Donald Trump is obviously a bigot. He has earned a pile of scorn for saying that most Syrian refugees are men. He reportedly said:
When I looked at the migration, when I looked at the line … where are the women?… There look like very few women. Very few children. Strong, powerful men. Young. And people are looking at that and saying, ‘What’s going on?’
In reality, it appears that about half of the refugees are roughly equally divided between men and women. The men seem to be rather more at the front of queue, but we need to look at the whole queue. So, as usual, Trump is over-egging the pudding.
But, but, but, he is probably right about the demographic of all those refugees who participated in mass sexual molestation in Germany on New Year’s Eve. And the lefties have a fair point when they say, “Would you not prefer to run away to live in Europe rather than stay and fight for your country”. And they are also right that the refugee men are not properly equipped to fight. But there remain a couple of residual problems with that approach:
- ISIS are not that numerous. They have been achieving military success because of a lack a credible opposition that will stand up to them. Complicated, of course, what with Assad in the mix. But there we are. The Nazis were complicated too, but just think where we would be today if no-one had stood up to them. In the end, the people who stood up to them were mostly butchers and bakers and candlestick makers.
- It will be very bad news for everyone if ISIS is allowed to continue their murderous regime unopposed by effective boots on the ground.
- The conventional wisdom is right that it would be a very bad thing if those boots were filled by Western – or non-local – feet.
- There is a real problem for Germany and other countries in terms of what to do with all the refugees. And piling them up in a camp outside in Calais is hardly a good solution.
So, maybe a deal is in order. Maybe the Western countries, and indeed all the countries around the world, should say to the refugees:
- We, through the UN, are going to train, equip and deploy an army to bring peace to Syria and Iraq.
- The young men among you, and those women who want to be, will be in that army. Women who do not need to be looking after little ones, and who do not want to fight, will help with “behind the lines” work.
- While you are being trained, you will live in army training camps.
- Our air strikes (probably a bad idea, but they are happening) will then have an effective ground force to support.
- The result of this will be that Syria and Iraq will be rendered fit places to live again. Assad will be deposed, and ISIS will be history.
- If you serve with distinction in this campaign, you can then make the choice after the war is won of returning to your home or staying in the place – duly earned – where you have sought refuge.
- If you refuse this deal, you will not get refugee status.
David Cameron wants to see a moderate ground force of 70,000. He has not now got it. There have been 4 million refugees so far. If we could get just 20% of these into an organised army, we would have 10 times as many as David Cameron’s desideratum.
Now, obviously, given the choice between a cushy life on benefits in Europe and fighting in an army, many would plump for the cushy option. But the freedom of one’s country should be worth fighting for. My father’s generation had to fight for 6 years to get rid of the Nazis. They had help, of course. Butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, both men and women, from the UK, the British Empire (as it then was), the USA and even a few from Europe were put into uniform, housed, trained, supported and given air support. It was not something they expected, or on the whole wanted to do. But they stepped up to the plate, performed magnificently, and did the world a huge service. It would have been a disaster if they had not.
It is asking too much that the Syrians who have fled their country might, with the help they will need, do the same?