Tuesday, July 01, 2014

People on the move

Generic Refugee Photo
As nation-states topple into the defunct bin at an ever-increasing rate (the nation-state will be extinct in just a couple of decades if the current trend continues) the world is awash in refugees, displaced persons, asylum-seekers and immigrants, illegal and otherwise. They number somewhere around 50 million, and around half of them are children.
Much of this year's surge in their numbers represents the continuing work-out of the developing geopolitical fiascos in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Somalia. But earlier this year, a new gusher opened up: Russia is currently playing host to over 100,000 people from Ukraine, who are fleeing artillery bombardment and death squads organized by America's puppet regime in Kiev. But that's nothing compared to the 7 million or so Mexicans and 3 million or so Central Americans who have flooded into the US. The Central Americans are mainly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Now, look at this list of countries (sorted alphabetically for your convenience):
  • Afghanistan
  • El Salvador 
  • Guatemala 
  • Honduras 
  • Iraq 
  • Mexico 
  • Somalia 
  • Syria 
  • Ukraine
Can you spot the commonality? I can: these are all countries that were invaded, sanctioned, exploited, or otherwise heavily messed with by none other than the United States. Afghanistan and Iraq are, as I discussed here previously, poster children for US foreign policy failure, closely followed by Syria, where US efforts at regime change have succeeded in wrecking Syria, and now appear to be causing a dismemberment of Iraq, care of a US-trained, US-armed group of fundamentalist troglodytes that go by the name of ISIS. Mexico fell victim to the US war on drugs. The ways in which Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have been undermined and exploited by US policies run the gamut from arming and training death squads to sending in missionaries that preach against birth control.

Americans are generally unconcerned about the plight of these people. They only start getting upset about the situation when the people their government has dispossessed and evicted from their homes show up and start demanding public services. Then their typical reaction is to demand “emigration reform,” by which they mean locking down the borders and tossing the refugees out.

Most Americans seem quite incapable of making the simple connection between destroying somebody's house and having that somebody then move in to share yours. For those who are struggling with processing this idea, there are some helpful sayings, such as “What comes around goes around” and “Don't dish it out if you can't take it.” The plan of locking down the border isn't working too well, for one simple reason: it can't start with locking refugees out; in order to work, it has to start with locking Americans in—not the tourists or the expats, but definitely the State Department staffers, the NGOs, the CIA spooks, the rapacious American businessmen and, last but not least, the US military. I am sure that there would be no international refugee crisis if only all these categories of people were safely stored in a cool dry place on US territory. But once these people have been let out into the world to do their thing out there, the inevitable result is a global refugee crisis. With Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria it is possible to shunt the refugee flow to other unlucky lands—Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and Jordan are now playing host to more than their fair share of them—but with it comes to the unlucky nations south of the border, resistance is futile. To date, all efforts to keep the out the Mexicans, the Guatemalans, the Salvadorans and the Hondurans have failed.

When questioned about their reasons for coming over, the Central American refugees often cite crime (Guatemala City is a gangland disaster area), lack of opportunity (all the good land has been snapped up by export farms) and poverty. After they are questioned, some of them are extradited: there are regular charter flights going from the US to these entral American countries, coming back empty. The current surge of Central Americans coming into the US is interesting: not only are their numbers way up, but a lot of the people pouring in are children! This creates many headaches for the officials charged with stemming the flow. First of all, it is deemed unseemly to horribly mistreat children, no matter what the situation; the public seems all in favor of shabby treatment of the “illegals,” but if they are children, then there is some residual sense of shame or a faint echo of human decency in the general population that has to be reckoned with. Secondly, extraditing a minor involves finding a parent or guardian in a foreign country: quite a trick, that! What that all means is that this is a very, very expensive proposition.

