Recently there was much to do about the sheer numbers of refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria….the conversation has been heated at times and damn right ugly at others…..the world is struggling to find an answer to the problem of this mass migration……and sadly too many do not what it means to be a refugee and on the run to try and save what is left of one’s family……
That is a whole set of posts to try and explain and then most of the effort will be in vain…..because few care!
I have been studying war since my days at university….it is a complex situation that has many ways of approaching it….my interests came from serving in the US Army in Vietnam and the obscenity of war fascinated me….and I have spent 40+ years trying to understand the concept.
The hot button issue of the day is of course ISIS/ISIL/IS/ whatever……mostly we hear the promises of candidates to end this war and bring about the demise of this barbaric violent cult……but sadly I have heard NOTHING that would make me confident that the speakers have any idea of what a defeat would involve….and yet they continue to rattle on….and on….and……
Meanwhile back to the original thought……the crush of refugees…..is it possible that this was by design and not a side effect?
About here someone has got to be asking ……what the Hell? Right?
In recent years, it has been widely argued that a new and different armament – i.e., the refugee as weapon – has entered the world’s arsenals. But just how new and different is this weapon? Can it only be used in wartime? And just how successful has been its exploitation? Using a combination of statistical data and case study analysis, this article tackles these questions and provides a detailed examination of the instrumental manipulation of population movements as political and military weapons of war. In addition to ‘mapping the terrain’ of the issue by providing a comprehensive typology of the most common means by – and desired ends for – which displaced persons have been used as political and military weapons since the end of the Cold War, the author also provides a portrait of the identities of the kinds of actors most likely to engage in this kind of exploitation. She also proposes an explanation for what motivates them to resort – and apparently increasingly so – to the use of this unconventional policy tool, despite the reputational and potential retributive costs of doing so.
Strategic Engineered Migration as a Weapon of War. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232943300_Strategic_Engineered_Migration_as_a_Weapon_of_War
The question is, in today’s situation, are the flow of refugees by design……is it being used to overwhelm the policies of a targeted country?
A short synopsis of a study of the topic…..by Kelly M. Greenhill in the book “Weapons of Mass Migration”…….
At first glance, the U.S. decision to escalate the war in Vietnam in the mid-1960s, China’s position on North Korea’s nuclear program in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the EU resolution to lift what remained of the arms embargo against Libya in the mid-2000s would appear to share little in common. Yet each of these seemingly unconnected and far-reaching foreign policy decisions resulted at least in part from the exercise of a unique kind of coercion, one predicated on the intentional creation, manipulation, and exploitation of real or threatened mass population movements.
In Weapons of Mass Migration, Kelly M. Greenhill offers the first systematic examination of this widely deployed but largely unrecognized instrument of state influence. She shows both how often this unorthodox brand of coercion has been attempted (more than fifty times in the last half century) and how successful it has been (well over half the time). She also tackles the questions of who employs this policy tool, to what ends, and how and why it ever works. Coercers aim to affect target states’ behavior by exploiting the existence of competing political interests and groups, Greenhill argues, and by manipulating the costs or risks imposed on target state populations.
This “coercion by punishment” strategy can be effected in two ways: the first relies on straightforward threats to overwhelm a target’s capacity to accommodate a refugee or migrant influx; the second, on a kind of norms-enhanced political blackmail that exploits the existence of legal and normative commitments to those fleeing violence, persecution, or privation. The theory is further illustrated and tested in a variety of case studies from Europe, East Asia, and North America. To help potential targets better respond to—and protect themselves against—this kind of unconventional predation, Weapons of Mass Migration also offers practicable policy recommendations for scholars, government officials, and anyone concerned about the true victims of this kind of coercion—the displaced themselves.
The question remains……is the migration of people in the Middle East being used as a weapon?