Forging An Illiberal Citizenry, On Purpose

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Less than 400 days before he departs his office, President Barack Obama quietly made his Farewell Address to the nation. At a naturalization ceremony held at the National Archives on December 15, Obama stated “The truth is, being an American is hard.  Being part of a democratic government is hard.  Being a citizen is hard.” Obama made this statement unironically. Without irony because, under Obama, the breadth and depth of American liberties have been diminished, even though the document enumerating these rights was celebrating its 224th anniversary that very day and was housed in that very building. Unbeknownst to the new citizens who had just taken the oath of citizenship, being an American is hard only because Obama and fellow progressives have been busily undermining core liberties.

A tour of the Bill of Rights illuminates the treacherous path new citizens will travel.

First Amendment

New citizens will soon discover their religious convictions will have to accommodate the new definition of marriage between individuals of the same sex. In August 2015, a Colorado appeals court ruled that a baker could not refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple based on his religious belief. The Administration supports same-sex marriage but had no role in the Colorado case. Nevertheless, in October 2015, it did help two Muslim-Americans win a $240,000 settlement after being fired for refusing to deliver alcoholic beverages for religious reasons.

New citizens just missed United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch warning against individuals against making anti-Islamic comments. Lynch later clarified the Department of Justice would prosecuted “deeds not speech,” but still stated the resources of two federal departments would be available if anti-Muslim bullying occurred against schoolchildren.

New citizens should know if they begin working for a news organization that the Administration seized the phone records of journalists in an effort to identify the source of leaked classified information. Later that month, subsequent reporting revealed the Administration had additionally investigated a reporter for similarly relying on leaked classified information and had named him a possible criminal "co-conspirator" for his alleged role in publishing sensitive information.

Similarly, new citizens should know if they begin working for the Administration and make the fateful decision to leak sensitive information or blow the whistle on government wrongdoing, then they may be marked for reprisal. Of the eleven federal cases to prosecute government workers since the passage of the Espionage Act in 1917, ninety-eight years ago, seven have been brought by the Administration.

Second Amendment

New citizens will learn mass shootings are a tragic phenomenon in their new home country, one, however, which the Administration has used to call repeatedly for restrictions on the right to own firearms, despite their ineffectiveness in the instance of the most recent domestic terror attack in San Bernadino or that armed citizens are sometimes capable of preventing mass shootings from occurring in the first place.

Third Amendment

New citizens may settle in cities or towns where local authorities have acquired military equipment for use in law enforcement operations. In August 2014, Americans observed local police confronting protesters in Ferguson, Missouri with military equipment. In such an environment, the sanctity of the citizen’s home diminishes vis-a-vis the writ of local police, whose tactics have become increasingly questionable. The Administration is hardly responsible for this development and has limited authority here, but it has presided over an unprecedented acquisition of firepower for agencies with seemingly little need for it (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?!?) while simultaneously seeking to curtail an individual’s access to arms.

Fourth Amendment

New citizens may well know that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed warrantless monitoring of communications in 2011. The preceding Bush Administration had initiated the program, but Obama permitted its continuation and only ceased after its existence was disclosed. The NSA just ended surveillance of domestic telephone calls on November 30, but the opaque nature of intelligence activities precludes understanding the extent to which American citizens’ private communications may continue to be collected without a warrant. Indeed, continued aggressive surveillance has reportedly resulted in the collection of U.S. lawmakers’ communications.

Fifth Amendment

New citizens may never need to invoke the right against self-incrimination but may be surprised (or not) to learn five Administration officials have pleaded the Fifth. Rarely does an Administration pass without an instance of corruption and in three of these five occasions, the matter was only the misuse of government funds. However, in the other two instances, officials from the “most transparent” Administration in history refused to answer Congressional inquiries in regard to one, a bizarre operation to transfer trackable weapons to Mexican drug cartels, and two, the more notorious harassment of conservative political groups by the Internal Revenue Service.

