Why Eastern Europe Rejects Refugee Quotas

“We were under the supervision of Moscow once,” recently remarked a prominent member of the Czech parliament. “Now a lot of people have the impression…that the same is happening in Brussels.”

The comment was just one example of a dramatic split in Europe, as the continent becomes increasingly divided over how to deal with the continuing migrant crisis. The largest influx of refugees since the Balkan wars of the 1990s, it has led the European Commission to considering allocating quotas of asylum seekers to each EU state, in order to redistribute 160,000 people who have arrived in Greece, Hungary, and Italy.

Support for accommodating migrants is concentrated in the continent’s western nations, with highly diverse societies and a recent history of support for new arrivals from former colonies. But in the east, former communist countries object to having policies imposed again upon them by others.

“We’re convinced that as countries we should keep control over the number of those we are able to accept and then offer them support,” Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told reporters at a joint press conference with Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.

The countries known as the Visegrad Four feel that distribution of migrants should take place on a voluntary basis. They have also demanded better protection of the borders of the Schengen Area (the zone inside the European Union where travelers move across borders without any passport controls), more defenses against smugglers, and a streamlined process for returning refugees to their country of origin.

The problem is not going away anytime soon. Almost 340,000 migrants and refugees have been spotted at the borders of the European Union since January, according to border agency Frontex, travelling through Hungary and Austria into Germany. With a location adjacent to the Balkan peninsula—itself a gateway to Turkey—and passport-free travel to the rest of Europe, Hungary is particularly attractive to tens of thousands migrants from the Middle East and beyond.

Despite the complaints from Hungary and the rest of the Visegrad Four, the reality is that migrants from poor or conflict-ridden countries in the Middle East use the eastern European nations mostly as transit countries on their way to wealthier states. From the perspective of the eastern countries, this is as it should be: in their eyes, they bear no responsibility for the situation that has led to the migrant crisis in the first place.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico claimed that his country had “absolutely nothing” to do with the destabilized condition in parts of the Middle East. “Have we bombed Libya? Have we liquidated the regime in Iraq? Did we destabilise the situation in Syria? Do we have any relation to these territories? We bear no responsibility for the current situation of these countries. We cannot thus accept somebody making us to take care of people.”

Czech President Milosh Zeman has also blamed the Western invasion in the Middle East for the current refugee crisis in Europe. He said the rise of terrorism in the region had an influence …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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What now? How to deal with the utter collapse of Obama’s Syria-Iraq strategy

Mr. Obama’s policy created a power vacuum in the Middle East that Russian President Vladimir Putin has filled. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Whitewashing the Saudi-Led Coalition’s Crimes in Yemen

The Dutch government has withdrawn its proposed resolution calling for a U.N.-sponsored mission to investigate war crimes in Yemen:

Human rights groups expressed disappointment with the withdrawal of the proposal.

“The question is really what happened — and why is Saudi Arabia simply off the hook for massive bombing affecting civilian life and (that) probably may constitute war crimes?” said Philippe Dam, deputy director for Human Rights Watch in Geneva.

The U.S. briefly expressed support for the Dutch resolution, but it seems that this support was meaningless. In its place there will be a Saudi-sponsored resolution that calls for providing “technical assistance” to the Hadi government, which will then report back on the situation. Nothing could be better designed to ensure that the report on human rights abuses in Yemen will whitewash the Saudi-led coalition’s crimes and cover up for the campaign that is aimed at putting Hadi back in power.

It took just a few days for the Saudis to make a mockery of Samantha Power’s assertion on Sunday that Saudi Arabia’s position on the Human Rights Council was purely a “procedural” one that would have no bearing on “anything the United Nations does on any human rights issue.” The Saudis won’t have to worry about the Hadi government reporting on their crimes, since it has every incentive to deny them or pin them on the government’s opponents. Meanwhile, human rights organizations and journalists will continue to document what the coalition is doing to Yemeni civilians with the Obama administration’s backing.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Front Porch Republic Takes (Upstate) New York

Our friends at Front Porch Republic will be hosting their fifth annual conference, “Sustainable Localism: Sages, Prophets, and Jesters”, this weekend in Geneseo, New York. TAC‘s own Jeremy Beer will be speaking on Booth Tarkington, while panels are held on sustainable localism, Christopher Lasch, and more. New Urbanism icon James Howard Kunstler will deliver the keynote address. Expect Bill Kauffman to have plenty of appreciation for his backyard to pass around.

Here’s the schedule. Interested potential attendees can register here.

Panel 1: Prophets, Sages, and Jesters of Sustainable Localism

Chair: Mark Mitchell

Jason Peters: “The Holy Earth and Liberty Hyde Bailey’s Front Porch Cred”

Jeff Polet: “Laudato Si and Localism”

Jeremy Beer: “Life on Both Sides of the Tracks in Indianapolis: The Non-Intersecting Lives of Booth Tarkington and Oscar Charleston”

Panel 2: The Life, Thought, and Legacy of Christopher Lasch

Chair: Russell Arben Fox

Eric Miller “Putting the Porch in Its Place: Christopher Lasch’s Republican Hope”

Robert Westbrook: “Death and Dying in a Front Porch Republic”

Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn: “At Home with Nostalgia and the Gravity of Sentiment”

Lunch: College Union Patio or Ballroom

Keynote: James Howard Kunstler “Looking for Sustainability in All the Wrong Places”

Panel 3: Urban Design: Buffalo As Representative City

Chair: Jennifer Rogalsky

Catherine Tumber: “Provincial Cities and Spatial Democracy in the Age of Global Warming”

