Monday, April 20, 2015

Always Bet on Xenophobia

I have been in Brussels for several days, and was amused to find our first meetings in the shadow of the European Union.  I tweeted thusly:

I am an ESDP skeptic because the EU tends not to move at all when there is a crisis.  Efforts to develop a common defence stance tend to fail.  Well, with one big exception.  It turns out the EU can move decisively when the threat would be migrants from North Africa.  This should not be that surprising as the Libyan mission in 2011 was shaped by the fear of Libyans fleeing Qaddafi and finding their way to European shores.  Italy and France even threatened the heart of the single market by suggesting they might suspend the Schengen border stuff.

As a scholar of xenophobia, I can only be pleased... buy our revised edition this August, please.  But as someone frustrated by the responses to the Ukraine/Russia crisis, I am, well, more frustrated.  There should be a straightforward division of labor on this: NATO does stuff to improve the credibility of the commitment to the Baltics (bases!) while the EU pours money into the Russian speaking areas of the Baltics so that the locals are unfriendly to any little green men who show up.  Alas, as far as I can tell, the EU ain't doing the latter while Germany and others are blocking the former.  FFS! 

I guess what we need to do is gin up a migration crisis--that thousands of Baltic residents are ready to flood into France.... that would do the trick, right?

Maybe not.   But it does remind me of what one person working at NATO suggested: that the US and Canada open up special immigration opportunities for the Baltics' Russian speaking populations--10-20k per year.  In ten years, the Russian speaking populations of the Baltics would not be a problem geostrategically-speaking.  Hmmm. 

So, maybe multiculturalism FTW in the long term?  Still, I would bet on xenophobia if I could.

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