Sixth and Eighth Amendment

New citizens should be wary if they decide to self-produce videos for distribution online. Following an outbreak of protests across the Middle East in September 2012, Obama and other senior Administration officials named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and his anti-Islamic video as the cause; more pointedly, they named him and the video as the catalyst for the allegedly spontaneous attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of the American Ambassador to Libya. Federal authorities arrested Nakoula shortly thereafter and held him in jail without bail for violating his probation related to a fraud conviction. Federal authorities held Nakoula for over a year and never brought charges relating to the video’s production.

Anwar al-Awlaki underscores the Administration’s disregard for the right to a trial, much less a speedy one.

Al-Awlaki was an American citizen and Islamic scholar who became a leader of the Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. In 2010, the Department of Justice concluded the Constitution did not prohibit killing an American citizen who had planned terrorist attacks against the United States. Subsequent covert American military operations began pursuing Awlaki and, in September 2011, succeeded in killing him with a drone strike. Striking Al-Awlaki in retaliation for terrorist acts taken under his auspices may have been justified, but two weeks later, another American drone strike killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, also an American citizen and only sixteen years old.

The decision to authorize any punitive measures without any form of due process is troubling, much less the recourse to use deadly force.

Moreover, capital punishment is not necessarily cruel and unusual, but purposely using deadly force to avoid the challenges associated with detention is, especially in the instance of a sixteen-year-old American citizen.

Tenth Amendment

Lastly, new citizens may soon learn the Administration has been more than prepared to disregard state rights. In July 2010, the Administration filed suit against the State of Arizona over a law requiring legal immigrants to carry documentation and permitting law enforcement officers to inquire about an individual’s immigration status. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Administration citing the primacy of federal law on immigration matters, but upheld the latter provision. The Administration later complicated this state prerogative by declining to inform governors in 2014 that refugees had been resettled in their states, when tens of thousands of Central American minors arrived en masse.

In November 2015, thirty-one governors announced their opposition to Administration plans to admit Syrian refugees in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France committed in part by individuals who allegedly entered the country as a refugee. The Administration responded by warning states that refusal to accept Syrian refugees would result in suspension or termination from funding for benefits and services. (Hypocritically, the Administration has opposed efforts by Congress to deny federal law enforcement grants to "sanctuary cities,” municipalities that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.)

The Progressive Project

Acknowledged, the above infringements did not begin under Obama, but the continued and conspicuous erosion of core liberties under the most famous community organizer and constitutional law professor to become president promising a “new spirit of patriotism” is just a cruel farce.

Accordingly, a recent CNN/ORC poll found that 75% of Americans say they are “dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed,” and 69% are “at least somewhat angry with the way things are going in the U.S.”, underscoring the comedown from the lofty expectations Obama raised when first elected in 2008.

More noxious are the polls documenting diminished enthusiasm for democracy and conviction in defense of the above rights. According to two American scholars, recent polling indicates that
  1. millennials don’t think it’s essential to live in a democracy (30%);
  2. growing number of young Americans think democracy is a bad way to run the country (just over 20%);
  3. support for illiberal alternatives to democracy is growing especially fast among wealthy Americans (16%); and,
  4. more Americans want the Pentagon to take over (just over 40%).

Indeed, healthy majorities remain in place in favor of democracy, but the self-identification of the young as progressive coincides with the progressive’s self-congratulatory cultivation of the young, especially in the case of Obama.

When the goal is a multicultural coalition that succeeds in winning presidential elections, the result is celebrated as progress.

When the democratic processes, free debate, and compromise required for governance present obstacles or arguments they simply don’t respect, progressives and the young are more than prepared to denounce and punish alleged opponents to progress.

Accordingly, the illiberal reaction is unsurprising, especially when, as previously noted, an age cohort (the young who have minimal experiences on which to draw when evaluating a charismatic cipher) gives its overwhelming support to a cadre of ideologues that have more than ready to denounce American voters and the democratic process.

In this regard, progressives and America’s youthful “snowflake fascists” are made for each other.

