For all the praise she gets, Angela Merkel has been one of the most disastrous European leaders in my lifetime. She's as responsible for Brexit as anyone I can think of, thanks to two catastrophic decisions she made.
The first was her insistence on punishing Greece following its collapse after the Great Recession. There's plenty of blame to go around on all sides for the Greece debacle, but as the continent's economic leader Germany held most of the high cards during negotiations over Greece's fate. Merkel had a choice: (a) punish Greece for running up unsustainable debts and lying about them, or (b) accept thatGermany bore much of the blame itself for the crisis and that Greece had no way of rescuing itself thanks to the straitjacket of the common currency. The former was a crowd pleaser. The latter was unpopular and would have required sustained, iron-spined leadership. In the event, Merkel chose to play to the crowds, and Greece has been a basket case ever since—with no end in sight. It hardly went unnoticed in Britain how Europe treated a country that was too entangled with the EU to either fight back or exit, and it made Britain's decision to forego the common currency look prescient. And if that had been a good choice, maybe all the rest of "ever closer union" wasn't such a great idea either.
Merkel's second bad decision was more recent. Here is David Frum: "If any one person drove the United Kingdom out of the European Union, it was Angela Merkel, and her impulsive solo decision in the summer of 2015 to throw open Germany—and then all Europe—to 1.1 million Middle Eastern and North African migrants, with uncountable millions more to come." It's hard to fault Merkel for this on a humanitarian basis, but on a political basis it was a disaster. The barely-controlled wave of refugees Merkel encouraged has caused resentment and more all over Europe, and it unquestionably played a big
role in the immigrant backlash in Britain that powered the Leave vote.
I'm outsourcing this prediction to Kevin Drum:
My sense—though I'd prefer actual data if anyone has collected it—is that secession votes usually follow a pattern: the leavers get an upward bump a few weeks before voting day, but stayers get a bump in the few days before voting day. A fair number of people flirt with the idea of leaving, but then get scared at the last minute and decide to vote for the status quo instead. Basically, in any secession referendum, I figure that Leave needs to be polling at 55 percent or higher to have a realistic chance of winning.
As of today, the polls are still tied, so my guess is that Brexit will fail on Thursday. If I'm right that about 5 percent of the leavers will get cold feet and change their minds, the final tally will be something like 53-47 percent in favor of remaining in the EU. We'll find out in a couple of days.
Non-Europeans can't understand the immigration debate in Europe without recognizing a key fact: Every single migrant who enters a (Northern) European country and files an asylum claim is immediately entitled to state-funded housing, healthcare, and education, plus a monthly cash stipend and child benefit. And is automatically legally entitled to all these things indefinitely, no matter what.
If they eventually get to the point where they are employable and then turn down suitable jobs, the benefits may be reduced. But never eliminated. Since the vast majority of migrants arrive not speaking the native language, and a large percentage never learn it to proficiency, all immigrants will be welfare cases for at least 10-15 years, and many will never stop being welfare cases.
In many Western countries, including the U.S. refugees are sponsored and funded by a public-private mix of government (which does the screening), and private charities, often religious in nature, who find housing and aid in integration. This doesn't happen to anywhere near the same extent in Europe. In Europe, private charities operate on a much smaller scale, since they have essentially been frozen out by state welfare. Religious charities run by the major established churches usually have significant government involvement. As the chart above shows, Germany has a comparatively small private charity sector. It's about the OECD average, but it's worth remembering that the OECD includes a lot of countries much poorer than Germany.
So every migrant let into the country who possesses no job skills immediately begins costing the state money. And lots of migrants cost lots of money. Germany is now spending an amount on refugee welfare that exceeds its annual federal education budget. It is spending almost €3 billion per year (g) just caring for 65,000 unaccompanied minor migrants.
Denmark has similar policies to Germany's. Which brings us to Daham Al Hasan, his three wives, and his twenty children:
In Denmark these days, Daham Al Hasan is making headlines. He has twenty children with three wives, but two years ago fled alone from Syria to Denmark, and left his wives and children behind. Recently, under the Danish rules of family unification, one of his wives and eight of his children have joined him in Denmark. But Al Hasan wants all his children with him, as well as all his wives. He has been granted permission for nine additional children to join him, but as Denmark does not allow polygamy, the two remaining wives, under the same rules of family unification, are not permitted to join him. Lawyers, however, estimate that the remaining wives will also be able independently to join their children in Denmark, once they are there.
The case has caused rather a shock in Denmark, not only because of the extraordinary size of the family, and what it will cost the Danish state just in child allowance, but because Al Hassan claims that he is too ill to work or even to learn Danish. "I don't only have mental problems, but also physical problems", he says by way of explanation, "My back and my legs hurt." He has admitted that his "mental illness" consists of missing the children he voluntarily left behind. This means that he and his family live exclusively off the Danish taxpayers' money.