Tim Tielman: Paleo-urban Principles for the Modern Town”

Panel 4: In God’s Country

Chair: Michael Sauter

Bill Kauffman: “Pat and Barber: An Education in Place and Politics”

Abbot Gerard D’Souza: “Monastic Stability: In One Place with God and the Brethren”

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Visible, Invisible

I want to consider some stories I have read recently — juxtapose them to one another. Let’s begin by looking at this story:

Last year I told a gay black male who wrote a story about a gay black male that I didn’t care about race or gender, and the class gasped. Even though I explained that I cared more about what happened to the character and about the elegance of the prose, my comment could have been a signal to erect a guillotine on the campus lawn. Nonetheless, the student thanked me after class. He said, “No one looks at my stories. They just look at me.”

And this post on “microinvalidations”:

Microinvalidations are characterized by communications or environmental cues that exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of certain groups, such as people of color. Color blindness is one of the most frequently delivered microinvalidations toward people of color.

“People are just people; I don’t see color; we’re all just human.” Or “I don’t think of you as Chinese.” Or “We all bleed red when we’re cut.” Or “Character, not color, is what counts with me.”

And then this story:

Academics of color experience an enervating visibility, but it’s not simply that we’re part of a very small minority. We are also a desired minority, at least for appearance’s sake. University life demands that academics of color commodify themselves as symbols of diversity — in fact, as diversity itself, since diversity, in this context, is located entirely in the realm of the symbolic. There’s a wound in the rupture between the diversity manifested in the body of the professor of color and the realities affecting that person’s community or communities. I, for example, am a black professor in the era of mass incarceration of black people through the War on Drugs; I am a Somali American professor in the era of surveillance and drone strikes perpetuated through the War on Terror….

It’s not that we’re too few, nor is it that we suffer survivor guilt for having escaped the fate of so many in our communities. It’s that our visibility is consumed in a way that legitimizes the structures of exclusion.

Skin feeling: to be encountered as a surface.

And finally, Ralph Ellison from Invisible Man, where so much of this discourse begins:

I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.

It’s easy — especially for anyone who discounts racism and the effects of racism as major shapers of the American cultural experience — to throw up one’s hands and say “It’s impossible to win with these people! It’s white people’s fault if they’re visible, it’s white people’s fault if they’re invisible! Heads they win, tails we lose!” Indeed, it’s not just easy, it’s …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Ban These Books, Please

It’s Banned Books Week again. Six years ago, Mitch Muncy wrote what I consider to be the definitive piece on what a content-free swivet Banned Books Week is. Nevertheless, Matthew Schmitz has a fun piece up listing his choices for Seven Books That Should Be Banned. Among them:

Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, etc. by Ayn Rand

Badly written and tendentious, Rand’s books give readers a tidy explanation of matters personal, economic, and political. Her materialist and godless world is also a perverse and cruel one.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Also badly written and tendentious, Coates’s books give readers a tidy explanation of matters personal, economic, and political. His materialist and godless world is also a perverse and cruel one. Excuse me if I seem to repeat myself—it’s hard not to. Coates is quickly becoming the Left’s answer to Rand. Better to stop him before the transformation is complete.

Read the whole thing. Now, before you too go into a swivet, Schmitz is not actually calling on the government to ban these or any books. He’s using BBW as an opportunity to list some books that are, or have been, popular, but which have been harmful.

So, let’s hear it from you readers. Which books would you “ban,” in the sense of “wishing that they had never been published and that no one would read them any more” — and why?

Be brief — and don’t say the Bible, the Quran, or any other sacred text. Too easy.

(Hey readers, I’m going to leave for Texas shortly. Speaking at Baylor this afternoon on the Benedict Option, and then on Thursday about Dante. Will post when I can, and approve comments as I am able.)

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Obama’s Horrible Blunder in Backing the War on Yemen

It has taken a long while, but at least one member of Congress is finally objecting to U.S. support for the war on Yemen:

There have also been signs that the Obama administration could face more questions over its military support of the air campaign. On Tuesday, Representative Ted W. Lieu, Democrat of California, sent the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a letter citing reports of civilian deaths and requesting that the United States “cease aiding coalition airstrikes in Yemen until the coalition demonstrates that they will institute proper safeguards to prevent civilian deaths.”

Rep. Lieu deserves some credit here, but his letter is a reminder that members of Congress have been completely indifferent to or supportive of the Saudi-led campaign until now. It has taken six months of indiscriminate and unnecessary bombing enabled by the U.S. to prompt one member’s public protest. Perhaps there are more members that disagree with the administration’s policy here, but if so they have been remarkably quiet about it. The lack of interest from Congress isn’t surprising, but it has made it extremely easy for the U.S. to take part in an atrocious war without having to worry about any attempt at oversight. We can always hope that the administration would agree to Rep. Lieu’s request, but there is every reason to expect that they will ignore it.

The U.S. should never have been a party to this conflict. There is no American interest being served by pummeling and strangling Yemen. Insofar as the war has aided Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, it has actually harmed U.S. interests, and it has done so at a terrible cost to the people of Yemen. While most Americans may be oblivious to this indefensible war and the U.S. role in it, Yemenis are fully aware of our government’s backing for what is being done to them, and we are needlessly making new enemies in a misguided attempt to “reassure” some awful client states. Even if the war weren’t making the U.S. less secure, supporting it is still a horrible and inexcusable blunder.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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