Obama infamously denounced conservative voters for bitterly clinging to their First and Second Amendment rights and a member of his administration casually acknowledged implementation of their agendas depended on the “stupidity of the American voter”. Meanwhile, college campuses are in thrall to the progressive trope of multiculturalism and rife with Orwellian disgraces such as free speech zones, safe spaces, speech codes, vigilantism against trigger words and micro-aggressions, and official “bias protocol and response teams.” (Even its vanguard isn’t safe from their historical nihilism.)

Ultimately, the speech and sentiments underscore the continuing progressive bid to “fundamentally transform” America.

American citizens of all origins should be wary.

As with all fantasy ideologies, progressivism -- more properly liberal fascism -- is only content with the creation of “new men”.

Obama and fellow progressives dream of relentlessly political individuals prepared to surrender long-held constitutional liberties for multicultural chimeras.  

Under the rubric of progressive multiculturalism, everyone is unique and, thus, no one is unique; without the recourse to their constitutional rights, then they will then finally be ready for the yoke.

Unsurprisingly, the liberal website hosting the above story about changing attitudes to democracy featured a banner image of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, as if to suggest he exemplified this emerging illiberal impulse. Trump is an undisciplined professional politician, but he does not represent a threat to democracy or civil liberties. Moreover, Trump has been denounced by progressives for his “politically incorrect” remarks and testy relations with the press, but it has been this Administration that has engaged in tortuously contorted doublespeak to avoid saying “Islamic terrorism” and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has been the one politician roping off reporters’ access to her.

Another Kennan Sweepstakes Entry

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On May 2013, President Obama asserted the country must “define the nature and scope of this struggle [against terrorism], or else it will define us.” In that same speech, Obama also stated “the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11.” Obama spoke those words over thirty months ago, but has yet to define exactly what the threat is now or the strategy to combat it, despite the incidence of several major terrorist attacks. Worse, in the aftermath of the November 13th tragedy in Paris, Obama seems incapable of credibly discussing the attack’s perpetrators, the Islamic State. Cruelly, just one day before the Paris attacks, Obama stated “our goal has been first to contain [the Islamic State], and we have contained them.” [Emphasis added] The statement prompted immediate condemnation, but several observers deemed it a generally fair observation because Obama was referring to the group’s conquest of territory. Alternatively, other observers noted ISIS has broken out of its territorial base and has begun operating globally. In the words of American scholar Joshua Landis, Obama used "your grandfather’s notion of containment." The doctrine of containment famously guided generations of American decision-makers during the Cold War, but the collapse of communism and the onset of unipolarity also meant its closure. In its passing, a so-called a “Kennan sweepstakes” commenced, whereupon many attempted, inconclusively, to craft a successor foreign policy doctrine equal to the one authored by American diplomat George F. Kennan. Containment, among other things, imparts the necessity of acquiring allies and encircling the adversary. Unfortunately, leading from behind has been ineffectual and a long war is unsustainable. If the Islamic State cannot be contained, then perhaps the West should insulate itself.

First Things First: Forgo the Westphalia Test

The challenge of identifying a coherent doctrine has been compounded by the the domestic component (i.e. immigration) and the non-state nature of the threat. As post-Paris reporting indicates, “the terrorist ringleader got into EU as ‘refugee’” and the “response to the Islamic State hinges on whether to treat it as a state.”

Whether to treat it as a state?

The November 13 terrorist attack employed different tactics than the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks, but they are essentially the same in that individuals intent on waging war on foreign soil breached the minimal security protocols governing access to the target country.

At its core, the decision to treat the Islamic State as a terrorist network or a state entails a specific application of military force -- short, targeted counterterrorist strikes or long, comprehensive conventional force ground operations. In the former, great care is taken to avoid civilian casualties in the event of a strike; in the latter, substantial effort is placed on the support of the local population during the subsequent occupation.

On this basis, the November 13 terrorist attack are far different from the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in that decision-makers and the public have the intervening fourteen years of experience to evaluate whether either approach is sufficient.

In retrospect, neither have been.

Counterterrorism operations have succeeded in sidelining Al Qaeda, but would be terrorists have simply switched their enthusiasm to the Islamic State.

Conventional ground and counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq overthrew noxious regimes, but cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives for little strategic gain.

