European governments say they are willing to send funds to Africa to decrease interest in migrating to Europe. Such a program would, in effect, turn African presidents and prime ministers into Europe’s gatekeepers.
In 2015, the level of dislocation internationally is worse than during any other period since World War II ended. In Syria alone, it is estimated that 11 million people have been displaced, with four million outside the country in neighboring states and other regions. People from not only Africa but across Asia are flooding out of their geopolitical areas seeking refuge from imperialist war and the burgeoning world crisis of capitalism.
Rather than address the actual causes of dislocation, migration and the refugee problem, the imperialist states in Europe and their allies are seeking to contain the crisis within the oppressed nations. These are the same nations the imperialists have destroyed through centuries of enslavement, colonization, neocolonization, superexploitation and militarism.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea into southern, central and eastern Europe in recent months, creating a humanitarian crisis and exposing the EU government’s racism. Despite the EU’s offer of billions to stem the tide of migration, African leaders, even those with close political and economic ties to the imperialist states, have looked upon these proposals with skepticism and outright rejection.
The British Broadcasting Corporation’s Europe editor, Katya Adler, wrote on Nov. 13 that “in addition to NGO concerns … African leaders widely dismissed EU offers of cash and other aid, as far too little to tackle the root causes of migration. As flowers go, the extra aid package doesn’t even make the gaudy plastic category.”
Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is heavily dependent upon United States and EU funding for the 22,000-member African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). This force, along with U.S. and NATO intelligence advisers, handles Somalia’s security.
Nevertheless, Adler noted that “Somalia’s distinctly unimpressed Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke put it to the BBC that Africa needed investment, not charity, to improve its economies. The same as the U.S., the EU or anywhere else in the world, he said.”
Somalia’s experience illustrates that Western aid and military occupation does not necessarily translate into social stability and economic prosperity.
Moreover, the EU countries have been unable to raise the funds for this proposed project. Their commitment is lukewarm, apparently reflecting doubts about the program’s efficacy. Pledges of aid and other forms of assistance over the last two decades have done very little to halt migration when the foreign policies of these European states have largely been shaped by Washington’s so-called “war on terrorism.”
European divisions over migration
Growth in migration from Africa to Europe has accelerated during 2015, dividing the EU politically. Hundreds of thousands of migrants are being trafficked across North Africa to the Mediterranean, where countless numbers have drowned since January.
Migrants have run into barriers and brutality in eastern Europe, where several governments are calling for a total ban on people originating in Africa, the Middle East and Asia from entering their countries. Images of desperate migrants being hosed with water cannons evoke sympathy for their plight as well as outrage over such treatment.
Adler’s article also says: “Cross-border co-operation is disintegrating as barbed wire goes up and borders slam shut across Europe: in Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Sweden, Norway. Even Germany is toughening border regulations. In stark contrast to the warm welcome given to hundreds or thousands earlier this autumn, Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s hugely popular finance minister, has begun to mutter darkly about a migrant ‘avalanche’ engulfing his country. There’s little evidence of the EU — more of each country for itself.”
Continued divisions within the EU prompted Council President Donald Tusk to warn that Schengen — the EU agreement allowing passport-free border passage across much of Europe — is in danger of collapse. This accord has been championed internationally as major contributor to the integration of the continent.
Reactions to Paris attacks reinforce militarism and racism
The EU fails to address the underlying issues of imperialist war and the global economic crisis, relying instead on military and police solutions. This new scheme to fund African states to essentially imprison their own people will also collapse.
The attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that resulted in the deaths of approximately 130 people in a series of operations claimed by the Islamic State have prompted a security crackdown in France and other EU states. In a Nov. 16 speech, Socialist Party President François Hollande called for the revision of the French Constitution to allow even greater powers for intelligence and law-enforcement agencies.
Hollande immediately escalated France’s bombing of Syria. This response will create further dislocation both inside and outside of the embattled West Asian state while the doors of migration will be further closed from Europe to the U.S., where politicians have already announced the denial of admission to Syrian nationals.
Washington has led world imperialism’s assault, which has laid waste to huge swaths of territory throughout north and east Africa, extending into the Arabian Peninsula and down into central and southern Asia. The U.S. and NATO occupation of Afghanistan was carried out under the guise of fighting “Islamic extremism and terrorism.”
This war was a direct outcome of the efforts by the administration of President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to undermine the Soviet-allied socialist government in Afghanistan. With the fall of the Soviet Union and other eastern and central European socialist states, the emphasis of imperialism was shifted to the attempted realization of a “unipolar world,” where Washington and its allies in western Europe would dominate military and economic power globally.
Consequently, the “war on terror” is a misnomer. The advent of many of the “extremist groups” is a direct product of imperialist foreign policy.
Retired President Fidel Castro, the former leader of the revolutionary island-nation of Cuba, charged in a column written on Aug. 31, 2014, that leading U.S. political figures are responsible for the creation of the Islamic State. He condemned the war policies of Washington and issued a challenge for the modern period.
Castro asked: “Would it not be preferable to struggle to produce food and industrial products; build hospitals and schools for billions of human beings who desperately need them; promote art and culture; struggle against epidemics which lead to the death of half of the sick, health workers and technicians, as can be seen; or finally eliminate illnesses like cancer, Ebola, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, diabetes and others which affect the vital systems of human beings?” (Granma International)
The Cuban theorist and tactician concludes by inquiring: “If today it is possible to prolong life, health and the productive time of persons, if it is perfectly possible to plan the development of the population in accordance with growing productivity, culture and development of human values, what are they waiting for to do so? Just ideas will triumph, or disaster will triumph.”