What To Do About Middle Eastern Refugees?

Millions of people are streaming out of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Many are fleeing (or have fled, making an intermediate stop in Turkey) from ISIS, others from Assad. This refugee crisis has already roiled European politics, and some are advocating that the United States take in even more Middle Eastern refugees than we already are. What is missing from this picture? Michael Ramirez weighs in with his usual insight; click to enlarge:


I have been saying for quite a while now that the U.S. should organize a military coalition to attack and utterly destroy ISIS. The cost of not doing so, both human and material, vastly exceeds the cost of taking decisive action.

That still leaves Assad, of course. Walter Russell Mead notes a report from Finland’s former president that the Obama administration (along with Britain and France) turned down an offer by Putin to throw Assad under the bus, back in 2012:

[Former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti] Ahtisaari held talks with envoys from the five permanent members of the UN security council in February 2012. He said that during those discussions, the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, laid out a three-point plan, which included a proposal for Assad to cede power at some point after peace talks had started between the regime and the opposition.

But he said that the US, Britain and France were so convinced that the Syrian dictator was about to fall, they ignored the proposal.

“It was an opportunity lost in 2012,” Ahtisaari said in an interview.[..]

The President’s string of misjudgments on the Middle East—on the peace process, Erdogan, withdrawal from Iraq, Libya, ISIS as the “J.V. team”, and Syria—is one of the most striking examples of serial failure in the annals of American foreign policy.

Generally speaking, what the President seems worst at is estimating the direction in which events are flowing. He thought Erdogan was taking Turkey in one direction; Erdogan was going somewhere else. He thought there was a transition to democracy in Egypt; there never was a prospect of that. He has repeatedly been caught flatfooted by events in Syria. And Putin keeps running rings around him.

Understanding the intentions and estimating the capabilities of people who don’t share his worldview are not our President’s strong suits.

In any event, it makes much more sense to take decisive military action against–at a minimum–ISIS, rather than trying to deal for years to come with millions of refugees.