Category: Alex Alexiev

Immigration Disaster Looms in Germany


Milton Friedman once said open borders and the welfare state are incompatible.  This is easy to prove in California, where, according to a recent essay by Victor Davis Hanson, half of all immigrant households are on welfare and the state accounts for a third of the nation’s welfare recipients with only 12% of its population, even as 20% of California’s population lives below the poverty line.  Recent figures published in Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany, indicate that following Angela Merkel’s disastrous open-borders experiment of two and a half years ago, that country is well on its way to joining California in proving the wisdom of Friedman’s admonition, to the huge detriment of the German people.

Official figures of the German statistical office show that beginning in 2015, Germany accepted 1.4 million asylum applications.  According to detailed figures from 2016, 71.4% were granted asylum or “subsidiary” protected status, while 28.6% were rejected.  Being rejected, however, did not at all mean that you had to leave Germany or were in danger of being deported.  Most of those rejected filed an appeal (64,251 in 2016), and 31.7% of those received a negative decision.  Even then, few of those rejected left voluntarily, and even fewer were deported.  According to the daily Die Welt, citing government figures, most of the migrants remain in Germany, regardless of the asylum decision.

Because very few of the refugees would qualify as persecuted for their political or religious beliefs, the traditional reasons for claiming refugee status, under Merkel, the German government has de facto created a right to better life for migrants from poor countries, which means that the economic incentives to migration remain extremely powerful.  Indeed, nobody in Germany has any illusions about this.  The difference between the nominally conservative CSU of Bavaria and the pro-immigration social democrats (SPD), for instance, is that the former want to limit immigration to 200,000 per annum, while the latter do not want any limits at all.

In reality, this is a phony debate, because German law allows chain migration, which means that the actual numbers will be dramatically higher in the future, regardless of politicians’ grandstanding.  The law says a recognized refugee has the right to bring in his spouse and children, while minor migrants, who made 36% of the total in 2016, can also bring their parents and their siblings.  Since 2015, 230,000 migrants have had their reunification applications accepted, while another 390,000 refugees from Syria alone will be eligible by the end of 2018, according to the Focus Online weekly of August 29, 2017.  On the basis of these figures alone, reunification will bring at least 2.5 million migrants in the next few years.  Should the approved minimum of 200,000 migrants per year materialize, which is nearly certain, the yearly addition of mostly Muslim and mostly young migrants would swell to approximately 800,000.  This could easily overwhelm a country that has a median age of 47.1 and a fertility rate of 1.47, nearly a third below replacement.

Dismal as these prospects are, of more immediate concern are the huge and clearly unsustainable social and economic costs of the large-scale migration that has already taken place.  The mainstream media in Germany are as predictably leftist and pro-immigration as their American counterparts and are notoriously reluctant to report the reality, but the numerous existing think-tanks and institutes make sure that it cannot be hidden for long.  Various institutes estimate migrants per capita cost at 2,500 euros per month and twice as much for unaccompanied minors.  The total cost per year per million refugees ranges from a low of 30 billion euros by the federal minister of development, Gerd Mueller, to 77 billion euros and more.  It’s worth noting that even the lowest figure is higher than the 27 billion euros Germany spends on its defense budget and that the actual number of migrants at present is already much closer to 2 million.

Perhaps the most disturbing finding about the new wave of migrants is that contrary to the early sanguine predictions by the left of a new “Wirtschaftswunder” in Germany on account of the migrant labor, the future is anything but rosy.  Research has shown that most new migrants have neither much of an education nor any skills.  According to the World Bank, only 6% of Syrian refugees have finished high school, and 59% do not have any education.  And the Syrians are considerably better off in this respect than migrants from Africa – or Afghanistan, for instance, where 52% of the male migrants are illiterate.

Nor are earlier assimilation efforts with the gastarbeiter of the 1960s and 1970s much of a success.  According to a study of the German Institute for Economic Research, most Turks in Germany still live off welfare.  They also continue to entertain strong Islamist sympathies after decades of living in Europe.  Sixty-three percent of them voted for the Islamist Erdoğan in the recent referendum in Turkey, a percentage considerably higher than that in Turkey proper.

Finally, Chancellor Merkel again threatened Eastern Europe with economic consequences in a speech to the Bundestag on February 22.  Follow my disastrous migration policies and take your “fair share” of migrants, she told them, or else.  This is the kind of “solidarity” Eastern Europe should have no problem refusing.

AlexAlexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies.  He can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.

Milton Friedman once said open borders and the welfare state are incompatible.  This is easy to prove in California, where, according to a recent essay by Victor Davis Hanson, half of all immigrant households are on welfare and the state accounts for a third of the nation’s welfare recipients with only 12% of its population, even as 20% of California’s population lives below the poverty line.  Recent figures published in Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany, indicate that following Angela Merkel’s disastrous open-borders experiment of two and a half years ago, that country is well on its way to joining California in proving the wisdom of Friedman’s admonition, to the huge detriment of the German people.

Official figures of the German statistical office show that beginning in 2015, Germany accepted 1.4 million asylum applications.  According to detailed figures from 2016, 71.4% were granted asylum or “subsidiary” protected status, while 28.6% were rejected.  Being rejected, however, did not at all mean that you had to leave Germany or were in danger of being deported.  Most of those rejected filed an appeal (64,251 in 2016), and 31.7% of those received a negative decision.  Even then, few of those rejected left voluntarily, and even fewer were deported.  According to the daily Die Welt, citing government figures, most of the migrants remain in Germany, regardless of the asylum decision.

Because very few of the refugees would qualify as persecuted for their political or religious beliefs, the traditional reasons for claiming refugee status, under Merkel, the German government has de facto created a right to better life for migrants from poor countries, which means that the economic incentives to migration remain extremely powerful.  Indeed, nobody in Germany has any illusions about this.  The difference between the nominally conservative CSU of Bavaria and the pro-immigration social democrats (SPD), for instance, is that the former want to limit immigration to 200,000 per annum, while the latter do not want any limits at all.

In reality, this is a phony debate, because German law allows chain migration, which means that the actual numbers will be dramatically higher in the future, regardless of politicians’ grandstanding.  The law says a recognized refugee has the right to bring in his spouse and children, while minor migrants, who made 36% of the total in 2016, can also bring their parents and their siblings.  Since 2015, 230,000 migrants have had their reunification applications accepted, while another 390,000 refugees from Syria alone will be eligible by the end of 2018, according to the Focus Online weekly of August 29, 2017.  On the basis of these figures alone, reunification will bring at least 2.5 million migrants in the next few years.  Should the approved minimum of 200,000 migrants per year materialize, which is nearly certain, the yearly addition of mostly Muslim and mostly young migrants would swell to approximately 800,000.  This could easily overwhelm a country that has a median age of 47.1 and a fertility rate of 1.47, nearly a third below replacement.

