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The Middle East conflict is here

September 8, 2015

The Middle East refugee crisis occurring in Europe should provide an abject lesson in what happens when supposedly smart and good people stand by and refuse to confront bad actors.

It’s not as though this hasn’t happened before. When Hitler went on his rampage in the 1930’s and 40s, the world saw a similar result.

In fact, mass migrations are always in response to some sort of catastrophic event.  Sometimes it is the result of conditions over which we have no control, such as the Great Potato Famine in Ireland circa the 1840’s and early 1850s. At that time we didn’t have the scientific knowledge to combat that specific plant disease, so rather than starve people just left. Half a million of them came to America and over the next century or so, another 4.2 million Irish citizens followed their family members and friends to the U.S.

Other times, such as the increases in immigration from Europe during and after both World Wars, there was something the world could have done to fix the cause, but it didn’t.

Just about every country that isn’t located in the Middle East has said “We are tired of war. Let the people in the Middle East take care of their own problems.”

That worked for a short while, but now the war has come to the world, in the form of the current refugee crisis.

People who said fighting a war was too expensive are about to see how expensive not fighting one can get.

Now that the mass outflow of people from the Middle East, mostly Syria at present, is an accomplished reality all the countries impacted are starting to try to limit how many of them can enter their country.

Sorry folks, but it’s a bit late for that.

The U.S. says it will take some  20,000 or 24,000 of them. Considering that it has accepted some 11 million immigrants that have at one time or another illegally crossed the Mexican border or stayed illegally, including some 65,000 unaccompanied minors alone in the last two years, that sounds a bit light.

Indeed, Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley(D) is already calling for the country to accept 65,000 people fleeing the Assad regime and ISIS.

You really can’t blame these people. No one is going to sit around and wait to be shot, beheaded or just starve to death, nor should they. Unlike many of the illegal immigrants  entering through Mexico, these people are literally fleeing for their lives ahead of a violent religious jihad.

But it didn’t need to happen. The world could see all too well where the inter-tribal rivalries, religious extremism and brutal dictators were taking the Middle East, but it thought the problem could just be ignored.

It just never works out that way.  People that tried to point out that the strategy of ignoring this newest war would come home to roost may have been more visionaries than warmongers.

Every one of these refugees left family members and friends in their country. Like the Irish before them, the current escapees will provide a magnet for others to follow in the coming decades.

The question is, what can be done about it now, and what will the effect of procrastination be this time around?

From → op-ed

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