This influx of people, children included, is best viewed as part of a conflict—a territorial conflict, in which people whose land your government took away from them then decide that therefore your land now belongs to them. And when looking at a conflict and trying to predict how it will end, it is helpful to look for asymmetries: which side has to pay how much for what. So, for instance, in Eastern Ukraine, we have the US-installed Ukie Nazi junta, which is spending money it doesn't have to train, arm and equip conscripts that are utterly demoralized and surrender at the drop of a hat, while on the side of the so-called “pro-Russian separatists” (who are actually Russian, not just pro-, and not separatists but federalists) you have a highly motivated all-volunteer force armed and equipped free of charge, care of the hapless Ukies (who keep abandoning their weapons). Or look at Syria/Iraq (or, shall we now say, the Levant?) where the hapless Iraqis just had to buy a few used Russian military jets (because the American ones aren't any good) to try to defend Baghdad against ISIS, whereas ISIS parades around in American Humvees they outright stole from the Iraqis while brandishing American weapons which they got, you guessed it, care of the Obama administration. You see, when one side in a conflict has it much easier than the other, you need to take that into account when trying to predict the outcome.

Which is what makes the question of illegal immigrant children flooding into the US so interesting: here, the asymmetry is absolutely huge. Consider an average Guatemalan woman, living in the Mayan highlands on $1,500 a year, surviving on beans and corn. She can still pop out half a dozen children. Brought into the US, each of these children would cost at least $30,000 to repatriate. Recently, the Obama regime has budgeted $1.5 billion to repatriate the 50,000 children that have shown up during the last eight months; those are the numbers that have been published, but I am sure that the real costs, all included, are much higher. And so a Guatemalan kid that cost her mother maybe $1000 to raise costs the US government in excess of $30,000 for what amounts to a nice field trip. Brilliant!

If any of this bothers you, then there isn't much you can do about it. Chances are, some possibly very nice people from a country your government and business elite had conspired to destroy will come to live with you. They probably won't even bother to learn English because, you see, the US wasn't their first choice for a place to live; their country was—but they can't live there because you failed to keep your psychopaths in check. Losers can't be choosers, so just make peace with them the best way you can. Because what else are you going to do? Fly to Syria and declare yourself a “pro-American separatist”? Because if you do that, then those nice ISIS militants, whom your tax money helped arm and train, will—quite literally—crucify you.


Robert said...

The sky is black with chickens coming home to roost.


Sixbears said...

. . . and that's why I have a Kurdish son-in-law from the Turkey/Syria border . . . and 4 new step grandkids. I know how motivated he was. My daughter is old enough to make her own choices.

On the bright side, he is smart enough to fear me, so we get along.

Deskpoet said...

I genuinely hope your hit counts are rising, Dmitry. Your wit and wisdom deserves far attention than most anything that passes for "journalism" in this failing empire.

Silent Otto said...

Australia now has a bipartisan policy whereby the country is ringed with gulags that would bring a tear to even Solzhenitsyns eye ! ... Thus is supported by both major parities....lately we have resorted to just offering them six thousand dollars and an air ticket to go home ( saves us $24000) by your calculation . Border protection is now headed by a special forces general , and a policy of strict secrecy applies .ie no briefings to the media or public about any boat arrivals or border protection activities ..recently we bought a stack of unsinkable lifeboats , into which we load people with enough fuel to get themselves across the soveireign line when their old boat sinks .
Meanwhile , back in Australia , all things french are the rage , french food, music , holidays , hairstyles . Among the dust , blowflies , extreme heat and honking black Germanic SuVs , the gentle strains if Edith Piaff can be heard warbling "non, je ne regrette rien ", as 60 year old women with pure bleach bllonde hair fuss around french themed cafes , planning their next european holiday ..
As Lee Kwon You put it so succinctly all those years ago " australians are the white trash of south east asia ".
As i write from under the veil of secrecy it emerges a boat load of 153 sri lankan tamils fleeing genocide are being sent back to their own country without offer of asylum, though they may be lucky yet as the public have found out about them ..three years on Nauru a cold comfort ?
What you sow, you reap .....

Lance M. Foster said...