It’s the Legitimacy Stupid

Foregoing the focus on statehood and recasting the United States, France, and the Islamic State as generic communities could potentially simplify the matter.

Framing the United States and France as such acknowledges they are simply polities that possess robust state institutions, exercise sovereign authority over the use of violence and the integrity of its borders, and have chosen to allows its inhabitants to elect its leadership. In contrast, the Islamic State is attempting to establish equivalent state institutions and attempting to exercise sovereign authority over the use of violence and the integrity of its borders. (Democratic elections are unlikely...)

The Islamic State’s attempt has been unsuccessful in that it is contending with some inhabitants who continue to wage war against it while others have opted to flee.

The Islamic State’s failure to capture the allegiance of some Syrians is the point of a little noticed theory as to the group’s motivation in attacking Paris.

In British journalist Adam Taylor’s estimation, the Islamic State wants the West to equate the refugees with the terrorists.

Taylor astutely notes all suspects in the Paris attacks appear to have been European citizens and, more importantly, the large numbers of Western citizens traveled to Syria to fight “[suggests] that the problem is not so much those coming from over there but those who are already here”. [Emphasis added] Furthermore, not all of the Western jihadists have familial links to the region and vast number of European Muslims have repeatedly condemned the actions of the Islamic State.

Lastly, and most importantly, “if Muslim refugees come to Europe and are welcomed, it deeply undercuts the Islamic State's legitimacy.”

During the Cold War, Communist polities had the same problem. In response, communist polities simply closed the exits and closely surveilled the population. Moreover, after closing the exits, the scale of the refugee outflow was not great enough to prompt the communist leadership to use violence against them while they were in the Western polities. The communist leaders simply denounced them and then ignored them.

Concomitantly, Western polities accommodated the outflow of dissenters precisely because it delegitimized the Communist polities’ bid for the universal application of its ideology. Western leaders routinely argued the refugees to flee communism proved the ideology was illegitimate.  Furthermore, Western polities could accommodate refugees from communism because the size of the outflow was relatively small, at least in comparison to the current migration from Syria, and the refugees were either culturally or ideologically compatible with the West, or both.

Conversely, Islamic polities do not have the capacity for the same solution - they cannot cut off the exits or surveil the population. (Unlike communist polities, the Islamic State is not yet a police state.)

But as Taylor points out, the scale of outflow is great enough to undermine their bid for legitimacy.

Accordingly, their solution is to strike the receiving polities in order to provoke suspicions between the host polity, which will be somewhat apprehensive about welcoming individuals with very different cultural and ideological outlooks, and the refugees, who will instinctively group with like individuals to survive.

If the difference between Communist polities and Islamic polities rests primarily on the scope and scale of the outgoing flow and the readiness of the Islamic polity to violently aggravate the cultural and ideological incompatibility between the West and the refugees (and containment is not a viable option), then Western polities must be prepared to slow or halt the incoming flow.

The Most Worthwhile Aspects of Containment and Isolation

The Cold War was replete with grim barbed wire-laden physical barriers and standing vigils along a wall. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates once commented, “one Cold War was quite enough.” Moreover, connectivity is the byword of the modern globalized word, and as concisely observed by American strategist Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett, “disconnectivity defines danger.”

Accordingly, neither containment nor isolation are attractive options.

In brief, a doctrine of insulation would be premised on the most worthwhile aspects of containment and isolation, namely the emphasis on bolstering the polity’s moral and political cohesion and applying a “counter-force” where necessary, while concretely minimizing the connections that can be potentially hazardous, such as immigration.

As Kennan had originally posited, counter-force need not necessarily always be military force. Counter-force against the Islamic State will invariably require a Western polity to undertake counterterrorist strikes, but insulation as a defense would focus on increasing the domestic population’s resiliency, not “winning the hearts and minds” of the Islamic polity’s population. The trillions expended counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq would have been better spent improving domestic infrastructure, both its quality and recoverability.

Moreover, the implicit counterinsurgency requirement for a counter-narrative to Islamic extremism ironically highlights a distinct vulnerability within Western polities.

