The Other Border Fence
Mark Schulman talks about a border fence. No, not the 'vicious inhuman border' which fascist America is thinking about building along the frontier with Mexico. We are talking about gentle Europe's border fence with its Third World.
The fence at Ceuta is not the only lethal element in Fortress Europe: most refugees attempt to cross the Mediterranean or to reach the Canary Islands via the Atlantic. According to estimates of the Interior Ministry, two million people are in Libya waiting for the crossing to Italy; in Mauretania the figure is 500,000, while in Morocco there are close to 50,000. The crossing is extremely hazardous: 40 refugees are herded into the small wooden boats, while as many as 120 are crammed into the larger Zodiacs. In Morocco I interviewed a people smuggler who operates such boats. “We have to put the people on the boat in chains as otherwise the risk of capsizing is too great”. The side effect of this is that the corpses are not found if the boat sinks. Even so, there are 10,000 documented fatalities on the route to Europe in the past ten years. Between November 2005 and February 2006, 1,300 people died en route to the Canary Islands alone.
Pajamas Media has some detail of what that can be like.
"For three days and three nights, these African migrants clung desperately to life. Their means of survival is a tuna net, being towed across the Mediterranean by a Maltese tug that refused to take them on board after their frail boat sank." (The Independent)
Illegal immigration is a symptom of one of the major failings of the greatest withdrawal in history. No not Iraq or Vietnam, but the European retreat from Empire which assumed that dysfunction in the Third World could be contained by diplomacy, foreign aid and multilateralism. That postwar system, if it ever worked, is breaking down. Corrupt and brutal Third World elites are exporting their human detritus to the boulevards of Paris and the streets of Los Angeles, not only in the form of desperate immigrants but in criminal gangs and terrorism. Against that flood, amnesties won't work. Even razor-wire fences may not avail against such desperation and hate.
I think we are witnessing, unremarked, the collapse of the post World War 2 institutional framework for handling the Third World. The UN, the international development banks and traditional diplomacy -- all need to be either be revamped or abolished. Rather than presiding over the End of History, Europe is now experiencing counter-colonization. All of the institutions premised on the End of History: the miniature clinical armies, cradle-to-grave welfare, waves of cheap immigrant labor who were expected to perform colorful folk-dances after sweeping the floors, the predominance of "soft power" are going to have to transform themselves or become outright liabilities.
Here's a populist version of that insight expressed rather crudely. But you get the point. However, Europe and America will have to do more than raise the shields. They have to find ways to empower the Third World to overthrow their corrupt elites and establish functioning civil societies. The Middle East, Latin America and Africa are too important to be left, unchallenged to gangs and radical Islam. But today's stand-off Western development institutions and tiny militaries are far too detached to effectively engage.
John Edwards, however, has got an idea. Captain Ed reports. "Senator Edwards is outlining a new national security strategy that hinges on the creation of a 10,000-person civilian peace corps to stem the tide of terrorism in weak and unstable countries ... The plan Mr. Edwards presented yesterday — which he dubbed "A Strategy to Shut Down Terrorists and Stop Terrorism Before It Starts" — calls for a 10,000-person "Marshall Corps" to deal with issues ranging from worldwide poverty and economic development to clean drinking water and micro-lending."
There's a place for these kinds of efforts, but the Marshall Corps is really just a souped-up NGO concept. It will be criminal to send these kids up against hardened gangs and the al-Qaeda. But then, John Edwards must know what he's doing. He's running for President.