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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/15/15

The United States' and Europe's Debt To Refugees

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Devastation in Syria
Devastation in Syria
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The crisis regarding the influx of refugees into Europe and elsewhere is certainly focusing minds, yet in spite of some initial promising signs from some European governments, Europe's main preoccupation appears to remain the insulation of its own borders against refugees. It is true enough that the influx of large numbers of immigrants into countries across Europe is going to cause huge ongoing problems for existing populations for generations to come, but that is not a sufficient or proper reason for denying them entry.

The refugee crisis is not a random or remote occurrence which is inflicting an unfair burden on the West: it is a direct consequence of policies conducted in these regions over the past 20 years - and especially since 2001. Since then, successive US and European governments have prosecuted, aided or sponsored wars across the entire region of the Middle East and North Africa; in addition the aggressive and controlling post-colonial policies of European powers and the imperial ambitions of the US have ramped up significantly over a much longer period, especially as result of a complex of geo-political motives, driven largely by the increased demand for the acquisition and control of energy resources. This analysis seems a commonplace to most commentators outside of Western political establishments and the mainstream media - and the realization that every day innocent people are dying or suffering as a result of this is widely appreciated, though universally ignored.

What seems quite clear, though, is that the priority now has to be to address the problem of the refugees themselves by absorbing large numbers of people into the US and Europe, whose debt to the people of these afflicted countries is huge - indeed we all carry the guilt of what has and is happening to them.

The immediate humanitarian crisis is the issue at hand and should be the priority of all governments, not the security of their borders; nor even the prospect of unsuitable people entering our borders. The Trojan horse of ISIS may well enter by our gates, but this concern must be subordinate to the immediate pressing claims of the refugees. After all, the US and its allies have all but destroyed the infrastructures of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya et al and left these countries without any effective governments: in this respect the refugee crisis is as comprehensible as it was predictable.

The second thing that needs to happen as a matter of urgency is for the US, UK and other European powers to desist from further bombing, droning and further degrading the infrastructures of these countries, the outcome of which can only create more refugees. Instead of helping fuel the civil war in Syria to foster "regime change", the US and its allies need to encourage rapprochement: war resolves nothing and the destabilization of countries which do not accept the leadership of the US is wrong and immoral - and its real and practical consequences are with us today.

We must remember that the refugee crisis is attracting our attention simply because it is impacting on us - and rightly so. In the age of the drone and video-game warfare, it is right that we accept that war is not a remote phenomenon which can be imposed on others without interfering with our own cozy lives: it affects - and should affect - us all.

It is a crime against humanity to prosecute aggressive war (though in recent years this has been flouted on the thinnest of all pretexts) and it is our responsibility to do our utmost to prevent our governments from conducting such wars. It is also our duty to question the mainstream media's complicity in wars by means of its activities in garnering public support, rather than holding the actions and motives of governments up to scrutiny.

Longer term, the debt to all of these countries which have been all but destroyed must be rebuilt with Western money. It is owed to them by way of partial redress and the burden should fall most heavily on those countries who have done most to destroy them. At a common sense level, without adequate facilities, hospitals, education and other functional amenities, it is obvious that people will continue to attempt to reach the safety and security of wealthier countries.

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Mark John Maguire Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram Page

I was educated at the University of Manchester, Swansea University and the Polytechnic of Wales, where I studied History, Philosophy and Intellectual and Art History (MA). I have lived and worked in Ireland, Germany and Holland and the UK as a (more...)

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