The Hungarians and others argue that for economic and cultural reasons they simply cannot accommodate the new comers. The Magyars refuse to succumb to the social engineering schemes of Brussels and prefer their country just the way it is. We should watch the European debate very carefully because it also concerns our own problems on America’s southern border. It is not Nazism to wish to protect the nation’s frontier and to uphold its cultural essence. Patriots defend their countries from all enemies: foreign and domestic.
By Marek Jan Chodakiewicz | September 22, 2015
Hungary and most other Balkan countries are both NATO and EU members. An unprecedented influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa has put a serious strain on the relationship between the military alliance and the political union. On the one hand, defense considerations necessitate internal and external stability among NATO’s participants. On the other hand, political realities require following the EU’s ideological diktat by the member states. This puts the alliance on a serious collision course with the union.
Brussels’ standing political policy is de facto open borders reflecting Europe’s dominant liberal ideology: multiculturalism. During the summer of 2015 multiculturalism encouraged a wave of migrants from the south. Desperate refugees search for a better life. Their home countries are usually dysfunctional and, at worst, like Syria, torn asunder by war. Until recently, the bulk of them came in a trickle and then spurts via Spain and Italy. The Spaniards and Italians felt overwhelmed by thousands and then tens on thousands. Now, hundreds of thousands are pouring into Europe.
Almost all refuse to stay in the south of the EU. They push north. A general impression is that these refugees have been welfare shopping. A few weeks ago a contingent of them refused to disembark from a ferry in Denmark, which has slashed its welcome benefits by half. When compelled to leave the vessel, they proceeded by foot, bicycle, train, and taxi to Sweden, which has maintained its generous subsidies. For similar reasons, they tend to spurn France in favor of England. London is viewed as more bountiful than Paris. Some travelers are detained by the authorities, including in the infamous “Jungle” camp of Calais. The situation is so dire that the bureaucrats even consider establishing filtration, or intermediate camps for prospective migrants in Niger. That may perhaps attract some sub-Saharan African asylum seekers but others are not fooled. They want their feet planted firmly on EU territory.
A few of the desperados have bicycled into Norway through the Arctic Circle from Russia. However, because of the euro crisis and the deterioration of the Greek state, the bulk of the migrants choose the southeastern entry way into the EU. Greece is helpless to stem the tide. On a single day as many as 23,000 can show up. Athens admits them and then sends them on their unmerry way north. That is in clear violation of the so-called Dublin Protocol of 2013 regulating refugee issues within the EU. That particular regulation requires the first country of entry to become the permanent host country. The Greeks ignore the regulation. In part, this is because the Greek welfare state is bankrupt and artificially kept afloat. Thus, it cannot afford any more mouths to feed.
The refugees infiltrate into Greece and trek usually through Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, and Croatia to Austria and Germany. That’s the most popular route. The trip via Bulgaria and Rumania is less popular. Most walk, bicycle, hitchhike, or take the bus. There is seemingly no respite. They rely on an illicit network of smugglers and corrupt officials who facilitate their progress. The network is informal, although organized criminal and terrorist organizations surely operate their own regimented pipelines into the EU.
Greece simply has given up, or, more precisely, passed the buck with glee to its neighbors to the north on the assumption that rich Germany can afford to deal with the refugees. Hungary has resolved to take its frontline status, national sovereignty, and cultural identity seriously. Budapest plays by the book. It has simply applied existing EU regulations to the migrants. First, it fulfills dutifully its obligation to manage the admissions of foreigners properly and defend the border of the EU. To prevent its breach, Hungary has reluctantly constructed a razor wire fence of about 100 miles in the most vulnerable southern spot, where it was habitually violated with as many as 10,000 persons entering illegally per day.
Second, Hungary’s populist-conservative government of Viktor Orban correctly invokes the Dublin Protocol, whereas, the regime of Greece’s extreme leftist, Alexis Tsipras, fails to comply. Third, Hungary insists on processing each refugee according to the rules; one needs a visa to enter so that one can move freely among the Schengen zone countries. Fourth, it maintains them in provisional processing facilities, including camps. Fifth, Budapest dispatches the refugees northward only upon ascertaining that Vienna and Berlin welcome them earnestly, and not feign friendliness for politically correct expediency to deflect moral blackmail driven by the liberal media. In fact, any delays in expediting the migrants north have been due to Germany and Austria’s reluctance to admit this overwhelming wave all at once. Sixth, ultimately, Hungary has closed its border.
