Clearly the folks at the European Union Parliament are in a bit of a snit these days. To say that President Trump and some of his immigration and security policies are less than popular with the ruling socialist elite in that body would be more than a bit of an understatement. The idea that visitors from some European countries where terrorism problems have been cropping up should be asked to provide documentation before visiting the United States has clearly come as something of an insult to them for the past few years. Clearly the only rational response from such an august body would be to open a meaningful dialogue with the White House and come to a meeting of the minds. Naw, I’m just kidding. They decided to throw a temper tantrum and pass a resolution suggesting Americans shouldn’t be able to travel to various European nations without a visa either. (New York Times)
The European Parliament has passed a nonbinding resolution calling for the reintroduction of visa requirements for American citizens, raising the stakes in a long-running battle over the United States’ refusal to grant visa-free access to citizens of five European Union countries.
In the vote on Thursday, European lawmakers played tit-for-tat in their dispute with the United States, demanding restrictions on American travelers unless the Trump administration lifts travel requirements for citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.
“You’re talking about citizens from countries, like Poland, with a major diaspora” in the United States, Claude Moraes, the British lawmaker who leads the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament, said in a telephone interview on Friday. “You’re really seeing frustration and anger, and without any timetable, this is becoming increasingly seen as second-class treatment.”
Obviously there is a part of me which wants to immediately be offended. After all, we are theoretically all in this battle together and fighting against a common enemy. The reality of the situation is that a number of countries (yes, primarily Muslim nations) are not only generating, but exporting a significant number of terrorists who are causing mayhem everywhere you look. Before they begin crossing any borders it just seems like common sense to be doing a little poking around into their backgrounds. Conversely, I cannot recall a single instance of any United States citizens traveling illicitly to Europe for the purpose of engaging in terrorism against our allies.
But as I said, that’s simply a knee-jerk reaction and does not fit in well with the realities the 21st century. Here’s the first thing to keep in mind: this diplomatic food fight doesn’t even have anything to do with Trump’s policies. This is a debate which is been going on for a couple of years and began with the Obama administration. (Though I’m sure the fact that they are only moving forward with these grandstanding measures now is a signal that the arrival of Donald Trump has aggravated the situation for them.)
No matter where it started, the solution to this problem should be relatively simple. Why are we expecting any other countries to allow our citizens to travel there without whatever documentation they demand in the first place? This isn’t simply a question of tit-for-tat or what’s good for the goose being good for the gander. Every country should be taking care of their own border security and checking who is coming in and out. If that means that any particular nation wants to require a visa for tourism or otherwise I say that’s entirely up to them. And if any Americans want to travel to those countries and don’t feel like going through the steps of getting a visa then they don’t need to go.
We no longer live in a world where anyone can afford to be that trusting. If individual countries (such as the United States and Canada) want to make arrangements for more lax border crossing procedures, that’s up to them. But if the members of the European Union want to take their security more seriously and apply the same requirements across the board, who are we to question their judgment? The EU Parliament may think they are insulting us, but the adult approach of the 21st century would be to simply modify the instructions provided to Americans wishing to travel abroad and have them comply accordingly.