ottens.co.uk/nick/ Nick Ottens

            Are you interested in a discussion from which either of us could actually learn anything? Or do you just want a liberal bogeyman to argue with and feel better about yourself?

            If you’re trying to convince people and they recognize you might have a point, you don’t go around dancing saying, “See! See! He was wrong! I was right!” That only makes them less willing to engage and take your points seriously, because you turn it into a matter of pride.

            Example: I accept your point about “free” money being there for migrants, I was too quick to dismiss that out of hand, but instead of showing some grace you need to rub it in.

            Does it make you feel superior? To me, it only confirms that debating with people in comments sections is pointless…

            I replied to you in the first place because I think it’s unhealthy for our countries if people think politicians are idiots or deliberately leading us the wrong way. I was hoping I could get you to think twice about that and look for a different explanation.

            Instead, what I get is a barrage of insults and zero self-reflection from you.

            That’s not normal behavior. It’s not — I hope — how you would interact with me in real life. Is it? Or would you treat everybody who disagrees with you in this way?

            I’m not going to find out. This whole exchange only depresses me, so I give up. You win. Enjoy it.

          • Beauceron

            “Are you interested in a discussion from which either of us could
            actually learn anything? Or do you just want a liberal bogeyman to argue
            with and feel better about yourself?”

            What, Nick, do you have to offer? You have brought nothing to the table so far but the very same platitudes I can get from just about every mainstream publication out there. It’s a meager meal to begin with, re-served cold it’s particularly unappetizing.

            You came on here arrogantly tossing out insults with the assumption you knew more and were smarter than everyone else. Now you’re complaining about pushback?

            “Example: I accept your point about “free” money being there for
            migrants, I was too quick to dismiss that out of hand, but instead of
            showing some grace you need to rub it in.”

            But you didn’t do that, Nick. Instead of admitting you were incorrect you doubled down and tried to play that I was arguing migrants were set up in mansions. And you’re actually surprised I threw some elbows your way?

            “That’s not normal behavior. It’s not — I hope — how you would interact
            with me in real life. Is it? Or would you treat everybody who disagrees
            with you in this way?”

            I might just walk away. I might argue with you. But I and many others Ihave had it with the empty, hollow talking heads. You strike me as the sort of guy who spends an awful lot of time talking with people you agree with, and are dumbstruck and hurt when you find people who challenge your narrative– and are willing to do so aggressively.

          • Jim__L

            Nick, you were being pompous and condescending. Admit it, apologize, and we can move on.

            Changing your icon might help too — it adds to the condescending impression.

      • ljgude

        Well, here is Australia there is plenty of welfare and housing support for migrants. And Australia, despite it’s long coastline has successfully enforced a no boats policy and regained control of illegal immigration. Many people were dying under the previous government when the boats were coming in great numbers is circumstances similar to those in the Mediterranean – overloaded people smuggling operations. The no boats policy has been such a clear success that Australia has been able to accept refugees in an orderly fashion. Both our major parties now support the no boats policy but it will be interesting to see if the policy actually holds if the opposition wins on July 2nd. When we changed Prime Ministers from Tony Abbott – the man who inaugurated the no boats policy – to Malcolm Turnbull about 6 months ago the people smuggling boats immediately started out for Australia until the new PM made it perfectly clear that the policy stood. Circumstances differ from one situation to another but the problem is solvable.

    • CosmotKat

      They are both.

  • Fat_Man

    NATO is dead. That is the situation revealed by the behavior of its members. The Germans would clearly rather let Putin have his way than bother to defend themselves. It is of a piece with their desire to turn their country over to the barbarian hordes of the
    Middle East.

    It pains me that Trump agrees with me. But, a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while. And, I have been making this point for a couple of years now.

    Here is the evidence from TAI’s own mouth:

    “Countdown to the NATO Summit:Partial Answers to the Russia Question” by Andrew A. Michta on May 24, 2016
    http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/05/24/partial-answers-to-the-russia-question/

    “Other than the United States’ commitment of $3.4 billion in new funding to shore up its presence in Europe, improvements in European military readiness have been incremental at best, and for the most part negligible. There has been some increase in defense spending since then (most of it occurring in the frontier states), but the agreement reached two years ago at Wales whereby the allies committed to maintain defense spending at 2 percent of GDP has been largely unmet. As 2015 came to a close only four of the European allies had reached the 2 percent target. Likewise, NATO has yet to fully deliver on the decision made at Wales to stand up a NATO spear force (VJTF) of 5,000 troops ready to deploy on short notice. Recently two senior NATO generals admitted that in a crisis the VJTF could not be deployed when needed.

    * * *

    “Ten years ago the European allies provided about half of NATO’s military capabilities; today their contribution reaches barely 25
    percent of the total, with the United States providing 70 percent of all the defense spending. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, spends only 1.1 percent of its GDP on defense. Reportedly, plans announced by Germany’s Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to buy an additional hundred Leopard 2 tanks have been shelved, and the purchase of the TLVS air and missile defense system has been deferred. While Berlin plans to increase defense spending from 34.3 billion euros to 39.2 billion euros by 2020, half of this year’s 1.7-billion-euro increase will go to pay raises and personnel costs. To put matters in perspective, at the end of the Cold War the Bundeswehr had 600,000 personnel; today that number is set at 177,000. Von der Leyen announced the first increase of military personnel since the Cold War by 14,300 over the next seven years, with the near-term target of a mere 7,000 officers and men.

    * * *

    “The German story is unfortunately typical of what has been happening across the continent, whereby dire warnings of Russia’s aggressive intentions are met with half-hearted commitments and underinvestment in capabilities. The NATO frontier states are doing better overall: Estonia and Poland are at 2 percent of GDP on defense, and Lithuania has reintroduced conscription.

    The US has no real alternative but to dissolve NATO and start from scratch.

  • Jim__L

    Oh, for heaven’s sake. Yes, Talleyrand was all for shaking down American ambassadors. But that is NOT where the “not a penny for tribute” comment comes from.

    It’s a reference to the Barbary Pirates, who would demand tribute from all nations, to secure peace treaties and freedom of the seas in their waters. (Part of this tribute was in ships that the pirates used to prey upon other nations, as they had trouble with shipbuilding themselves.)

    The Marines were dropped off at the Shores of Tripoli, and that was that.

    Sometime in the next decade, if not sooner, we’re going to have a resurgence of hawkishness in this country. Now’s not a bad time to start investing in Defense Contractor stocks, while they’re a bargain.

    • f1b0nacc1

      I should point out that when the next round of hawkishness comes around, we may not be in the mood to use the sort of surgical delicacy that we have employed in the past. Things will be much, much uglier….

  • CosmotKat

    What makes you think that the United States under Barack Obama is not paying it’s share of tribute? It seems to me the JCPOA is nothing more than spineless capitulation and the payment of tribute dressed up as progress while we handcuff our military.

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