Western polities have embraced multiculturalism, a liberal thesis that espouses tolerance for diversity in all forms, but has the unintended consequence of legitimizing inherently illiberal ideologies like Islamic extremism.

Worse, proponents of multiculturalism are uncompromisingly dogmatic and have retarded political discourse in Western polities, complicating any bid to craft a counter-narrative.

(The comparison of opposition to Muslim immigration to opposition to Jewish emigration in the 1930s is a cruel example of multicultural proponents’ duplicitous logic. Acknowledged, xenophobia during an economic depression played a part, but Muslim refugees are of such a scale that terrorists can embed themselves unnoticed, have historically resisted assimilation in their host countries, and are coming from a country categorized as a terrorist state since 1979. Zionist terrorists were few in the 1930s; the only Zionist terrorists today are those denounced by the same multiculturalists who are cynically using the Jews’ plight then to avoid confronting Islamic extremism today.)

Prior to the Paris attacks, multiculturalism’s most pernicious effects were evident in the readiness to nurture increasingly Balkanized electorates and to curtail free speech, a liberty central to Western democracy.

Multiculturalism only hinders a Western polity’s ability to sustain the aforementioned moral and political cohesion required to confront Islamic extremism. Immigration strengthens a polity, but as American businessman James Charles Bennett has pithily suggested: "democracy, immigration, multiculturalism... pick any two". Otherwise, the democratic character of Western polities, the counter-force fundamentally integral to combating totalitarian Islamic extremism, will be eviscerated.

* * *

In closing, the doctrine of insulation entails enhancing a polity’s resilience and recoverability, establishing enforceable limits on the forms of connectivity that enables Islamic extremism to do harm, and closing the chapter on multiculturalism.

Even if individuals were not fleeting Islamic State en masse and the matter of legitimacy was irrelevant to its leadership, embracing insulation would help Western polities cope with terrorism.

More pointedly, terrorism is not an existential threat; the lack of civilizational resilience and confidence is.

In Canadian commentator Mark Steyn’s speech to the Danish Parliament on the tenth anniversary of the Mohammed cartoons, he quoted George Jonas, an emigre from communist Hungary, “Terrorism's great achievement isn't hijacking jetliners, but hijacking the debate. Successful terrorism persuades the terror-stricken that he's conscience-stricken.”

To paraphrase Kennan, “the issue of relations [with an Islamic polity] is in essence a test of the overall worth of the United States as a nation among nations. To avoid destruction, the United States need only measure up to its own best traditions and prove itself worthy of preservation as a great nation.”

Europe's Coming Harvest of Bare Branches

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In spring 2002, two scholars, Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer, published their research into the potential consequences of sex selection practices. They noted the enforcement of a “one-child” policy has inadvertently permitted the preference for male heirs to result in unhealthy male-to-female ratios. In practice, this societal preference for males will produce a sizable subclass of young males unable to find a wife and start a family; in China, these men are currently known as guang gun-er or "bare branches." Hudson and den Boer then linked in the work of sociologists demonstrating that young adult men with no stake in society are much more prone to attempt to improve their situation through violent and criminal behavior in a strategy of coalitional aggression with other bare branches. Furthermore, they ominously note the responses available to governments can be problematic -- social re-engineering is too costly while repression can unleash instability; accordingly, some countries may seek an outlet by harnessing their aggressive impulses for nationalist ventures abroad. Hudson and den Boer’s research focused on Asian countries, but the findings should induce caution on the part of humanitarian-minded Western decision-makers as they consider accepting refugees from the Middle East. Approximately seven million persons, the population of Serbia, have fled Syria and Iraq over the past four years and the flow has accelerated in the past year. Even worse, the typical Middle Eastern refugee is young, male, and unemployable -- just like Hudson and den Boer’s bare branches. And just like their European counterparts.

The Young Men of Syria

In December 2014, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported the number of people forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution reached 51.2 million -- the highest total recorded since 1945. According to UNHCR figures, more than half of all refugees worldwide came from just three countries: Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. In Iraq and Syria alone, an estimated 13.6 million people have been displaced by the conflicts.