Dismal as these prospects are, of more immediate concern are the huge and clearly unsustainable social and economic costs of the large-scale migration that has already taken place.  The mainstream media in Germany are as predictably leftist and pro-immigration as their American counterparts and are notoriously reluctant to report the reality, but the numerous existing think-tanks and institutes make sure that it cannot be hidden for long.  Various institutes estimate migrants per capita cost at 2,500 euros per month and twice as much for unaccompanied minors.  The total cost per year per million refugees ranges from a low of 30 billion euros by the federal minister of development, Gerd Mueller, to 77 billion euros and more.  It’s worth noting that even the lowest figure is higher than the 27 billion euros Germany spends on its defense budget and that the actual number of migrants at present is already much closer to 2 million.

Perhaps the most disturbing finding about the new wave of migrants is that contrary to the early sanguine predictions by the left of a new “Wirtschaftswunder” in Germany on account of the migrant labor, the future is anything but rosy.  Research has shown that most new migrants have neither much of an education nor any skills.  According to the World Bank, only 6% of Syrian refugees have finished high school, and 59% do not have any education.  And the Syrians are considerably better off in this respect than migrants from Africa – or Afghanistan, for instance, where 52% of the male migrants are illiterate.

Nor are earlier assimilation efforts with the gastarbeiter of the 1960s and 1970s much of a success.  According to a study of the German Institute for Economic Research, most Turks in Germany still live off welfare.  They also continue to entertain strong Islamist sympathies after decades of living in Europe.  Sixty-three percent of them voted for the Islamist Erdoğan in the recent referendum in Turkey, a percentage considerably higher than that in Turkey proper.

Finally, Chancellor Merkel again threatened Eastern Europe with economic consequences in a speech to the Bundestag on February 22.  Follow my disastrous migration policies and take your “fair share” of migrants, she told them, or else.  This is the kind of “solidarity” Eastern Europe should have no problem refusing.

AlexAlexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies.  He can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.



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Angela Merkel's Coming Demise


The failure of German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to form a coalition government in her fourth term of office has, for the first time, given rise to speculations as to her possible demise as the long-time and seemingly indispensable fixture of German and European politics. Such is the respect, bordering on veneration, for ‘Mutti’ Merkel in the European mainstream press, that few bother to look critically at her policies and accept without question her assurances that she “will make sure that her country continues to be well governed.” Yet, there is by now overwhelming evidence that her policies have neither been very successful, nor marked with a great deal of “democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity,” as she has accused President Trump’s agenda of lacking. What this could mean, of course, is that Emperor Angela has no clothes, with all this implies for her political future and for Germany and the European Union beyond.

There is much to criticize in most of her policies from her sudden decision to outlaw the nuclear industry only months after legally extending its operations, to mindlessly tying the destiny of the EU to that of the Greek bailouts (“the end of the Euro is the end of Europe”), her support for Russian pipelines, and several others. But limits of space would allow us to focus only at the two policies of which she was the main architect and proponent: energy transition (Energiewende) and the migrants disaster.

As the German minister of the environment (1994-1998), Merkel was an early and enthusiastic supporter of a wholesale transition to renewable energies in a country not known for either much sun or wind, and became a key organizer of the Kyoto Protocol. By the time she first became chancellor in 2005, the renewable energy law (EEG) was in full swing and its disastrous implications soon manifested themselves. In 2017 German households paid 30 cents per KWh compared to 9 cents in the U.S. and 16 cents in France. This led to 300,000 German families unable to pay their bills and having their electricity disconnected. A large portion of their bill (6.88 cents) was made up of renewable energy surcharges. It is estimated that in ten years the average household will pay euro 440 per annum for electricity, while the cost of the Energiewende would explode to euro 520 billion by 2025, to be borne once again by the German taxpayer. Despite these huge expenses, Germany continues to rely on lignite coal to avoid blackouts and will be unable to meet its CO2 emissions promises for years to come. No wonder a prominent former green executive calls the Energiewende “a disaster in the making.”

As bad as Merkel’s environmental policies were, the impact of her migration policies are a lot worse because they affect many other countries. What happened there very simply was Merkel making a decision without bothering to consult even her cabinet, let alone EU authorities or neighboring countries. And she did that totally disregarding established parliamentary procedures in the Bundestag. So much for the rule of law. It bears reminding that Frau Merkel is the chancellor of Germany, not of Europe, though she certainly acted as the latter in this particular case. She then compounded her error by demanding that the Eastern European EU members accept migrant quotas as determined by the European Commission, that is to say by Berlin. This has set in motion a widening fault line between East and West in the old continent that could imperil the EU long after Merkel is gone.

A monumental green gabfest has come to an end in Bonn with predictably nothing to show. But not to worry, says the left-liberal Zeit weekly, “since there were not any great expectations for it anyway.” Yet, there was and there is plenty to worry for the assembled eco-cabal from 190 countries, if they were to remove the green shades for even a moment, not least because it coincided with the collapse of the efforts to form a government of three German parties that have very little in common. For they were told in no uncertain terms by chancellor Angela Merkel herself that saying goodbye to the hated coal energy in her country is not in the cards for a long time to come, if ever. Coming from the world champion of renewable energy, this must have hurt.  What they were not told would have hurt a lot more, and that is the reality that this experiment in German wishful thinking is collapsing in front of our eyes, very likely spelling doom for the entire renewable utopia.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.but

The failure of German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to form a coalition government in her fourth term of office has, for the first time, given rise to speculations as to her possible demise as the long-time and seemingly indispensable fixture of German and European politics. Such is the respect, bordering on veneration, for ‘Mutti’ Merkel in the European mainstream press, that few bother to look critically at her policies and accept without question her assurances that she “will make sure that her country continues to be well governed.” Yet, there is by now overwhelming evidence that her policies have neither been very successful, nor marked with a great deal of “democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity,” as she has accused President Trump’s agenda of lacking. What this could mean, of course, is that Emperor Angela has no clothes, with all this implies for her political future and for Germany and the European Union beyond.

There is much to criticize in most of her policies from her sudden decision to outlaw the nuclear industry only months after legally extending its operations, to mindlessly tying the destiny of the EU to that of the Greek bailouts (“the end of the Euro is the end of Europe”), her support for Russian pipelines, and several others. But limits of space would allow us to focus only at the two policies of which she was the main architect and proponent: energy transition (Energiewende) and the migrants disaster.

As the German minister of the environment (1994-1998), Merkel was an early and enthusiastic supporter of a wholesale transition to renewable energies in a country not known for either much sun or wind, and became a key organizer of the Kyoto Protocol. By the time she first became chancellor in 2005, the renewable energy law (EEG) was in full swing and its disastrous implications soon manifested themselves. In 2017 German households paid 30 cents per KWh compared to 9 cents in the U.S. and 16 cents in France. This led to 300,000 German families unable to pay their bills and having their electricity disconnected. A large portion of their bill (6.88 cents) was made up of renewable energy surcharges. It is estimated that in ten years the average household will pay euro 440 per annum for electricity, while the cost of the Energiewende would explode to euro 520 billion by 2025, to be borne once again by the German taxpayer. Despite these huge expenses, Germany continues to rely on lignite coal to avoid blackouts and will be unable to meet its CO2 emissions promises for years to come. No wonder a prominent former green executive calls the Energiewende “a disaster in the making.”

