Following the latest truck attack on the Christmas Market in Germany, Europe remains on edge and engaged in yet another hunt for a murderous Islamic terrorist. While finding the perpetrator and bringing him to justice is still the top priority, Angela Merkel can’t help but be reminded of her own political vulnerability and the scrutiny her open borders policies have come under. With this complex scenario playing out, the editorial board of the Washington Post has taken it upon themselves to offer some unsolicited history lessons and advice to the Chancellor.
They begin, of course, not by speaking of the imminent threat of Islamic murderers and bombers, but a reminder of the Weimar Republic and how it was “taken over at the ballot box” by nationalists. (Insert #HeadDesk hashtag here.) No… I’m not even kidding. This is obviously the number one threat facing Germany today.
When they do get around to talking about the fact that the west is under attack, the WaPo urges Merkel to take more concrete actions to stop the threat, but they sound suspiciously like the same things that the “nationalists” are pushing for. (Please do take a moment to at least read this excerpt, even if you don’t read their entire editorial.)
The question, then, for all Germans, starting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, is how to make sure today’s terrorists meet the same defeat that the Red Army Faction met during the 1970s. The first step, as Ms. Merkel had begun to recognize already in response to previous violent incidents, is to address the weaknesses of her open-door policy toward asylum seekers from the Middle East and elsewhere. This brought more than a million newcomers to the country last year amid abundant, almost giddy voluntary aid from many Germans — before the mood soured amid organizational chaos and well-publicized criminal acts by some newcomers.
Ms. Merkel’s response to the refugee crisis was admirable, but sustainability, especially political sustainability, of the policy must now be the objective. That means better, swifter screening of migrants, better integration of those who qualify to stay as refugees and the removal of those who lack an authentic asylum claim. Germany may need a more general attitude adjustment toward security; due to privacy concerns, for example, it has been slower than the United States and United Kingdom to adopt video surveillance of public spaces.
The entire piece is yet another slap at “radical right wing nationalists” in Europe with the inescapable comparisons to Donald Trump in the United States. Fighting against people from other misunderstood cultures (presumably like the Taliban and ISIS) is a bad thing, you see. What’s important is to uphold the law, but not reject all of these other wonderful cultures or get too finicky about your borders while doing so.
But let’s consider for a moment the specific suggestions being put forward here. They address the weakness of her open door policy toward asylum seekers from the Middle East. Excuse me? I’m pretty sure that’s what the rest of us have been saying all along. They then reverse course completely, citing the need to have political sustainability for these same “weak” policies which got the Germans where they are now.
This leads to a mind numbing call for:
1. Better “screening” of migrants.
Excuse me, but isn’t that pretty much asking for “extreme vetting?”
2. Better “integration” of qualified asylum seekers.
Um… that’s been one of the chief complaints from your detractors in the Freedom Party. Your culture is being eroded because the flood of new arrivals aren’t assimilating.
3. The removal of those who lack an authentic asylum claim.
Say… that’s a pretty good idea. Over here in the United States we call that “deportation.” Gee.. why didn’t we think of that?
4. An “attitude adjustment” about security and more video surveillance.
You want more cameras in public spaces recording the identity and movements of people? You know, if you tied in some facial recognition software and a database of known asylum seekers you could really be on to some…. Hold the phone, Phil! Who wrote this? The WaPo editorial board or Ted Cruz?
In retrospect, perhaps the Germans should take a look at the Washington Post tip sheet after all. Once you push past all of the usual insults towards conservatives and the President Elect, they’ve actually got some pretty good ideas. It’s just a shame the editors don’t want to see the same policies enacted here at home.