The countries bordering Syria have borne the brunt of the exodus. Turkey has been the number one destination and has received approximately 1.9 million persons; according to UN figures, the majority are less than seventeen years old. Lebanon has taken in 1.1 million refugees, which constitutes almost 25 percent of the country’s 4.4 million native population. Jordan has received approximately 629,000 Syrian refugees, which is in addition to the large number of persons already having arrived from Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan. (Jordan has long been afflicted by refugee flows; nearly half of its population is of Palestinian origin. Accordingly, Jordan has not been exempt from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, experiencing its own civil war in 1970 due to this presence.) Cruelly, Iraq, also afflicted by ISIS and sectarian strife, is the refuge for approximately 249,000 fleeing Syrians. Lastly, Egypt has accepted approximately 132,000 Syrian refugees.

(The inexplicable inexcusable outliers in this disaster? The wealthy Persian Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, which have taken zero refugees; alone among these states, the United Arab Emirates has taken in approximately 250,000.)

An estimated 442,000 (UNHCR, 09/17/15) have taken to overland and seaborne routes in their bid to enter Europe. More specifically, northern and western Europe. Some Syrian refugees are pausing in Serbia and Bulgaria, but most are bypassing nearly bankrupt Greece and the other impoverished Balkan countries -- they yearn for and are heading for the charity and comforts uniquely found in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, and Sweden. Indeed, over 100,000 refugees have submitted applications for asylum in Germany (UNHCR, 09/17/15).

The key difference between the refugee crisis in the Middle East and the one unfolding in Europe -- the divergence in gender. According to the UNHCR, the male-female breakdown of refugees in the Middle East is nearly 50-50; in Europe, the male-female ratio is 69 to 13. (The remaining 18 percent is identified as children).

Acknowledged -- an additional 305,000 males will not upend a political entity of 503 million inhabitants.

However, 358,000 males from Muslim-majority countries breaching hastily erected border controls to settle among European populations coping with economic dislocation and an underachieving millennial generation is a recipe for long-term disaster.

The Young Men of Europe

In Europe, historically, women have been more affected by unemployment than men. In 2000, the unemployment rate for women in the EU-28 was around 10 %, while the rate for men was below 8 %. However, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when rates were at their lowest levels of 6.3% and 7.4%, respectively, the male and female unemployment rates converged.

In 2014, unemployment rates stood at 11.5% for men and at 11.8% for women; in 15 of 28 member states, male unemployment rates were higher than the corresponding rates for women. The gap between male and female unemployment rates varied from -6.5 percentage points in Greece to +3.5 percentage points in Ireland.

Moreover, European youth unemployment rates are generally much higher, even double or more than double, than unemployment rates for all ages. However, the 2008 economic crisis also severely hit the young. Unemployment peaked in 2013 at 23.8% before receding modestly to 21.4% at the end of 2014. Youth unemployment rates were particularly high in a number of countries -- Spain (53.2%), Greece (52.4%), Croatia (45.5%), Italy (42.7%), Cyprus (35.9%) and Portugal (34.7%). (Germany (7.7%) was the only European Union country with a youth unemployment rate below 10%.)

In 2013, the corresponding male unemployment rates were: Spain (26.0%), Greece (24.3%), Croatia (18.4%), Italy (11.6%), Cyprus (16.5%), and Portugal (16.4%).

Unemployed, young European men have had to retreat back into their parents’ homes.

According to the Eurofound (2014), Social Situation of Young People in Europe survey, the proportion of young men living at home with their parents increased. In 2007, 65 percent of 18-24 year-old men and 31 percent of 25-29 year-old men lived at home; in 2011, the percentages had increased to 67 and 34 percent, respectively.