As bad as Merkel’s environmental policies were, the impact of her migration policies are a lot worse because they affect many other countries. What happened there very simply was Merkel making a decision without bothering to consult even her cabinet, let alone EU authorities or neighboring countries. And she did that totally disregarding established parliamentary procedures in the Bundestag. So much for the rule of law. It bears reminding that Frau Merkel is the chancellor of Germany, not of Europe, though she certainly acted as the latter in this particular case. She then compounded her error by demanding that the Eastern European EU members accept migrant quotas as determined by the European Commission, that is to say by Berlin. This has set in motion a widening fault line between East and West in the old continent that could imperil the EU long after Merkel is gone.

A monumental green gabfest has come to an end in Bonn with predictably nothing to show. But not to worry, says the left-liberal Zeit weekly, “since there were not any great expectations for it anyway.” Yet, there was and there is plenty to worry for the assembled eco-cabal from 190 countries, if they were to remove the green shades for even a moment, not least because it coincided with the collapse of the efforts to form a government of three German parties that have very little in common. For they were told in no uncertain terms by chancellor Angela Merkel herself that saying goodbye to the hated coal energy in her country is not in the cards for a long time to come, if ever. Coming from the world champion of renewable energy, this must have hurt.  What they were not told would have hurt a lot more, and that is the reality that this experiment in German wishful thinking is collapsing in front of our eyes, very likely spelling doom for the entire renewable utopia.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.but



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A Game-Changer in the House of Saud?


The dramatic events in Saudi Arabia of the past few days portend a game change in the Middle East not seen in decades. Predictably, the mainstream media, desperate as they are to find something, anything to blame on President Trump, have completely missed it. Instead, they have babbled about the market implications of the arrests of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Co., Saudi Arabia ‘emerging’ as an arms manufacturer, conflict with Hezbollah, palace intrigue, etc. etc. Few have put their finger on the actual events – a palace revolution in Riyadh that could change the Middle East in profound and possibly positive ways. For the logic of what’s taking place in the House of Saud is a revolt against the medieval obscurantism that has been the lifeblood of radical Islam and indeed terrorism since the middle of the 20th century. There is no guarantee that it will succeed, for the forces arrayed against it are formidable, but fundamentally, as with the demise of any long-lasting obscurantism, the more appropriate question to ask is: ‘What took so long?’

To seasoned observers, what is taking place in Riyadh is not a complete surprise and some inkling of changing attitudes was on hand as far back as the Arab Spring in 2011, when the Saudis appeared to end their longtime support of the Muslim Brotherhood, and take the side of the military in Egypt, quite unlike the Obama administration which remained wedded to the  myth that the MB was a ‘moderate’ organization. Three years later, the UAE declared 82 Islamic organizations, including two prominent American ones (CAIR and MAS) long supported by the Saudis, to be terrorist and this past summer came the break with Qatar for its support of radical jihadists in Syria and elsewhere.

Much more important are the unmistakable signs that the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS, is turning on the reactionary Wahhabi establishment that has long supported radical Islam and terrorism. While his ostensible drive against corruption has received much ink, it has largely escaped notice that caught in the ‘corruption’ purge were senior Wahhabi clerics like Salman al-Awdah, Awad al-Qarni and others. And there is a good reason for their detention, if MbS is serious about “preventing extremism” and “crimes under the name of Islam,” as he has said time and again. It is a fact that the belief system of the dominant Wahhabi ulema is ideologically indistinguishable from that of the ISIS zealots. As an example of the kind of pushback he can expect, no less a figure that the former imam of the key Mecca mosque, Adel al-Kibani, continues to argue publicly that ISIS draws it inspiration from Saudi salafism.

Nonetheless,  MbS has continued and accelerated his assault on Wahhabism. Not only has he promised to do away with the Wahhabi ban on women driving and reined in the religious police,  but he has now forced the ‘Shura Council’ a hardline Wahhabi ulema outfit, heretofore, to approve an anti-hate law, apart from setting up a “Hadith Complex” in Medina, tasked with “monitoring interpretations of Islamic teachings used to justify violence or terrorism.”

None of this would be especially noteworthy, had it not been for the fact that Saudi Arabia had become the main financier and ideological ally of Islamic radicalism for more than 50 years. Wahhabism had allied itself with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after Gamal Abdel Nasser cracked down on it in the 1960s and began exporting and financing the radical MB ideology of Sayyid Qutb and Wahhabism in the West.  As early as the early 1960s, Saudi money and MB functionaries started setting up extremist Muslim Student Associations  (MSA) in Europe and the U.S.A. Virtually all radical Islamist organizations existing today stem from those MSAs. By 2002, according to Saudi figures, Riyadh had spent $80 billion in sponsoring Islamic extremism throughout the West and in places like Pakistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. Numerous congressional hearings testify that the U.S. government was well aware of the subversive role played by the Saudis, but neither the George W. Bush administration, nor the Obama administrations did anything about it.

That’s why the Saudi about-face we may be observing is so crucially important.  Apart from the fundamental change inside the Kingdom it portends, it may auger a de facto alliance between the Sunni Arabs, America and Israel against Iran’s proxies, first and foremost, the Hezbollah terrorists. If so, this is one game changer that can contribute much to U.S. security. 

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.

 

 

The dramatic events in Saudi Arabia of the past few days portend a game change in the Middle East not seen in decades. Predictably, the mainstream media, desperate as they are to find something, anything to blame on President Trump, have completely missed it. Instead, they have babbled about the market implications of the arrests of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Co., Saudi Arabia ‘emerging’ as an arms manufacturer, conflict with Hezbollah, palace intrigue, etc. etc. Few have put their finger on the actual events – a palace revolution in Riyadh that could change the Middle East in profound and possibly positive ways. For the logic of what’s taking place in the House of Saud is a revolt against the medieval obscurantism that has been the lifeblood of radical Islam and indeed terrorism since the middle of the 20th century. There is no guarantee that it will succeed, for the forces arrayed against it are formidable, but fundamentally, as with the demise of any long-lasting obscurantism, the more appropriate question to ask is: ‘What took so long?’

To seasoned observers, what is taking place in Riyadh is not a complete surprise and some inkling of changing attitudes was on hand as far back as the Arab Spring in 2011, when the Saudis appeared to end their longtime support of the Muslim Brotherhood, and take the side of the military in Egypt, quite unlike the Obama administration which remained wedded to the  myth that the MB was a ‘moderate’ organization. Three years later, the UAE declared 82 Islamic organizations, including two prominent American ones (CAIR and MAS) long supported by the Saudis, to be terrorist and this past summer came the break with Qatar for its support of radical jihadists in Syria and elsewhere.

