The New York Times reported last Thursday that NATO members are finding themselves torn over the prospect of an influx of refugees from Afghanistan. Many fear a repeat of 2015 and 2016, when waves of asylum seekers from the wars in Syria and Iraq fled into Europe (See “Migrant crisis: Pass the blame,” 23 April 2015; “Human Waves,” 4 August 2016.
During those years, Germany alone took in more than a million persons, while Eastern European countries put up barbed-wire border fences. As we had forecast, the seemingly endless march of refugees inspired the rise in anti-immigrant, ethno-nationalist populist political parties and movements that were also anti-European Union.
And now, with the worsening economic condition and wars ravaging nations in Africa and war still raging in Yemen, even the countries that welcomed the refugees back then don’t want to see a new flood of migrants.
Almost every European government that joined America in its bloody war against Afghanistan has expressed willingness to take those Afghans who worked with the Americans or with international aid groups, but for other Afghan refugees a line is being drawn.
In Germany and France, which have important elections looming, Afghans are facing what the NYT calls “a compassion deficit.” Austria has categorically ruled out taking any Afghan refugees. Greece announced it would not be the “gateway” to Europe for refugees this time around. And France called for a “robust response,” a plan that would incentivize countries along the migrants’ route to keep them there (and away from France).
“We Europeans have been in that country for 20 years. Of course we have a moral responsibility, especially for the people who are fleeing this new Taliban regime,” said Jana Puglierin, head of the Berlin office of the Council on Foreign Relations, alluding to the NATO nations that joined war criminal George W. Bush’s war. “And now we are saying Afghanistan is not our problem.”
Ministers of the E.U. have expressed unity in opposing any “wide-scale migratory move toward Europe.” In Germany, Italy and France, it is nationalist parties, often characterized as right-wing, that will benefit from taking positions against the acceptance of new refugees. Italy’s League party believes potential terrorists will be among the migrants.
So concerned are the E.U. nations with preventing “a second 2015” that they intend to engage in a “dialogue” with the Taliban, in the hope that such will help prevent “a humanitarian and potential migratory disaster.”
TREND FORECAST: Trends Journal has for some time been forecasting and analyzing the rise of, of populist movements, as in this Trendpost from August 2016. Also see 5 February 2014’s “Populism is powerful and growing—but it’s not everywhere.”