There are more displaced people and refugees now than at any other time in recorded history — 60 million in all — and they are on the march in numbers not seen since World War II. They are coming not just from Syria, but from an array of countries and regions, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, even Haiti, as well as any of a dozen or so nations in sub-Saharan and North Africa. They are unofficial ambassadors of failed states, unending wars, intractable conflicts.
The most striking thing about the current migration crisis, however, is how much bigger it could still get.
“Throughout Europe, xenophobia and open racism are running rampant, and nationalist, even far-right parties are gaining ground,” Joschka Fischer, the former German foreign minister, wrote recently in an article that appeared on Project Syndicate, an online news service.
“At the same time, this is only the beginning of the crisis, because the conditions inciting people to flee their homelands will only worsen. And the E.U., many of whose members have the world’s largest and best-equipped welfare systems, appears to be overwhelmed by it — politically, morally and administratively.”
Those stresses pose a challenge for the future, experts say, because the flow is unlikely to ebb anytime soon.
“I don’t think this wave can stop,” said Sonja Licht of the International Center for Democratic Transition. “It can maybe from time to time be somewhat less intensive, we simply have to prepare. The global north must be prepared that the global south is on the move, the entire global south. This is not just a problem for Europe but for the whole world.”
The German village of Sumte (pop. 102) has been told it has to receive 750 asylum seekers. This will, of course, obliterate the village for all intents and purposes. But who cares about them, right?
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused billionaire investor George Soros of being a prominent member of a circle of “activists” trying to undermine European nations by supporting refugees heading to the continent from the Middle East and beyond.
“His name is perhaps the strongest example of those who support anything that weakens nation states, they support everything that changes the traditional European lifestyle,” Orban said in an interview on public radio Kossuth. “These activists who support immigrants inadvertently become part of this international human-smuggling network.”
Soros said in an e-mailed statement that a six-point plan published by his foundation helps “uphold European values” while Orban’s actions “undermine those values.”
“His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle,” he said in the statement. “Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”
In other words, Soros is agreeing with Orban.