The refugee crisis in Europe could be easily solved. The problem is that the real solution would not suit the the political establishment of the United States or Western Europe. We’ve distilled what needs to be done down to 5 simple steps.
- Stop funding and arming rebel groups attempting to overthrow the Syrian government. It’s well established that these weapons have been ending up in the hands of ISIS and its affiliates. This has caused nothing but chaos and destruction. Money being funneled into these shady operations should be immediately redirected to an intensive reconstruction effort.
- Pressure Turkey and Jordan to cut off ISIS supply routes, and impose sanctions on any country facilitating the sale of oil from IS territory or allowing funds or materials to reach them. No army can function if their supply chain is broken. It’s not an accident these routes start at the Turkish and Jordanian borders.
- Support the Syrian government. An entire year of U.S. airstrikes in Syria have utterly failed to destroy or even significantly weaken ISIS. Of course this is because the real strategy isn’t to bring ISIS down, but rather to contain them and allow them to weaken Assad gradually. If Washington really wanted to stop this group, they would take a hint from Russia and provide the Syrian government with weapons, training and logistical support to enable them to push ISIS back. This means Washington and its allies would have to officially abandon all plans for a forced regime change. They might not like Assad, but the majority of the citizens of Syria support him. In fact he has more support within his country than Obama or the U.S. congress have in America. And at various intervals he’s had more support than Congress and Obama combined. Any government installed after a U.S. backed regime change will be viewed as a puppet government, and will therefore lack the legitimacy needed to stabilize the region. If you need evidence of this, just look at Afghanistan or Iraq.
- Provide direct assistance to rebuild housing, infrastructure and businesses destroyed by the conflict. In the short term temporary refugee camps should be set up in areas outside of the conflict zone, and food and medical supplies shipped in on a regular basis. Yes this will cost money, but so has the five year regime change push that created the problem in the first place.
- Return the refugees to these stabilized regions. It is in no one’s interest to flood Europe with masses of unemployed refugees. Doing so will only lead to heightened tensions and will strengthen xenophobic movements. These people don’t need to be transplanted into the ghettos of Europe, they need their homes back.