Hat tip to Stakhanov for a link to this article:
More and more people from the Russian Caucasus region are crossing from Belarus into Poland, where the vast majority immediately apply for refugee status. According to the Polish border authority, 90 percent of all asylum requests are made at the Brest-Terespol border crossing. In the first half of 2013, 9,500 people requested asylum: 8,730 were of Russian origin. That's almost twice as many as in the previous year.
Passport control at the train station in Belarus is not usually a problem for North Caucasians. Belarusian border officials are not required to check whether Russian citizens have a visa for the EU, they just have to check that their passports are in order.
When the train leaves the station, it's immediately apparent how nervous people are. They are reluctant to engage in conversation. All you find out is that most of them are from Chechnya, and that they're travelling without an EU visa. They say they want to go to the West, and that they have relatives already living there. The situation in their homeland is "not good". There is "no freedom."
When the train arrives in Terespol, people with a valid EU visa are allowed to leave the train first. Those without a visa sometimes have to wait several hours in the train before Polish border officials take them to a special room where they are questioned by the Polish authorities. The asylum seekers have often been advised what to say by fellow Caucasians in Belarus.
...Caucasians abroad are well-connected. If someone has been recognised as a refugee in a EU country, the news spreads very fast, and more and more people come from the northern Caucasus to Brest as a result.
Only around 30 percent of the asylum seekers stay to complete the asylum procedure in Poland. For most of the Caucasians, Poland is not their final destination. They quickly leave the refugee housing and travel illegally to other EU countries, like Germany.
They are usually not aware that according to EU law they cannot apply for asylum in another EU country if they have already applied for asylum at the Belarusian-Polish border. They have to reckon with the possibility that they will be deported back to Poland. But for these North Caucasians, it's still preferable to going back to their homeland.
Here's the most important fact, which this article completely ignores: Chechnya is a hotbed of radical Islamic terrorism:
Since the September 11 attacks, and the Arab revolutions, a new generation of Chechen Muslim radicals, who want to create a Taliban-style government across the Caucasus Mountains to be governed by Sharia, has risen to fight. They are in their 20s and 30s and use the Internet. They reportedly have a website, where Chechen jihadists, from around the world, now fighting in Syria, Pakistan and Turkey, post their reports.
Their new leader, Doku Umarov, called by some Russia's Osama bin Laden, has said, "Today in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Palestine our brothers are fighting. Everyone who attacks Muslims wherever they are our enemies, common enemies. Our enemy is not Russia only, but everyone who wages war against Islam and Muslims." Three weeks ago he called to Chechens living in other countries to come home to Chechnya to take part in the fight.
Chechen Islamists are also helping Ukrainian separatists:
The Chechens are also renowned for their deft ambushes and raids. In the Chechen wars, insurgents had a policy of killing officers and contract soldiers who were taken prisoner, but conscripted soldiers were spared.
In Ukraine, the Chechens’ calls of “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” are said to strike fear in the hearts of the Russians.
In the interview, the Chechen commander said his men liked to fight with little protective gear. “This is the way we look at it,” he said. “We believe in God, so we don’t need armored vests.”
And let's not forget that Chechens were responsible for the most spectacular acts of terrorism after 9/11:
Russian analysts correctly assessed that without the liquidation of these Islamist warlords, low-intensity warfare in Chechnya could have lasted for a very long time. This assessment was substantiated by tragic terrorist attacks that followed in Chechnya and in Russia itself – airliner bombings, assassinations of pro-Moscow Chechen leaders, and unprecedentedly brutal attacks in the Moscow Theater Siege (2002), Moscow metro (2004) and in Beslan (2004).
The Moscow Theater (Nord Ost) siege was a devastating terrorist event, conducted by a few dozen Chechen terrorists. Armed with automatic weapons and explosives, the assailants took 850 hostages and demanded the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya. The siege was led by Movsar Barayev, who was killed along with most terrorists and 129 hostages in the controversial counter-terrorist operation conducted by Russian Special Forces.
In February 2004, Moscow’s residents experienced another severe terrorist attack in the Avtozavodskaya metro station. Forty persons lost their lives this suicide attack, which was perpetrated under the instructions of Shamil Basayev and Ibn al-Khattab.
The attack in Beslan in September the same year was a pinnacle of Chechen Islamist brutality – an event in which hundreds of hostages were killed, including 186 children and hundreds more were wounded or reported missing.
I could go on and on and on citing sources. Everyone except for naive Germans understands that Chechnya is probably the country with the highest proportion of radical Islamists in the entire world right now. Predictably, both Vladimir Putin and his handpicked viceroy in Chechnya are cracking down hard on Islamism in the North Caucasus.