Much more important are the unmistakable signs that the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS, is turning on the reactionary Wahhabi establishment that has long supported radical Islam and terrorism. While his ostensible drive against corruption has received much ink, it has largely escaped notice that caught in the ‘corruption’ purge were senior Wahhabi clerics like Salman al-Awdah, Awad al-Qarni and others. And there is a good reason for their detention, if MbS is serious about “preventing extremism” and “crimes under the name of Islam,” as he has said time and again. It is a fact that the belief system of the dominant Wahhabi ulema is ideologically indistinguishable from that of the ISIS zealots. As an example of the kind of pushback he can expect, no less a figure that the former imam of the key Mecca mosque, Adel al-Kibani, continues to argue publicly that ISIS draws it inspiration from Saudi salafism.

Nonetheless,  MbS has continued and accelerated his assault on Wahhabism. Not only has he promised to do away with the Wahhabi ban on women driving and reined in the religious police,  but he has now forced the ‘Shura Council’ a hardline Wahhabi ulema outfit, heretofore, to approve an anti-hate law, apart from setting up a “Hadith Complex” in Medina, tasked with “monitoring interpretations of Islamic teachings used to justify violence or terrorism.”

None of this would be especially noteworthy, had it not been for the fact that Saudi Arabia had become the main financier and ideological ally of Islamic radicalism for more than 50 years. Wahhabism had allied itself with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after Gamal Abdel Nasser cracked down on it in the 1960s and began exporting and financing the radical MB ideology of Sayyid Qutb and Wahhabism in the West.  As early as the early 1960s, Saudi money and MB functionaries started setting up extremist Muslim Student Associations  (MSA) in Europe and the U.S.A. Virtually all radical Islamist organizations existing today stem from those MSAs. By 2002, according to Saudi figures, Riyadh had spent $80 billion in sponsoring Islamic extremism throughout the West and in places like Pakistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. Numerous congressional hearings testify that the U.S. government was well aware of the subversive role played by the Saudis, but neither the George W. Bush administration, nor the Obama administrations did anything about it.

That’s why the Saudi about-face we may be observing is so crucially important.  Apart from the fundamental change inside the Kingdom it portends, it may auger a de facto alliance between the Sunni Arabs, America and Israel against Iran’s proxies, first and foremost, the Hezbollah terrorists. If so, this is one game changer that can contribute much to U.S. security. 

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.

 

 



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Sultan Erdogan and the New Janissaries


Though Western Europe and Washington are reluctant to fess up to this unfortunate fact, Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long ago given up even the pretence of being a democratic polity and is openly pursuing policies detrimental to democracy, the rule of law and Western security considerations. In short, Turkey has become an Islamist dictatorship every bit as inimical to Western interests as Iran, except for being allowed by the West to maintain the charade that it is still a member of NATO and the Western community of nations. This is a dangerous charade that will inevitably come back to haunt us. For the reality is that Erdogan the Islamist has ambitions that go beyond Turkey and even the Middle East.  Well known for his admiration for the Ottomans, Erdogan imagines himself as the leader of a new Ottoman Empire based on an Islamized Turkey, but exerting its influence far beyond. Many would dismiss this as an unrealistic pipe dream, and it probably is just that ultimately. But in pursuing it vigorously, Erdogan has already done much damage both in Turkey and abroad. Suffice it to say that Turks who had lived in Germany and the Netherlands for decades, voted for Erdogan in greater percentages (60% and 70% respectively) than voters in Turkey itself in the last referendum.  

The key to spreading Erdogan’s Islamist message is an organization called Diyanet, a Turkish directorate for religious affairs that is directly subordinated to him. Few if any Western leaders have ever heard of it, despite its importance. It was originally set up by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924 for the purpose of training imams for the mosques, but more importantly, it was tasked with preventing the radicalization of Turkish Islam. The type of education received in these madrassa-like institutions, called imam-hatip schools, was considered second-rate and did not qualify their graduates for the university or government work. At the time of Erdogan’s takeover of the government in 2002, there were 450 imam-hatip schools with some 60,000 students. Most of them were the sons of poorly-educated yet devout Muslims, which Erdogan, himself the product of such a school, considered prime islamization cadres. And so, after neutralizing the Turkish military by means of bogus but ultimately effective show trials, Erdogan set about to build up and promote an army of pious imam-hatip graduates devoted to him, not unlike the janissaries of the Ottoman Empire, who considered themselves the slaves of the sultan alone. Here it must be mentioned that these madrassas as well as the mandatory religious education curriculum in Turkey is highly discriminatory to the extent that it teaches exclusively the Sunni Hanafi school of Muslim jurisprudence, which is not practiced by the large populations of Alevis and the Kurds, who follow the shafi’i madhab, not to mention the millions of secular Turks.    

Appointing a zealous Islamist (who considered Israel a terror organization on a par with ISIS) to lead the Diyanet in 2010, Erdogan removed all career obstacles previously faced by imam-hatip graduates,  indeed began treating them preferentially for government work and in the military, while providing  the Diyanet with massive amounts of money and islamizing the curriculum to exclude evolution. This promptly made these schools a hugely desirable career choice for aspiring Islamists. And so, by 2015, there were 1961 imam-hatip schools with more than 1.2 million students and a budget of $2 billion.

These exorbitant numbers clearly beyond the needs of the 85,000 Turkish mosques reveal Erdogan’s ambitions in both staffing his government and the military with reliable Islamists, and also his long-term agenda to export his Islamist agenda to Turkish and Muslim diaspora communities in Europe, the Balkans and beyond. Few people realize that after the relative retreat of Saudi efforts to finance radical Islamic projects in the West, Turkey is increasingly the key actor funding the radicalization of European Muslims. It is well positioned to do that due to the large Turkish communities that immigrated to Western Europe as gastarbeiter in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the significant numbers of native Turkish and/or Turkic populations in the Balkans and Central Asia. Many if not most of the imams sent by Diyanet to serve in Europe, as a rule, do not speak the local language and barely know the societies in which they find themselves, nor are they encouraged to get to know them. The one mantra that Turkish officials repeat ad nauseum is that assimilation is wrong, or as Erdogan put it himself “a crime against humanity.” And it may be working. Sevral recent studies have shown that 3rd generation Turks in Germany are no better integrated than those of the first.

Nor are these are the only disturbing news. Information from a number of Western European countries has come that Diyanet and mosque officials work closely with the Turkish intelligence organization, MIT, to spy on fellow Turks on behalf of the Ankara government. One German source revealed that 6000 MIT spies are active in the mosques, while the Dutch head of the Diyanet admitted publicly to have engaged in spying. There are further Turkish efforts to build a number of mega mosques in places where there are few Muslims, like Bucharest and Budapest, as well as attempts in both Eastern and Western Europe to set up parties designed to serve the Turkish strongman. It is not likely that they will stop before the West finally understands that Islamist Turkey is not a friend and begins to act accordingly.  

