Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi shocked Europe last week by comparing the European Union to the “orchestra playing on the Titanic.”
Beyond the Eurozone debt crisis and skyrocketing youth unemployment, Europe is being transformed. Naive, some might say suicidal, policies on immigration, security and refugee resettlement could spell the end of Western society as we know it.
Europe’s weakest link in the worst migrant crisis since World War-II is the land route through Macedonia, a tiny Balkan country surrounded on three sides by NATO and EU countries, Greece, Albania, and Bulgaria. Those allies help one another, but not Macedonia since it’s locked out of European integration by Greece.
Despite a population of just 2 million, last year Macedonia processed close to 750,000 asylum seekers on their way to Northern and Western Europe.
With the spring approaching and another tidal wave of migrants expected, this broken system must be fixed. Immediately.
Despite all the attention on 1 million asylum seekers reaching Germany last year, in truth, the masses from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia have been streaming in for decades.
Germany and France now count roughly 5 million Muslims each, with the U.K. following at nearly 3 million.
And as we’ve seen in places like Paris, Brussels, Cologne, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Stockholm and beyond, far too many aren’t adjusting well. Ditto for San Bernardino back stateside.
Even getting past today’s global jihad against us infidels, most Muslim migrants and refugees self-segregate within Europe’s urban centers. Many still adhere to Sharia Law, a Seventh Century legal code governing all aspects of life, and widely supported by the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. It subjects women to apartheid status and abuse, while sanctioning pedophilia and honor killings.
Since the United Nations claims 244 million people live outside their country of origin in 2015 — that makes the 4 million who’ve fled Syria seem tiny. Translation: things will get worse.
To their credit, Europeans worked tremendously hard to rebuild the continent after they destroyed it twice in the past century. Today, despite average 12 percent unemployment, generous European welfare states are a virtual paradise for a migrant from a poor country. Thus we can’t blame people for coming.
Yet there’s a reason for the truism, “good fences make good neighbors.” In the Balkans, a fence is a no brainer.
And beyond fences, Western refugee policy needs a major overhaul.
Last time I checked, Japan processed 5,000 asylum applications last year and had accepted just 11. And it’s terror-free.
Meanwhile, the rich Gulf States led by Saudi Arabia — the wellspring of radical Islam fueling today’s terrorism epidemic, have accepted far fewer Syrians and Iraqis as Europe or fellow Muslim nations like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.
So what should Western society do?
First, fix Macedonian border security. It’s the crucial gateway into Europe, a lynchpin in Western defenses — and the bottleneck for a tsunami of migrants. Help them construct a fence on their southern border, physically stopping the migrant express from Greece.
Second, create a Balkan Center in Skopje. NATO should deploy troops to not just protect Macedonian borders, but also to combat trafficking in persons, arms and drugs.
Next, as Germany takes lead of NATO naval patrols around Greek and Italian islands, magnets for human trafficking and drugs, the Alliance should ship people back immediately. That would deter dangerous sea crossings and help put criminal networks out of business.
Then, lean on Greece to stop blocking Macedonia’s integration into European economic and military alliances over refusal to label itself “FYROM,” a.k.a. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Lastly, we should support Parliamentary elections in April as per 2015 EU-brokered internal Macedonian agreement to ensure continued stability. Former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who led Macedonia from 2006 until resigning last month, is being tested by the former Communist party which plans to boycott, preferring blackmail instead. His primary challenger, Zoran Zaev famously released doctored audio files of Gruevski’s private conversations — a tactic the old KGB would be proud of. Since Zaev trails in the polls, he’s trying to short-circuit the process. No true democracy would tolerate such political corruption. And Zaev’s legislative innovation – the media bill effectively allowing censorship hearkens back the communist era.
Beyond just Macedonia, Westerners also need to understand what’s happening from a strategic perspective.
Europe is under siege by a massive hybrid war, meant to bring down the EU and NATO. One reason for Russia’s indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas in Syria is so Vladimir Putin can widen the floodgates of migrants pouring into Europe’s soft underbelly. Neo-anarchists and Communists are also committed to destabilizing Western society, using terms like “xenophobia” and “racism” as their weapons of choice. We must see right through all of this and call their bluff.
The bottom line is, Western society is worth fighting for. Macedonia is a great place to start.
J.D. Gordon is a retired Navy Commander and former Pentagon spokesman who served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for a Secure Free Society.