There’s always an easy convenient quick solution to any persistent problems we face today but the question is whether it is viable/sustainable and more importantly whether it is compatible with perceived values and ideologies of the nation and/or the political alliance involved.
To progress further on this last point about values and ideologies let’s agree with a very basic reality we face today in world growing ever more complex by the day which is this; the real war we face today is less about hard power which evokes compelled action through coercion and more about soft power which induces voluntary action through among others ideological influence based on shared/fundamental values. This has always been the case post WWII and during the Cold War years but let me suggest that in this day-and-age this remains the case but more so now than ever before.
Now if you dispute the single reality then may I suggest you stop reading at this point and find materials inline with your own belief system because this premise serves as the foundation for this post.
With that out of the way – and if you’re still around – let me say that in my opinion the Sunak/Baverman Strategy to halt illegal migration through the English channel is not only unworkable for a whole host of reasons starting with the fact that they’re focused primarily with the politics rather the desperation that drives people to take these risks; but it also potentially illegal particularly the aspect of restraining asylum seekers arriving through the channel from the ability to seek asylum “period”. More importantly these new laws if passed damages what I believe to be fundamental democratic principles/values that served as a cornerstone of the western alliance tradition for over 70 years and here’s why;
The idea of scapegoating vulnerable immigrants who have risked everything they own including their own lives for the quest of a better future for themselves and their families who predominantly come from damaged nations many of which we share responsibility for their predicament is simply wrong and solves absolutely nothing. Instead, the focus needs to be directed towards breaking up criminal gangs involved in such people smuggling schemes because without them being completely destroyed their scheme will be adapted to develop counter strategies to whatever actions we take. What bothers me the most and which I consider truly appalling is the fact that proponents of this strategy of scapegoating vulnerable immigrants while presenting this stupidly as an excuse to fight people smuggling gangs are themselves of migrant backgrounds – sometimes even double or triple hop migrants – something that’s not lost on many but also reveals their own moral deficiency and the sad background they come from irrespective of what they’ve achieved because the solid foundation is not there.
Let me point out that I am an immigrant myself though not in the asylum seeker category and though I totally appreciate the need to control illegal immigration in all its forms this needs to be accomplished through a proper well defined/adaptable strategy not through convenient political patchwork designed to penalise the most vulnerable; this while ignoring root causes of the increase in global immigration some of which are direct/indirect results of our own actions or lack thereof and due to flawed foreign policy/aid strategies.
As for the migrant boats issue the solutions are clear/straight forward at least insofar as to get us started in developing a strategy to deal with the issue (in close cooperation with the EU and other key players otherwise it won’t work);
- Start being serious about fighting and breaking up criminal gangs involved and this people smuggling schemes going after their assets and infrastructure. I cannot believe that with the firepower and technology advances at our disposal this is not possible or feasible.
- Develop and expand immigration processing centres in regions where illegal immigrant/people smuggling flows are at its highest level this while developing agreements with nations involved with a clear set of penalties where cooperation is not forthcoming in taking full responsibility of their borders.
- Where possible/feasible – following from point 2 – agreements to allow immigration officers/advisers to be present to help process travellers in ports and airports as well as adapt strategies to identify/help break up existing gangs that are in the people smuggling business.
- The policy of restricting illegal immigrants arriving through the channel from seeking asylum or shipping them like chickens to another country should be scrapped altogether, this is truly disgusting. In addition all future policies with regards to illegal immigration and people smuggling must be cleared by international bodies like the UNHCR and the ECHR before they are even debated in parliament.
The main thrust of this post is simple; let’s not oversimplify solutions for political expediency and convenience and consider the wider context in terms of long-term consequences to our policies and actions. In other words, let’s stand for what we preach otherwise we lose the battle of ideologies for good; the battle that began getting truly serious with the election of Donald Trump – where the vulnerability of the western alliance was bare for all to see having a fruitcake at its helm – and the rise of the alt-right ideology that’s undermining decades worth of the democratic/liberal evolution and the expansion of the western alliance since WWII through xenophobic trends based on fear and false choices/narratives. If we continue to focus on binary transactional deals/short-term financial incentives and convenient work arounds to tough questions the solutions will eventually end up on our debit column as I quite often repeat in my posts because we undermine the soft power that’s been fundamental to the evolution/progression of the western alliance; this is our blind spot that no one seems to be paying attention to as far as I can see.
Moreover let me assure you that there are much better options that could provide a win-win proposition in both minimizing immigration while at the same time advancing the influence of the western alliance and it’s ideology throughout the world and undermining the alt-right false narratives we see today. This is based on governance models from the past that can serve as a guide in shaping a much more pragmatic/sustainable future for all; and I’m not bluffing!
Hope this helps.