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets it ion national security at tweeter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com 

Though Western Europe and Washington are reluctant to fess up to this unfortunate fact, Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long ago given up even the pretence of being a democratic polity and is openly pursuing policies detrimental to democracy, the rule of law and Western security considerations. In short, Turkey has become an Islamist dictatorship every bit as inimical to Western interests as Iran, except for being allowed by the West to maintain the charade that it is still a member of NATO and the Western community of nations. This is a dangerous charade that will inevitably come back to haunt us. For the reality is that Erdogan the Islamist has ambitions that go beyond Turkey and even the Middle East.  Well known for his admiration for the Ottomans, Erdogan imagines himself as the leader of a new Ottoman Empire based on an Islamized Turkey, but exerting its influence far beyond. Many would dismiss this as an unrealistic pipe dream, and it probably is just that ultimately. But in pursuing it vigorously, Erdogan has already done much damage both in Turkey and abroad. Suffice it to say that Turks who had lived in Germany and the Netherlands for decades, voted for Erdogan in greater percentages (60% and 70% respectively) than voters in Turkey itself in the last referendum.  

The key to spreading Erdogan’s Islamist message is an organization called Diyanet, a Turkish directorate for religious affairs that is directly subordinated to him. Few if any Western leaders have ever heard of it, despite its importance. It was originally set up by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924 for the purpose of training imams for the mosques, but more importantly, it was tasked with preventing the radicalization of Turkish Islam. The type of education received in these madrassa-like institutions, called imam-hatip schools, was considered second-rate and did not qualify their graduates for the university or government work. At the time of Erdogan’s takeover of the government in 2002, there were 450 imam-hatip schools with some 60,000 students. Most of them were the sons of poorly-educated yet devout Muslims, which Erdogan, himself the product of such a school, considered prime islamization cadres. And so, after neutralizing the Turkish military by means of bogus but ultimately effective show trials, Erdogan set about to build up and promote an army of pious imam-hatip graduates devoted to him, not unlike the janissaries of the Ottoman Empire, who considered themselves the slaves of the sultan alone. Here it must be mentioned that these madrassas as well as the mandatory religious education curriculum in Turkey is highly discriminatory to the extent that it teaches exclusively the Sunni Hanafi school of Muslim jurisprudence, which is not practiced by the large populations of Alevis and the Kurds, who follow the shafi’i madhab, not to mention the millions of secular Turks.    

Appointing a zealous Islamist (who considered Israel a terror organization on a par with ISIS) to lead the Diyanet in 2010, Erdogan removed all career obstacles previously faced by imam-hatip graduates,  indeed began treating them preferentially for government work and in the military, while providing  the Diyanet with massive amounts of money and islamizing the curriculum to exclude evolution. This promptly made these schools a hugely desirable career choice for aspiring Islamists. And so, by 2015, there were 1961 imam-hatip schools with more than 1.2 million students and a budget of $2 billion.

These exorbitant numbers clearly beyond the needs of the 85,000 Turkish mosques reveal Erdogan’s ambitions in both staffing his government and the military with reliable Islamists, and also his long-term agenda to export his Islamist agenda to Turkish and Muslim diaspora communities in Europe, the Balkans and beyond. Few people realize that after the relative retreat of Saudi efforts to finance radical Islamic projects in the West, Turkey is increasingly the key actor funding the radicalization of European Muslims. It is well positioned to do that due to the large Turkish communities that immigrated to Western Europe as gastarbeiter in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the significant numbers of native Turkish and/or Turkic populations in the Balkans and Central Asia. Many if not most of the imams sent by Diyanet to serve in Europe, as a rule, do not speak the local language and barely know the societies in which they find themselves, nor are they encouraged to get to know them. The one mantra that Turkish officials repeat ad nauseum is that assimilation is wrong, or as Erdogan put it himself “a crime against humanity.” And it may be working. Sevral recent studies have shown that 3rd generation Turks in Germany are no better integrated than those of the first.

Nor are these are the only disturbing news. Information from a number of Western European countries has come that Diyanet and mosque officials work closely with the Turkish intelligence organization, MIT, to spy on fellow Turks on behalf of the Ankara government. One German source revealed that 6000 MIT spies are active in the mosques, while the Dutch head of the Diyanet admitted publicly to have engaged in spying. There are further Turkish efforts to build a number of mega mosques in places where there are few Muslims, like Bucharest and Budapest, as well as attempts in both Eastern and Western Europe to set up parties designed to serve the Turkish strongman. It is not likely that they will stop before the West finally understands that Islamist Turkey is not a friend and begins to act accordingly.  

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets it ion national security at tweeter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com 



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Angela Merkel's Pyrrhic Victory


As expected, Angela Merkel has convincingly won her fourth term as chancellor of Germany and unofficial, but no less real, leader of the European Union.  The mainstream media will again erupt into an orgy of adulation for the new leader of the free world; the slayer of populism; and last, but most, the anti-Trump.  While the adulation-cum-E.U. triumphalism is a given, few will notice that it is taking place as both Merkel and the E.U. enter a period that will bring ruin to Merkel’s reputation and the fantasy of an E.U. super-state that will finally prove the superiority of Europe over Trump’s America.  For her reputation is built on the fake assumptions of the European socio-political model, which is doomed.

An inkling of what’s coming was revealed a day before the elections, when jurists of the German parliament issued a Gutachten (expert opinion) accusing Merkel of never providing legal arguments for opening the borders in 2015 and doing so without parliamentary approval as required by law.  In short, she broke the law – and not just German law, because she opened not just Germany’s borders, but those of the E.U. as well.  She then compounded her error by having the subservient and unelected European Commission force reluctant Eastern European nations to take migrants in what was perceived as a German diktat.  This serious misdeed is unlikely to be swept under the rug, since two of the parties that have now entered the Bundestag (FDP and AfD) insist on a parliamentary investigation.

Nor is this Merkel’s only big political misjudgment.  After persuading her party to extend the life of German nuclear power plants in Nov. 2010, she then did an about-face in June 2011 and ordered them phased out by 2022 on the absurd assumption that, like Japan, Germany can also suffer a catastrophic earthquake and a tsunami.  There was neither a scientific nor an economic rationale for this hasty decision.  In between, one of the taxes she imposed on the nuclear industry has already been declared unconstitutional by Germany’s highest court.

The nuclear phase-out, which will take decades to resolve in the courts, pales in comparison to the enthusiastic support Merkel provided to having Germany, a country not well endowed with either much sun or wind, transition fully to renewable energy and, in the process, become a paragon of international environmental virtue to the left-wing ecological claque.  Alas, it is already clear that the Energiewende is a recipe for disaster, and a hugely expensive one at that.  It has already made it impossible to achieve not just German, but E.U. global warming targets.  The officially promised 40% German cut in greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2020 has fallen by the wayside, as has Brussels’s mandate to source 18% of energy from renewable sources.  It is easy to see why.  The much ballyhooed German progress to date was achieved because of huge subsidies paid by the rate payer and disproportionately by the poor, which forced the subsidies’ dismantling.  Frau Merkel has also been busy protecting the disingenuous German automobile industry from its disastrous Dieselgate cheating scandal that may yet devastate this vital German industry.

