What Does Syria Mean for Us?Doug Huntington
The Syrian Civil War is practically over. The Islamic State is a shadow of a shadow of its former self, controlling no major cities or towns in Iraq or Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a massive military withdrawal from Syria. The Iraqi military recently had a parade in Baghdad’s green zone after capturing the last remnants of ISIS territory in the country along Syria’s border. The Iraqi government has declared December 10th a national holiday, commemorating the Defeat of ISIS.
These developments do not represent the total end of conflict in the region. Most experts predict ISIS resorting to terrorist activity in response to its total defeat on the battlefield. A long-term peace plan for the Syrian Civil War remains elusive as recent peace talks in Geneva between the Assad government and the opposition have faltered.
These developments pose the fundamental question: if these war-torn countries have become increasingly safe, then why cannot the millions of people who fled from these countries as refugees now return from Europe and North America? We are often told that repatriation is impossible, cruel, immoral, and inhumane. Indeed, because it is so cruel, we are told to accept the alternative of whites becoming minorities in all their homelands, while nonwhites retain majorities in their own. Of course, repatriation can be implemented fairly and humanely to ensure the fair outcome of all peoples retaining their own homelands.
In this instance, repatriation of Syrians and Iraqis from the white world, with emphasis on Germany and Sweden, would be an especially painless endeavor. These migrants have spent around two years in Europe since the mass exodus from Syria and Iraq began in the summer of 2015. They have little chance of integrating to their host societies as various studies have shown. In 2016, the Kiel-based Institute for World Economics reported that the German economy, renowned for its advanced sophistication in manufacturing and engineering among other fields, could employ upwards of 2% of the country’s migrant population. Ludger Wössmann, of the Munich-based Center for the Economics of Education, estimates that around two thirds of these migrants can neither read nor write.
Civic nationalists argue that skin color should not matter for a citizen to be truly one with a nation-state. Common values, not blood or common history, can unite various people under one polity. By the logic of this “Western chauvinism,” civic nationalists have argued that countries like Germany will be fine in the long run if they become majority brown, just as long as they do not become majority Muslim.
Of course, even by the standards of civic nationalists, the so-called “new Germans” and the “new Swedes” and the “new French” have all failed to become either German, Swedish, or French. How can they, when their presence has caused the abandonment of open Christmas markets, that folkish tradition of Europeans gathering in open trust of one another in good will? Doesn’t civic nationalism teach that the common acceptance of a creed can lead to different peoples freely sharing the same space together? How can these migrants really be German if no true common bonds of national belonging stop them from sexually assaulting native German women? How can they be German if they cannot communicate, let alone work alongside their fellow citizens?
By every metric, these migrants have failed to form any sort of beneficial connection with their new host societies. This failure makes the task of repatriation significantly easier given that there will be no love lost between the migrants and Europe as they return to their homelands. Most of these people only came to our homelands out of economic want and desire for safety. The former can be provided through economic incentives attached to repatriation, the latter can be provided since civil war in Iraq and Syria is drawing to a close.
Of course, our rulers see the current geopolitical climate as an inconvenience, not as an opportunity. Why? Well, our foreign policy elites constantly told us that Bashar Al Assad, along with the Iranians and the Russians had nothing but evil in their machinations. Not only were they not defeating ISIS, they were actively aiding this terrorist organization and contributing to the European migrant influx to weaken the West. Only if Assad was ousted from power could ISIS finally be defeated. Only if the rebel opposition received more US funding to kill Russians and Iranians, would the conflict somehow de-escalate to the point where Syrian refugees could return home.
None of these predictions turned out to be true. As Assad gained strength in Syria and as Russian and Iranian aid increased, ISIS collapsed. Even Max Abrahms of the Council on Foreign Relations has admitted that the smartest guys in the room now have egg on their face, just as they did regarding Iraq, wherein people still somehow believe today — or knowingly lie — that the US did in fact find weapons of mass destruction upon their ill-fated excursion into that country.
This assessment is not intended to heap undue praise upon Vladimir Putin, today’s key geopolitical power in Syria. For all his strengths, the current Russian leader will not save the white race. Vladimir Putin is not a White Nationalist. Some of his foreign policy initiatives are in fact short-sighted. Instead of bringing Russians in his near abroad home from Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Kazakhstan to replace an aging population, the Russian president seems more content with immigration from Central Asia. He sees the Russians in the former Soviet republics as tools in great power politics, not as a people in need of a common home.
