Another brick in the wall: Border fences symptomatic of economic dysfunction
The Hungarians are following a millennium or two of established
government practice. The Great Wall of China helped preclude
raiders from the Eurasian steppe after 700 BC. More “recently” in
122 AD, the Roman Empire protected its northern borders with
Hadrian’s Wall across northern England: a multi-purpose
development with regular gates enabling secure access and
organized customs posts.
Even more recently, the self-declared nation of Liberland has been proposed by some idealistic libertarian souls between Serbia and Croatia along a disputed section of the River Danube.
The essence of the nation state remains one that can protect its
borders, allowing citizens to flourish safely within. Right now,
an enormous outpouring of refugee mobility is being driven by
multiple failing states. Apart from the aftermaths of world wars,
unprecedented numbers are seeking opportunity and safety within
nations perceived as encouraging universal prosperity.
Failing states have abandoned their obligations to govern equally, inducing citizens to flee. Destination (and transit) states are being pushed into an untenable position. The “rich” world, at a time of relative economic weakness, is being overwhelmed. The migrants themselves are exploited and often murdered at the hands of organized crime groups. Ironically, the criminals are indirectly subsidized by western governments’ ill-considered approaches to refugees.
EU laws are based on the original tenets of the Cold War. The “anti-fascist protection barrier” provoked Churchill’s apt idiom: the “Iron Curtain.” At a time of clear ideological difference, the East lost with imperfect ideology. Communism’s legacy, at vast cost to humanity, is a rich seam of data proving it has never succeeded anywhere. Escaping a dismal life, often blighted by lack of sufficient food, Soviet refugees were broadly welcomed in the west.
When Soviet resources finally ran out, the Berlin Wall collapsed. Western nations created a mutually beneficial framework to kick-start mercantile economic life, generating economic growth which would have appeared impossible in 1988 before Communism collapse.
Now the situation is clearly different. Failing states, even the recently manipulated Clinton-Blair gerrymander of Kosovo, have no compunction about relieving stress on their dysfunctional domains by enabling mass flight – some 20,000 per month from amongst Kosovo’s 1.8 million citizens this year alone (‘Would the last person in Pristina please remember to switch the lights out?’ seems an appropriate message in 2015).
In this respect, the current international wall building vogue is one of simple economic-political gravity. A broad trans-Atlantic consensus from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the Brussels Berlaymont subscribes to the “Magic Money Tree” fallacy... whose vogue in Europe has marked a significant period of relative economic decline.
“Magic Money Tree” economies providing significant benefits to refugees predicated on supporting a trickle escaping dictatorship, is not sustainable when facing a deluge of those “free to flee.”
“Open arms” policies do not merely endanger western economic equilibrium; the EU is effectively subsidizing vile criminals exploiting human misery by promising unsustainable riches while enriching themselves via vast people smuggling charges.
Somewhat counter-intuitively to core human compassion, segregation walls may not be such a bad idea. However, a “tough love” approach that restricts economic migrants at a time when Europe’s social economy is already unsustainable can only be part of the solution. Lost amid a welter of confused analysis is the core reason why the 2011 Middle Eastern tumult erupted: the failure of upward mobility. Tunisian merchant Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in December 2010, was driven by utter frustration at the kleptocratic nature of the anti-mercantile “blob.” The west must encourage change that enables every citizen to enjoy the fruits of aspirational trade.
Building fences is a logical solution to protect nations which have delivered prosperity through social mobility. Rather than promoting arbitrary regime change, the rich world must engage wholeheartedly in encouraging emerging nations to accelerate investment in universal education, delivering a stable business friendly climate so that merchants like the martyred Mohamed Bouazizi, can stay home, feed their families and build prosperity rather than being driven in desperation to spend a relative fortune on ruthless criminal traffickers to reach a rather uncertain future somewhere in the west.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.