Ever since I was a teen back in the 70s, when people complained about immigrants from Mexico or anywhere, I continue to say, "Instead of spending money on stopping migration, all the U.S. has to do is spend money on helping improve conditions at home." That way immigration decreases with less friction and less cost, and you have a healthier, happier neighbor which benefits everyone. Almost everyone would much rather stay home, given the chance.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I suggested to a friend the world was overpopulated. He disagreed. When pressed, he estimated the Earth could support 20 billion people, citing all the open space in Whyoming as proof. Ignorance is bliss... is it not?

Unknown said...

In French it has been called "Invasions Barbares".
In German "Völkerwanderung" and in English "Migrations of the Peoples".

I guess the perception depends on which side of the "Limes" you were living when the process started.
Within Rome, you're invaded by barbarians.
Outside Rome, you're just moving around or migrating.
History seems to favor the poor wanderers over the rich and civilized cream of mankind on the long run.
The more you have to loose, the less you gain.
The less you have to loose, the more you gain.

Tony f. whelKs said...

Morning Dmitri, this piece instantly brought back a memory I had of 9/11. At the time I was away at sea and managed to miss most of the media onslaught, but one item sticks in my mind. It was a 'vox pop' interview with a young American woman, whose whole point was ' Why us? What have WE ever done, who has America ever hurt?' To me, the only answer to her question was "Like... DUH!"

It seems this disconnect between actions and consequences is writ large, even now. I can't pretend to psychoanalyse a whole nation, but aside from the toxic media, surely one element must be the prevalent ignorance of the wider world. All of America's wars are fought 'over there', and rarely is there anything approaching a home front. Here in Europe people, at least their parents and grandparents, have memories of being on the battlefield in their own homes. We know that what happens 'over there' is going to come home to us. That's why - despite all its inadequaies - the 'European project' has had such momentum. It's a lesson that has always been attenuated by the time it reaches US shores. But as they say, there's none so ignorant as those who will not learn.

Unknown said...

They'll never stem the tide. I wonder where those kids will end up. There's not much of anyplace left for anyone on the fringes in this country.

We don't have any land set aside for refugee camps, except for those lovely FEMA facilities.

Some of them will be assimilated somehow. Some will go into the inner cities and live on the streets.Some of them will be sent home..and probably they'll try again.

If they were smart they'd just keep going and head for Canada, where there's still room to turn around without bumping into more desperate humans.

With the speed of climate change, we all may be walking north soon. And north, we know, is not the best destination, ultimately. But for a while....

Chris said...

Excellent observations as always. I have been an immigrant myself and lived in a number of Anglosphere countries, so I can certainly relate. The difference is that I chose to migrate not so much for economic reasons, but for cultural ones. I simply find my country of birth culturally too small and insular, burdened by an impossibly difficult language and a population of monoglots who struggle to learn any foreign language of their own, therefore isolating themselves from the rest of the world culturally.

Anonymous said...

Since reading Kolbert's "The Sixth Extinction" and re-reading "Fooled By Randomness", it has come clear to me that the entire arc of human existence can be summed in just a few words.

"You have it. I want it"

The eclectic skeptic.

Unknown said...

After spending the last 2 months in one of the poorest parts of Nicaragua, which is not quite the poorest country in the americas, it's not hard to see why poor folks down here want to leave: they watch 1st world TV and it all looks so enticing. Follow that up with local soap operas about the mostly rich and famous and it's a recipe for cultural envy gone south. Compared to the boring simplicity and grinding monotony of poverty it all looks great, especially to all the young folks here who obviously are bored to crap and know (on some level) that there is no capital to chase here. But spend a bit of time here and a overall sense of contentment and happiness pervades. Lots of interrelated folks visiting on porches and in backyards, jolly and laughing, when a good portion don't have two cordobas to rub together. Life here is tough with rolling blackouts, really expensive imported food (thanks central bankers!!!), etc..
But, just my opinion, I rather prefer it over the USSA burbs anyday. But tell that to a kid with pie in the sky aspirations for a middle class western life up north. It's not hard to divine their intentions. Tough here but many don't realize the really good things life down here still has to offer.

Rita said...