Despite these flaws in Putin’s long-term vision, his mission in Syria to prevent another failed state along the lines of post-2003 Iraq or post-2011 Libya from emerging has humiliated the neocons in Washington along with the Israelis. These kingmakers of our foreign policy have long seen Syria as a point of resistance to their ambitions of hegemony over the Middle East, similarly to how they viewed Iraq before 2003 and how they view Iran today. In fact, as long as any country in the Middle East cannot be bought off by our government with a military that can project regional power, it will be viewed as a threat to Israel and by extension an enemy of the US.
I began my asking why repatriation cannot begin under the favorable conditions that have developed in Syria and Iraq? If our rulers even acknowledged the validity of that question, they would have to acknowledge their own role in failing to implement the stated foreign policy objectives of the west. By admitting to this failure, they would be confronted with the reality that their loss has been the region’s gain.
While a pathological hatred for European peoples is at the root of why repatriation under our current regime is impossible — and too extensive to cover in this article — additional factors of foreign policy failures underlie a vital narrative behind this question. Indeed, the demographic challenges we face have in fact made the conditions possible for such failures, the one silver lining answering the above question. As the American population becomes increasingly less white, the US military, the chief tool of implementing Western foreign policy, will act with less decisive action, given that at least some pretense of a unified public opinion is needed to back military interventions, a prerequisite that will be increasingly lacking in America’s future. Indeed, internal division was a chief inhibitor of the Obama administration going all-in for regime change in Syria, a harbinger undoubtedly for America’s future conflicts. That trend will bode well in allowing powers with less pathological hatred for our people to act on the world stage, with benefits to all peoples.
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A very important article which starts to question the nexus between refugees and migrants.
The real humanitarian question regarding those displaced by war is whether moving them away from their traditional lands, families and customs is really in their best long term interests. A better approach might be to establish safe zones close to areas of military conflict – allowing quick reintegration once the conflict is resolved.
Global capitalism will reject any such suggestion, dependent as it is on the cheap labour provided by the more literate migrants and the inevitable fracturing of organised labour that goes with ethnic ‘diversity’.
Those really affected by conflict deserve protection and the chance to rebuild their lives in their traditional homelands – not a future as cheap labour flipping burgers in a Western country.
Thank you, I never thought of that but you’re right. Why make these migrants capitalist cogs as opposed to having them resettle safely in their own homelands? The latter, not the former is more humane.
Thanks Doug. The question of what’s best for refugees themselves is one that few seem to consider. There have been some exceptions in Australia that I know of.
Adrienne Millbank – a writer for the very worthwhile Australian Population Research Institute – explored these issues in 2016.
Salid Khoser, writing for the Lowy Institute makes similar points here:
Both identify that the 1951 Refugee Convention is out of date and no longer serves the Australian national interests – or those of refugees themselves.
What a great idea this is. Thanks for writing this. We should start an email campaign to PDT to see if he will get a bandwagon going.
We now have more than 500 000 Syrians in Germany, and they will never go away. They simply get everything, Money, extra build Houses, we create “jobs” they are able to do, they get support 24/7. Its Paradise for them, why should they leave? And now it starts that they can bring in their complete family too. They too will live at out cost for the rest of their lifes. Why should they want to go? And in response we get knife attacks, rape, violence, growing No-Go-Areas. And sadly my gouverment wants it like that. Why that is so, I have not understand jet. ????????
No Putin is not a White Nationalist but he has been instrumental in the battle against abortion in Russia and in the restoration of traditional family values such as women being encouraged to get married and aspire to have families rather than flash cars and expensive pets indeed the increase in the Russian ( European ) birthrate is due to the numerous measures he has pushed through and regards Russians in and around the former USSR he has simplified citizenship procedures for the refugees from the Donbass ( South East Ukraine ) to gain Russian citizenship and issued recognised ID documents for all residents in the Donetsk & Luhansk Peoples Republics meaning that they can travel and work in Russia and eventually become part of the Russian Motherland again. So while he is not perfect of course he is light years ahead of our Western Leaders. Also I would point out that since the start of the Russian mission in Syria more than a million Syrians have returned home and will continue to do so as peace is secured.
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