In the meantime, Merkel’s foolish migrant policies are wreaking havoc in German society, as it was all too easy to predict.  Crime by migrants, much of it sexual in nature, spiked by 52.7% in 2016 compared to 2015, despite efforts by the government to hide it.  Worse is to come.  In the first six months of 2017 alone, Berlin issued 230,000 visas for family members of the migrants, and another 390,000 are expected.  Moreover, a recent Pew Foundation study shows that no more than 3% of the migrants are ever sent back, while European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker claims that 720,000, or nearly three fourths, have received asylum even though few of them have been persecuted.  Official German figures show that by 2020, the government will have spent 93.6 billion euros on migrant welfare, proving yet again the wisdom of Milton Friedman, who long ago warned that open borders and the welfare system do not mix.  And cost may not be the worst of it.  The counter-terrorism coordinator of the E.U., Gilles de Kerchove, stated in a recent interview that 50,000 jihadists have entered Europe under the guise of migrants.

So what has Mrs. Merkel accomplished that has made German voters so enamored in her?  To answer this probably requires an expert in German mass psychology, but here are some of the relevant facts.  During her 12 years as chancellor, Merkel has moved the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) sharply to the left and has run the country in a way barely distinguishable from her socialist coalition partners.  This probably explains the rise of the populist right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD).  The legendary Bavarian politician Franz-Joseph Strauss once said that the conservatives should never allow a legitimate party to the right of themselves if they want to stay in power.  Merkel has now done that and will sooner or later suffer the consequences.

This apart, the German political landscape is full of parties (SPD, Greens, Die Linke) that are openly pro-Russian and anti-American, in stark contrast to Eastern Europe.  Indeed, German media are so stridently anti-American as to prompt a comparison with Nazi propaganda of yesteryear.  Merkel herself has sided with Putin on the key issue of European energy independence from Russia and the Nord Stream 2, a project she quite disingenuously calls “commercial.”  This new and growing fault line between Germany and Eastern Europe may be the real threat to NATO, apart from the fact that Germany refuses to seriously boost its defense capabilities.

On the positive side, Germany is prosperous and enjoys a huge surplus with all its partners in the E.U.  This one-sided relationship was ushered in by the euro, and it may not be long before Germany’s Eurozone partners realize that and demand change.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org).  He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.

As expected, Angela Merkel has convincingly won her fourth term as chancellor of Germany and unofficial, but no less real, leader of the European Union.  The mainstream media will again erupt into an orgy of adulation for the new leader of the free world; the slayer of populism; and last, but most, the anti-Trump.  While the adulation-cum-E.U. triumphalism is a given, few will notice that it is taking place as both Merkel and the E.U. enter a period that will bring ruin to Merkel’s reputation and the fantasy of an E.U. super-state that will finally prove the superiority of Europe over Trump’s America.  For her reputation is built on the fake assumptions of the European socio-political model, which is doomed.

An inkling of what’s coming was revealed a day before the elections, when jurists of the German parliament issued a Gutachten (expert opinion) accusing Merkel of never providing legal arguments for opening the borders in 2015 and doing so without parliamentary approval as required by law.  In short, she broke the law – and not just German law, because she opened not just Germany’s borders, but those of the E.U. as well.  She then compounded her error by having the subservient and unelected European Commission force reluctant Eastern European nations to take migrants in what was perceived as a German diktat.  This serious misdeed is unlikely to be swept under the rug, since two of the parties that have now entered the Bundestag (FDP and AfD) insist on a parliamentary investigation.

Nor is this Merkel’s only big political misjudgment.  After persuading her party to extend the life of German nuclear power plants in Nov. 2010, she then did an about-face in June 2011 and ordered them phased out by 2022 on the absurd assumption that, like Japan, Germany can also suffer a catastrophic earthquake and a tsunami.  There was neither a scientific nor an economic rationale for this hasty decision.  In between, one of the taxes she imposed on the nuclear industry has already been declared unconstitutional by Germany’s highest court.

The nuclear phase-out, which will take decades to resolve in the courts, pales in comparison to the enthusiastic support Merkel provided to having Germany, a country not well endowed with either much sun or wind, transition fully to renewable energy and, in the process, become a paragon of international environmental virtue to the left-wing ecological claque.  Alas, it is already clear that the Energiewende is a recipe for disaster, and a hugely expensive one at that.  It has already made it impossible to achieve not just German, but E.U. global warming targets.  The officially promised 40% German cut in greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2020 has fallen by the wayside, as has Brussels’s mandate to source 18% of energy from renewable sources.  It is easy to see why.  The much ballyhooed German progress to date was achieved because of huge subsidies paid by the rate payer and disproportionately by the poor, which forced the subsidies’ dismantling.  Frau Merkel has also been busy protecting the disingenuous German automobile industry from its disastrous Dieselgate cheating scandal that may yet devastate this vital German industry.

In the meantime, Merkel’s foolish migrant policies are wreaking havoc in German society, as it was all too easy to predict.  Crime by migrants, much of it sexual in nature, spiked by 52.7% in 2016 compared to 2015, despite efforts by the government to hide it.  Worse is to come.  In the first six months of 2017 alone, Berlin issued 230,000 visas for family members of the migrants, and another 390,000 are expected.  Moreover, a recent Pew Foundation study shows that no more than 3% of the migrants are ever sent back, while European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker claims that 720,000, or nearly three fourths, have received asylum even though few of them have been persecuted.  Official German figures show that by 2020, the government will have spent 93.6 billion euros on migrant welfare, proving yet again the wisdom of Milton Friedman, who long ago warned that open borders and the welfare system do not mix.  And cost may not be the worst of it.  The counter-terrorism coordinator of the E.U., Gilles de Kerchove, stated in a recent interview that 50,000 jihadists have entered Europe under the guise of migrants.

So what has Mrs. Merkel accomplished that has made German voters so enamored in her?  To answer this probably requires an expert in German mass psychology, but here are some of the relevant facts.  During her 12 years as chancellor, Merkel has moved the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) sharply to the left and has run the country in a way barely distinguishable from her socialist coalition partners.  This probably explains the rise of the populist right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD).  The legendary Bavarian politician Franz-Joseph Strauss once said that the conservatives should never allow a legitimate party to the right of themselves if they want to stay in power.  Merkel has now done that and will sooner or later suffer the consequences.

This apart, the German political landscape is full of parties (SPD, Greens, Die Linke) that are openly pro-Russian and anti-American, in stark contrast to Eastern Europe.  Indeed, German media are so stridently anti-American as to prompt a comparison with Nazi propaganda of yesteryear.  Merkel herself has sided with Putin on the key issue of European energy independence from Russia and the Nord Stream 2, a project she quite disingenuously calls “commercial.”  This new and growing fault line between Germany and Eastern Europe may be the real threat to NATO, apart from the fact that Germany refuses to seriously boost its defense capabilities.