The river of migrants rerouted to Croatia which has blocked all roads leading north from Serbia. The refugees infiltrate through fields, forests, and other illicit crossings. Zagreb will soon be forced, most likely, into the same stance as Budapest. And the Germans have reportedly followed suit discreetly setting up border guards on the Austrian frontier. In other words, when wealthy northern states speed up the processing of the refugee wave, southeastern European nations will let it through. But let’s blame everything on Hungary.
The Hungarians and others argue that for economic and cultural reasons they simply cannot accommodate the new comers. The Magyars refuse to succumb to the social engineering schemes of Brussels and prefer their country just the way it is. Is that a crime? Yet, their firm and unapologetic stance has earned them scorn and thunder from the Eurocrats and their glitterati media chorus in the West. What emerges from the hateful hatchet job by the likes of Paul Hokenos in Foreign Policy is what a wise man dubbed some years ago: “the West is the best, and the East is the beast.” From time to time, the “tolerant ones” invoke, of course, Hitler and the Holocaust as a moral bludgeon to blackmail Central and Eastern Europeans into settling mostly Muslem migrants from culturally incompatible systems in their countries.
For instance, in his September 13 article, “Eastern Europe’s Crisis of Shame”) Princeton’s sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross chastised Eastern European nations, Poland in particular, for failing to address the current Middle Eastern refugee crisis properly. According to him, Poland has rejected the migrants. To provide a moral dimension and a historical context to contemporary developments, Gross opined that “the Poles… actually killed more Jews than Germans during the war.” Neither his historical musings nor his understanding of the current crisis square with the facts.
Gross claims that Poland and other Eastern and Central European countries have refused to take refugees and, thus, “have revealed themselves to be intolerant, illiberal, xenophobic, and incapable of remembering the spirit of solidarity that carried them to freedom a quarter-century ago.” This is untrue. The Poles have welcomed refugees. According to the New York Times (30 May 2015), there are at least 400,000 Ukrainian war fugitives in Poland. Additional hundreds of thousands of migrants rotate through Poland for seasonal work to return home afterwards. They do not rely on welfare, they are culturally compatible, and they assimilate easily, or they go back home. What has the rest of Europe done for them?
As far as the Middle Eastern and African refugees are concerned:
- According to the Dublin Regulation (no. 604/2013), the first EU country to accept a migrant is responsible for his processing, maintenance, and settlement. Since most of them cross into Greece, Athens should take care of them.
- It is true that other nations should accept the refugees, in particular wealthy Arab states, including Saudi Arabia. They can afford it and they should help their co-religionists in the first place.
- One could also suggest that Israel take them for humanitarian and logistical reasons. The Jewish state abuts Syria and has a long history of aid to foreign people in times of crisis (e.g., in Haiti). Perhaps a moral argument can be made that history dictates that Israel should render assistance to those in need since the Jewish people often had to count on others for help.
Moral blackmail to force Poland to accept Muslim undocumented persons by invoking alleged Polish mass murder of the Jewish people is as ethically repulsive as similar endeavors to force Israel to admit Syrian refugees by means of a vicious propaganda campaign comparing Israeli policy toward the Palestinians to the Nazi measures against the Jews. In both cases we deal with a standard strong-arm tactic: show your bona fides of tolerance by welcoming all migrants or else you are a racist. Outside of that, none of your concerns are legitimate.
We should watch the European debate very carefully because it also concerns our own problems on America’s southern border. It is not Nazism to wish to protect the nation’s frontier and to uphold its cultural essence. Patriots defend their countries from all enemies: foreign and domestic.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is a Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, A Graduate School of National Security and International Affairs in Washington, DC, where he also holds the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies. Professor Chodakiewicz is author of Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.