On immigration and trade, Republicans who opposed Donald Trump have more in common with Democrats than they do with fellow party members who backed the businessman from the start.
A SurveyMonkey poll conducted for the website FiveThirtyEight found that whereas 76 percent of Trump’s supporters want immigration to fall, only 21 percent of anti-Trump Republicans agree it must come down. That’s close to the 26 percent of Democrats who say immigration is too high.
61 percent of non-Trump Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats, by contrast, agree that immigration should stay more or less the same. The remaining 17 and 22 percent, respectively, would welcome higher immigration.
There is similar cross-party agreement on trade. Half of Trump’s supporters think trade deals are bad for the American economy; only 20 percent of anti-Trump Republicans agree against 28 percent of all Democrats.
The American Interest has a bizarre piece that suggests European countries should do more “icky things like dropping bombs” to stem the refugee flow from the Middle East and North Africa.
The publication’s Nicholas M. Gallagher criticizes European Union plans to boost aid spending for the region, arguing that such plans in practice mean “bribing the local government to do the kind of deterrence work Europe would rather not do itself.”
There’s something to this. Consider the EU deal with Turkey, which gave the latter €6 billion in financial support to cope with refugees as well as the promise of visa liberalization.
But Gallagher oversimplifies. Turkey is housing and providing for nearly one million war refugees from neighboring Syria. It actually needs the money. You can call it a bribe; it’s still supposed to end up helping people. (Whether or not the Turks will use the money the way they’re supposed to is another matter.)
Moreover, the deal with Turkey has had an effect. Gallagher neglects to mention this, but the number of people reaching Greek shores from across the Aegean has fallen dramatically since Turkey started taking back migrants who made the journey.
Turkey has threatened to stop readmitting refugees who cross over into the European Union illegally unless the bloc liberalizes its visa regulations for Turkish nationals.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made the threat at a conference in Istanbul on Tuesday, a day after meeting with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
Merkel reiterated the European position on Monday, which is that Turkey needs to reform its sweeping anti-terror laws before travel restrictions can be lifted. Under current legislation, academics and journalists can be prosecuted for “propagandizing” terrorism.
Erdoğan has refused, citing Turkey’s ongoing counterterrorism efforts against Islamists and Kurdish separatists.
German chancellor Angela Merkel appears to have found a way to restore the peace in her ruling coalition with a deal that controls the refugee flow coming in from Austria.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière announced in Berlin that temporary checks on the southern border will remain in place until the European Union as a whole succeeds in controlling its external frontiers.
Their economy is growing 4.5 percent this year and unemployment has fallen to its lowest level since the financial crisis yet Swedes are acting “as if everything is going in the wrong direction,” complains their prime minister, Stefan Löfven.
In an interview with the Financial Times, the Social Democrat insists that “all the numbers are going in the right direction, but the picture the public have is that the country is now going in the wrong direction.”
European Union countries reached an agreement with Turkey on Friday that they hope will stem the flow of migrants to the continent. But serious doubts about the plan’s workability remain.
Under the deal, migrants reaching the Greek islands from Turkey should be returned. For every Syrian national who is returned to Turkey, the EU would resettle one from refugee camps in Turkey. But the bloc will only take 72,000 at most when millions of Syrians have fled the violence in their country.
When Germany and Turkey tentatively agreed much the same scheme in early March, this website argued that it was likely to disappoint. Our doubts are still the same.
Some 2,000 people land on Greek beaches every day. Officials struggle to fingerprint and register every arrival as it is. Many of them are impatient to travel on to the richer nations of Northern and Western Europe. Forcing people back could get ugly.
German businesses are largely dissatisfied with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policy.
In a survey conducted for Handelsblatt by the Forsa Institute, 68 percent of managers said they were unhappy with Merkel’s open-door policy against 32 percent who support it.
The owners of small and medium-sized companies are the least satisfied whereas 45 percent of executives are large corporations agree with Merkel’s approach.
Business leaders big and small nevertheless blamed her resistance to more stringent measures for the rise of the Alternative für Deutschland, an anti-immigrant party that made gains in state elections this weekend.
A proposal from Germany and Turkey to stop the uncontrolled flow of migrants into Europe could be marred by legal and political objections.
A deal reached on Monday would see Turkey take back migrants who have traveled to Greek islands. For every Syrian who is returned to Turkey, the EU would take a Syrian refugee from camps in the country.
Such a swap could involve hundreds of thousands at a time when European countries, especially Germany, are already overwhelmed by a record influx of people — and when the EU as a whole has managed to resettle just 3,400 asylum seekers under its existing scheme. Read more “German-Turkish Migration Pact Almost Certain to Flop”
NATO’s top military commander on Tuesday accused Russia and its vassal in Syria of “weaponizing” refugees in an attempt to break Europe’s political will.
General Philip Breedlove, the West’s supreme allied commander, told senators in Washington DC that he could think of no reason for the deliberate targeting of civilians in Syria “other than to cause refugees to be on the move and make them someone else’s problem.”
“I use the term weaponization of immigration,” he said.
The barrel bombs used by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which Russia protects, have no “military utility,” Breedlove pointed out, and are “designed to terrorize, get people out of their homes and get them on the road.”