The corresponding cascade of key findings were less encouraging:
  1. Unemployed and inactive young people give a comparatively low rating for their subjective well-being.
  2. Deprivation has increased for young people of all social backgrounds since 2007 in nearly all EU countries, especially for those who are living in extended families with their parents and their own children.
  3. Unemployed and inactive young people are more likely than others to feel socially excluded, to feel lonely, to face a lack of social support, and to have lower levels of mental well-being.
  4. Young people are less likely to trust institutions in 2014 than they did in 2007 – with the exception of the police, whom they trust as much as before.
Lastly, and perhaps most fatefully, young people are more likely than older people to perceive tensions between ethnic or religious groups.
The above figures represent 2011, before the daily footage of migrants surging past overwhelmed border officials.

“the only guarantee against immigrants and popular discontent”

In 1995, Germany was home to approximately 100,000 Vietnamese. In the 1970s, the combination of East German solidarity with its communist brethren in Vietnam and West German mercy on boat people fleeing that same dictatorship resulted in the sizable diaspora. A second smaller wave arrived from Eastern European countries after communism collapsed.

Nonetheless, Germany, newly unified and coping with far-right xenophobia and violence, reversed course and rolled up the welcome mat. In addition to tightening immigration laws, Germany concluded an agreement that year with Vietnam to repatriate approximately 40,000 individuals in the country illegally. In return, Vietnam would receive an approximately $130 million aid package.

According to then Interior Minister Manfred Kanther, the step constituted "the only guarantee against the abuses of uncontrollable movements of immigrants in the future and against popular discontent turning to radical political forces."

In October 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel forthrightly declared the attempts to build a multicultural society had "utterly failed."

Where is this Merkel now?

In the present day, Merkel has inexplicably been at the forefront of a slow and disorganized European Union response, one all too discouragingly reminiscent of its reaction to the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

At the beginning of September, the European Union leadership’s initial response entailed readiness to accept 160,000 refugees and distribute them among the membership. The consequence has been headlines on a daily basis announcing the successive imposition of border controls by member states. Hungary, once alone in attempting to thwart refugees with barriers along its border, has now been joined by Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, and Slovakia.

According to recent reporting, Germany is (again) reversing course; in a 128-page draft law produced by the German Interior Ministry and obtained by The Washington Post, the government would speed asylum procedures, cut cash benefits, hasten deportations, and punish those with false claims and phony paperwork.

As noted previously, public disenchantment with incumbent political parties and institutions is cresting in country after country, According to one analysis, the proportion of the public that trusted the European Union, as high as 52 percent in 2007, has declined to one-third.

Accepting young Muslim male refugees only puts them on a collision course with similarly alienated young European men.

Young Syrian men may be disinclined to stay and fight for the country’s liberation and young European men may have been “thoroughly debellicized” by decades of Western modernity and prosperity, but as Hudson and den Boer’s research indicates, and the tragedies of Anders Breveik and Charlie Hebdo have illustrated, alienated men are fertile ground for radicalization and the readiness to pick up a weapon.

Europe will shudder when would-be Breveiks face off against Charlie Hebdo copycats in the streets of their pristine capitals.


Coping with the crisis, the town of Dachau, near Munich, has resorted to housing migrants in the former herb garden, just across the road from the main grounds of the former concentration camp.

In the first half of 2015, Germany’s interior ministry has counted 202 attacks on refugee shelters, as many as in all of 2014, and the German media has reported dozens more such attacks in July and August.

In a September survey, 46% of East Germans and 36% of West Germans said the high number of refugees arriving in Germany made them afraid.

On September 21, Hungary's parliament granted sweeping new powers to the army and police in an effort to keep migrants and refugees out of the country. The new legislation was passed with overwhelming support and allows the army to take part in border controls, restrict civil liberties and use "coercive weapons designed to cause bodily harm, although in a non-lethal way, unless it cannot be avoided." Non-lethal firearms, rubber bullets, pyrotechnics, tear gas, and net guns are permitted under the legislation. Police will also be able to enter private homes to search for suspected illegal migrants under the new laws. The measures come into effect a week after illegal border crossing was made a crime punishable by up to five years in jail.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned that Europe was being "overrun" in the worst refugee crisis since World War II. “They are overrunning us. They're not just banging on the door, they're breaking the door down on top of us. Our borders are in danger, our way of life built on respect for the law, Hungary and the whole of Europe is in danger."