On the positive side, Germany is prosperous and enjoys a huge surplus with all its partners in the E.U.  This one-sided relationship was ushered in by the euro, and it may not be long before Germany’s Eurozone partners realize that and demand change.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org).  He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.



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Juncker's State of the Union, or How Not to Move Europe Forward


Commenting on Jean-Claude Juncker’s state of the European Union speech last week, the usually restrained German economic weekly Wirtschafts Woche said the following: “Today the chief of the European Commission gave a great speech… a speech full of great nonsense.” What prompted that staid publication to use such undiplomatic language, especially since the European Parliament gave the speech a standing ovation? Hopefully, it is the realization of more and more Europeans that the cheap EU triumphalism and prescriptions peddled by Juncker are, at best, inappropriate, and at worst, a recipe for disaster.

Of triumphalism there was plenty in the speech. “The wind is back in Europe’s sails” Juncker assured the audience and told it that the EU is “in the fifth year of an economic recovery,” something that few reputable economists believe. As proof, the European Commission offers GDP growth of 0.6% in the second quarter, on top of 0.5% in the first. Impressive, compared to 1.2% average for the past five years and 0.37% growth in 1995-2017, but far behind U.S. growth of 3% in the second quarter of 2017. The actual economic situation is far worse, especially for the countries of the southern tier. Italy, the largest of them, now has a GDP lower than when the euro was introduced in 1999. Youth unemployment is and has been for years nothing short of scandalous, with 44.45% in Greece, 38.6% in Spain, 35.5% in Italy and 23.45% even in France. And this with banks teetering at the precipice, zero interest rates, and the Central Bank buying tens of billions of private bonds with public money in brazen disregard of Article 123 of the EU charter. All the while keeping zombie banks artificially alive for a while longer and thus guaranteeing a longer-term stagnation a la Japan.

While his pollyannaish interpretations of reality are not unusual for a politician, his economic prescriptions are wrong and harmful. He wants to get all EU members into the euro zone at a time when it is abundantly clear that this is exactly the wrong approach. If any proof is needed, it’s enough to compare the sad state of Greece, a euro zone member, with that of Poland, the GDP growth champion of the EU, which is not. It is high time for EU mandarins to realize that with vastly divergent levels of economic development and governance quality in the EU, taking away the tried and true method of regaining competitiveness through currency devaluation has been a disaster. This is unlikely to happen under Juncker, though it is a hopeful sign that no EU government has endorsed his views to date.

There is much more in his recommendations that is nonsensical, as Wirtschafts Woche notes, but perhaps it is more interesting to focus on traditional EU priorities that are given very little attention in Juncker’s extensive speech. Two are especially noteworthy — global warming and migration. On the former, Juncker is anything but loquacious. Following the “collapse of ambition in the U.S.,” he said, “Europe will ensure that we’ll make our planet great again.” No details, no flights of fancy, no poetic license. And it is easy to see why. It is now clear that Germany, the poster child of virtue on global warming, will fail to meet its solemn pledges on 

CO2 reduction in both 2020 and 2030. In fact, the only thing it can reliably promise is greater CO2 emissions from lignite usage.

In a similar vein, Juncker has little to say about the migrant crisis that threatens to overwhelm the EU and create a permanent fault line between Eastern and Western Europe, except the meaningless boast that those “fleeing from persecution can find refuge” in Europe. It is a very dishonest claim because, with the exception of Turks fleeing Erdogan’s Islamist lawlessness, the vast majority of migrants are fleeing poverty rather than persecution. If, as Juncker claims, 720,000 of them have been given asylum, the EU has thereby created a new right to better life that will sooner or later have disastrous consequences for the old continent.

As for Jean-Claude Juncker, he is in his last term as president of the European Commission and there isn’t a great clamor to have him back. But he is not without opportunities. Earlier this year, after Trump opined that others might follow Britain out of the EU, he threatened to lead a campaign to get Ohio and Texas to secede from the United States. It seems like a worthy goal for a man of his considerable talents.

Commenting on Jean-Claude Juncker’s state of the European Union speech last week, the usually restrained German economic weekly Wirtschafts Woche said the following: “Today the chief of the European Commission gave a great speech… a speech full of great nonsense.” What prompted that staid publication to use such undiplomatic language, especially since the European Parliament gave the speech a standing ovation? Hopefully, it is the realization of more and more Europeans that the cheap EU triumphalism and prescriptions peddled by Juncker are, at best, inappropriate, and at worst, a recipe for disaster.

Of triumphalism there was plenty in the speech. “The wind is back in Europe’s sails” Juncker assured the audience and told it that the EU is “in the fifth year of an economic recovery,” something that few reputable economists believe. As proof, the European Commission offers GDP growth of 0.6% in the second quarter, on top of 0.5% in the first. Impressive, compared to 1.2% average for the past five years and 0.37% growth in 1995-2017, but far behind U.S. growth of 3% in the second quarter of 2017. The actual economic situation is far worse, especially for the countries of the southern tier. Italy, the largest of them, now has a GDP lower than when the euro was introduced in 1999. Youth unemployment is and has been for years nothing short of scandalous, with 44.45% in Greece, 38.6% in Spain, 35.5% in Italy and 23.45% even in France. And this with banks teetering at the precipice, zero interest rates, and the Central Bank buying tens of billions of private bonds with public money in brazen disregard of Article 123 of the EU charter. All the while keeping zombie banks artificially alive for a while longer and thus guaranteeing a longer-term stagnation a la Japan.

While his pollyannaish interpretations of reality are not unusual for a politician, his economic prescriptions are wrong and harmful. He wants to get all EU members into the euro zone at a time when it is abundantly clear that this is exactly the wrong approach. If any proof is needed, it’s enough to compare the sad state of Greece, a euro zone member, with that of Poland, the GDP growth champion of the EU, which is not. It is high time for EU mandarins to realize that with vastly divergent levels of economic development and governance quality in the EU, taking away the tried and true method of regaining competitiveness through currency devaluation has been a disaster. This is unlikely to happen under Juncker, though it is a hopeful sign that no EU government has endorsed his views to date.

There is much more in his recommendations that is nonsensical, as Wirtschafts Woche notes, but perhaps it is more interesting to focus on traditional EU priorities that are given very little attention in Juncker’s extensive speech. Two are especially noteworthy — global warming and migration. On the former, Juncker is anything but loquacious. Following the “collapse of ambition in the U.S.,” he said, “Europe will ensure that we’ll make our planet great again.” No details, no flights of fancy, no poetic license. And it is easy to see why. It is now clear that Germany, the poster child of virtue on global warming, will fail to meet its solemn pledges on 

CO2 reduction in both 2020 and 2030. In fact, the only thing it can reliably promise is greater CO2 emissions from lignite usage.