I just spent 18 months on a US Federal Grand Jury. Almost every session, 2 per month for my panel, started with one to three or more cases of deported immigrants to be re-deported. These were all people who had entered illegally, been convicted of some crime (range from domestic violence to assault to drugs, weapons, etc.) served some US prison time, been deported. They had returned, illegally, to the US and committed some other crime, were identified as aliens and referred to the federal court for another deportation. So this is just the criminal element, those who actually enter the US to steal, sell drugs, etc. I have no idea of the cost of all these proceedings, but it must be considerable. This was one GJ panal of 3 in the Eastern District of California. Basically the northern half of the eastern side of the state. I imagine the GJs in LA, San Diego or the Bay Area could hear such cases all day long.

Anonymous said...

What a mess. Things are really boiling up but I was wondering why the publicity on the children from SA has been raised to deafening levels. It seems to have been going on for some time, but all of a sudden, the reporting on these children is everywhere. Perhaps to soften the blow when we learn that displaced people today are at the same level (if not more) than during WWII.... Yikes.

John Skead said...

"...poster children for US foreign policy failure..."

Surely the actual objective of US foreign policy (as a proxy for Israel's) is vanquishment through destabilization, in which case the US foreign policy has been an unmitigated success.


k-dog said...

There are a huge number of Americans with a strong moral sense. Given the chance they would have generated an American foreign policy anyone would have been proud of. But that would have required a working political system that had not bee co-opted by the elite.

Instead foreign affairs were placed in the hands of psychopathic men with ideas of grandiosity which so deranged their already deranged minds that they were left totally out of touch with the real world, its needs, and its real dangers.

Legends in their own minds psychopathic foreign policy 'experts' have been destroying the world one day at a time now for years. It all happened because the hugest number of Americans of all; bubbleheads; go through life absorbing consent which has already been manufactured for them like chocolate dipped doughnuts with sprinkles on top at a carnival. Never understanding that the aims of the elite were dramatically different than anything that was good for them.

And now the banquet of consequences is served. Failed state flambé with a heavy seasoning of human misery.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, I knew immigrants were essentially going where the money is, and I knew we stole theirs, but somehow I never put the two together. They're "following the money," literally.

crespi effect said...

I am in complete agreement with your article. It seems we share an opposite view of JH Kunstler, who thinks of Americans as the victim.
I find his take rather odd, he is so right (not right wing) on so many issues.

Unknown said...

@ John Skead - "Surely the actual objective of US foreign policy is vanquishment through destabilization, in which case the US foreign policy has been an unmitigated success."

Destabilisation for its own sake, or de-industrialisation so as to slow the rate of resource consumption? Think of how many oil exporters have had their development held up or reversed by direct military intervention, civil subversion, or sponsored kleptocrats (eg. Iraq, Columbia, Vietnam, S.Arabia, Nigeria, Mexico, Russia in decade after USSR). Imagine the 'resource curse' as not an accidental/natural dynamic but deliberate global policy.

Unknown said...

The western countries cannot support uncontrolled numbers of immigrants;It will lead to a shoot to kill policy at borders or worse,race riots & civil wars as support systems collapse under the weight of demand.Oh,the wonder of exponential population growth...

lev said...

Agree with everything in your article. I would like to add that similar to African slave labor here 200 years ago, the workers were not just going to be shipped back after Emancipation. After many generations and hard work they looked at America as their home and were ready to fight for their piece of land. True today with Mexican illegal workers; after being paid pocket change working their ass off for years on a farm, you can expect they will want something in return when realizing they can do so much better. You reap what you sow. There are always consequences and you cant just use someone as meat and toss them away.

John Doyle said...

The trouble with immigration is that it makes the population problem worse. Australia is already overpopulated by virtue of its dry land nature, it's lack of water, and resource overexploitation during the past 200 years. Immigrants don't ameliorate the population problems at home, they just add to them in their new country.
Al Bartlett illustrates this in his famous talk about the exponential equation. In the future emergency niceties will be shelved. It's crook to have to be like that but we have to start somewhere!