So when these taciturn Chechens vaguely complain that it's "not good" for them and there is "no freedom" in their homeland, it is entirely possible that many of them are radical Islamists fleeing government security measures. But of course, they will lie to German immigration authorities, recycling stories that were already used successfully by former migrants.
Will Germany do what any sane, self-respecting nation would do? That is, detain all of these migrants until a thorough background screening can be performed, carefully analyze their stories of persecution, and immediately reject anyone who lied about his grounds for asylum, and anyone with any ties to radical Islam? Will Germany, in other words, put the security and safety of its citizens -- and by extension, the citizens of Europe -- first and foremost?
A few months ago, I would have said "no". But voices of common sense seem to gradually be re-asserting themselves in Germany recently, so I have a very, very cautious hope.
The number of asylum-seekers in Germany from Chechnya is on the increase (g). Chechens are notorious in Russian novels for being the most violent and fractious minority in the empire. The list of terrorist attacks carried out by Chechen Muslim terrorists is rather long (including the Boston Marathon bombing and several attacks at Domodevovo Airport). And this just in, fresh from today's headlines: "CHECHEN jihadists posing as Russian football supporters are plotting to attack English and Welsh fans at the Euro 2016 championships, security chiefs fear":
One of the big fears the French have is the threat posed by Islamic State terrorists from Chechnya and the Caucasus region. They are apparently planning to travel to France among Russian fans.
“They will almost certainly avoid any stadiums because of the massive security and instead will look to shoot supporters drinking in bars or restaurants. “Their main target is most likely Russians but they will want to kill British fans as well as local French people because in their eyes they’re all enemies of IS.”
Mr Moniquet said large Chechen populations live in Germany and Belgium. Belgian police carried out investigations into extremists on the northern coast and in the city of Leuven last year.
More than 400 Chechen jihadists are fighting in Iraq and Syria while terrorist group Caucasus Emirate, which has as many as 15,000 fighters, pledged allegiance to IS last summer.
A young Chechen man whose family lives in Austria was recently asked during a TV interview what he would do if his sister left the house without a headscarf: "Then I'd kill her."
Young Chechen males are notorious in Germany now for being unusually likely to cause problems in migrant shelters. Many are Salafists who insult and attack fellow shelter residents for homosexuality, insufficient Islamic zeal, or apostasy. Just a week ago, there was a mass riot (g) between Chechens and Yezidis in Bielefeld, Germany. Dozens of people from both groups rioted, attacking each other with clubs and knives. Five people had to be hospitalized, some of them with serious injuries. A spokesman for the Yezidis reported that the hostilities started when Chechens attacked the (non-Islamic) Yezidis, calling them infidels. There are dozens of other reports of militant, violence-prone Chechens attacking non-Muslims and minorities in German migrant shelters.
Chechen migrants have formed criminal gangs in Austria, and are engaged in gang wars (g) with Afghans to control various rackets, giving them a "disastrous" reputation. A recent newspaper report from Austria, where many Chechen migrants have settled, concluded (g):
The biggest problem for law enforcement is the Chechens. They are listed as Russian nationals in the statistics. There were 1528 suspected criminals in this group, which was 49.2% of all the suspected criminals among asylum seekers and illegal immigrants in 2014. In the first six months of 2015, 673 Chechens were registered as criminal suspects.
Russia, according to sources cited by the first link above, is intentionally funneling large numbers of Chechens into Germany to further destabilize the country. And, of course, to further re-stabilize Russia by dumping extremists and career criminals onto gullible Western European nations. And no, Germany's getting the criminals, not the persecuted human-rights lawyers. Under 6% of asylum-seekers from Russia get legal recognition.
German CDU politicians are now calling for the European Dublin regulations on asylum to be enforced on Chechens. These require asylum-seekers to file asylum claims in the first EU country they set foot in. For Chechens, this is almost always Poland.
So Poland would be responsible for housing and feeding thousands of illegal Chechen Muslim immigrants, notorious as the perhaps most violent and unpredictable group among all the various nationalities entering Europe. Plus, all of these people -- largely young males, of course -- will be frustrated that they couldn't make it to Germany. Actually, frustrated isn't the word. Incandescent with rage comes closer. Poland would also have to hire hundreds of new bureaucrats to decide their frivolous asylum claims. And somehow force them into planes for deportation.
Can you imagine how Poles will react to their rich neighbor Germany trying to dump this problem from hell onto them?
Vladimir Putin certainly can, which is why he may well be urging Chechens to set out for Germany -- the more, the merrier!
Once again, Europe is being effortlessly manipulated by politicians who have no illusions about human nature or culture, and who are unabashedly putting the interests of their own people first.