International Politics

Pointing Fingers At Refugees Distracts From Other Crises

Half the world is currently involved in a major refugee crisis. War in the middle east drives hundreds of thousands of people through the Balkans toward western Europe, the drug war in Latin America drives thousands across the Mexican border into the US, and ongoing unrest in north Africa drives people across the Mediterranean, toward the EU.

In the US, “illegal immigration” has become a primary issue for the Republican party presidential nomination, while in Europe the media has focused almost exclusively on migrant disasters in Germany, Hungary, Greece, and Macedonia. Stories about solving the “migrant problem” dominate the discourse, whether it’s about how to help or deter refugees.

These are important discussions to have, but sometimes they hurt more than help the situation. It’s hard to find major media outlets writing about accepting refugees as a fact of life, and committing to adapt in order to accommodate them in the long term. Instead, we keep arguing about whether we should even care, as if we could morally justify watching people with shrapnel injuries starve in our streets while we sip on our Starbucks.

We’re Ignoring Everything Else

There are a lot of important things happening in the world right now that merit our attention. They’re in the news on the back pages and the sidebar links that nobody really clicks on. We’re not listening, and that’s a big problem. Here are a couple of news bits that deserve a closer look.

Turkey is about to launch a civil war against Turkish Kurds, which is majorly damaging to US and EU interests in the fight against ISIS.

The Russian military just started arriving in Damascus and will begin fighting on behalf of Bashar al’ Assad against ISIS and other rebel groups.

There are violent protests in Kiev by nationalists who are opposed to granting autonomy to rebel areas in Ukraine’s east. Failure to resolve this conflict could have major implications for ongoing tensions between NATO and Russia.

Any of these things could blow up into the next massive disaster, but we don’t want to pay attention to geopolitical fires until they’re actively burning an entire country to the ground.


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