In a similar vein, Juncker has little to say about the migrant crisis that threatens to overwhelm the EU and create a permanent fault line between Eastern and Western Europe, except the meaningless boast that those “fleeing from persecution can find refuge” in Europe. It is a very dishonest claim because, with the exception of Turks fleeing Erdogan’s Islamist lawlessness, the vast majority of migrants are fleeing poverty rather than persecution. If, as Juncker claims, 720,000 of them have been given asylum, the EU has thereby created a new right to better life that will sooner or later have disastrous consequences for the old continent.

As for Jean-Claude Juncker, he is in his last term as president of the European Commission and there isn’t a great clamor to have him back. But he is not without opportunities. Earlier this year, after Trump opined that others might follow Britain out of the EU, he threatened to lead a campaign to get Ohio and Texas to secede from the United States. It seems like a worthy goal for a man of his considerable talents.



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Frau Merkel on the Warpath against Trump


Next week’s G-20 meeting in Hamburg promises to be more interesting than usual. The expected unhinged leftist crowds are already much in evidence and could be counted on for a dose of violence and turmoil. More seriously, this time the fireworks are more likely to come from inside the conference rooms than outside. In preparation for the event, the German chancellor Angela Merkel has already accused Trump of “Abshottung” (door closure or foreclosure) and promised to challenge him directly on a number of issues. Whether she already feels like the leader of the free world (as many pundits are trying to convince her that she actually is), or not is unclear, but she obviously has Trump in mind when she argues that “abshottung” from “climate change, terrorism and migration” is a huge mistake, or when she promises to conduct negotiations “so that they serve the Paris Agreements.” No wonder her party’s election platform for the first time does not mention America as Germany’s key ally and friend.

If there was any surprise in this, it came earlier when the German chancellor openly sided with a blatantly pro-Russian project called Nord Stream 2 that could seriously damage the European Union. Like Nord Stream 1, Nord Stream 2 is a Russian diversionary pipeline designed to bypass Ukraine and Eastern Europe, damage them financially, and enhance Putin’s political clout and the dependence of Western Europe on Gazprom. This was clearly seen as a provocation by the U.S. Senate, which voted 97 to 2 to impose sanctions on any company participating in this scheme. Yet, Angela Merkel and her socialist coalition partners, whose former party boss and current Putin lackey, Gerhard Schroeder, is the president of Nord Stream 2, promptly warned the U.S. to mind its own business. In doing that, Merkel, disregarded the vigorous protests of 13 Eastern European countries and those of the European Energy Union, which clearly cannot coexist with Nord Stream 2. This is yet another disturbing case where the dominant power in the EU has disregarded the interests of its EU partners to curry favor with Putin. Perhaps, somebody should have told Mrs. Merkel that blatantly disregarding the bipartisan will of the American Senate is never a smart idea on the part of somebody who still depends on the United States for its security.

Whatever the case, President Trump needs to be prepared for a hostile reception. It will help him to know a bit more about who Frau Merkel is as a politician and what exactly she stands for. So far, he has challenged her on Germany’s huge trade surplus with the United States, which is not smart and makes him look like a petty mercantilist. The reason for that is that while Germany does have a huge trade surplus with us, it is a relatively underdeveloped country in information technology, high tech, and financial services, where the U.S. can and does run circles around it. It could easily be proven, for instance, that when digital and financial services, licensing revenues, and investment returns are emphasized, the U.S. runs a much bigger surplus than the Germans do in trade.

The fact is that while Trump may not be quite right on the German trade surplus and its causes, Merkel’s 12-year rule in Germany has, for the most part, been unsuccessful, not to say disastrous. To start with, it was under Merkel’s leadership that Germany abruptly decided to ban nuclear power on the absurd assumption that the Fukushima disaster could repeat itself in Germany, a country that has never had a tsunami or an earthquake larger than 5 on the Richter scale. This irrational decision by the chancellor to do away with a legitimate industry that produced 25% of the country’s clean and inexpensive energy, apart from its dubious legality and lack of scientific and economic rationale, led to greater dependence on Russian gas and made inevitable the ‘energy transition’ (Energiewende) to renewable energy, whose disastrous consequences are only now coming into focus. Suffice it to say that the Germans already pay three times more than Americans (twice as much as the French) for their electricity, including a surcharge that is twice the market price of a kilowatt hour.

Bad as Merkel’s renewable folly is, it pales in comparison with her migrants debacle. Having opened the gates of Europe to unlimited immigration by mindlessly claiming that “asylum has no upper limit” and just as mindlessly repeating the mantra “we can do it,” Merkel created a fait accompli and expectations that could not possibly be met. More than that, by inviting and accepting what were essentially economic refugees seeking a better life as asylum seekers i.e. people traditionally persecuted for political or religious reasons, she de facto created a new right, the right to a better life, which has never existed in international law before.

This, in turn, guarantees that low-fertility Europe will be swamped by millions of rent-seeking Africans and Asians, who are mostly young and mostly male. The available statistics bear this out already. Asylum applications in the EU in 2015 and 2016 run some 1.3 million per year and there are additionally hundreds of thousands who do not bother to register. Moreover, even though very few of these migrants qualify for asylum, European authorities appear eager to recognize them as such. In 2016, 61% of the asylum requesters received refugee status or a subsidiary protection status. It is also the case that very few of those whose applications are turned down are deported. Once you make it to Europe, your chances of staying there are excellent, which means that the migrant wave is unlikely to subside soon.

There is yet another side to the migrants saga that receives little coverage in the politically-correct German media. After the initial euphoria of left-wing economists predicting a new Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) on account of the refugees, a sobering reality has set in.

The vast majority of migrants have neither work skills nor any German knowledge, which promises them long-term unemployment and welfare support for years. A year after the huge migrants wave hit Germany, industry had managed to hire only 54 migrants, while the cost of taking care of them is 20 billion euro per annum for as long as one can see. Add to this a 52.7% increase in migrant crime in 2016 vs 2015 and an ongoing epidemic of rapes and sexual assaults and Frau Merkel does not have all that much to be proud of. Mr. Trump may want to remind her of that too.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com

Next week’s G-20 meeting in Hamburg promises to be more interesting than usual. The expected unhinged leftist crowds are already much in evidence and could be counted on for a dose of violence and turmoil. More seriously, this time the fireworks are more likely to come from inside the conference rooms than outside. In preparation for the event, the German chancellor Angela Merkel has already accused Trump of “Abshottung” (door closure or foreclosure) and promised to challenge him directly on a number of issues. Whether she already feels like the leader of the free world (as many pundits are trying to convince her that she actually is), or not is unclear, but she obviously has Trump in mind when she argues that “abshottung” from “climate change, terrorism and migration” is a huge mistake, or when she promises to conduct negotiations “so that they serve the Paris Agreements.” No wonder her party’s election platform for the first time does not mention America as Germany’s key ally and friend.

If there was any surprise in this, it came earlier when the German chancellor openly sided with a blatantly pro-Russian project called Nord Stream 2 that could seriously damage the European Union. Like Nord Stream 1, Nord Stream 2 is a Russian diversionary pipeline designed to bypass Ukraine and Eastern Europe, damage them financially, and enhance Putin’s political clout and the dependence of Western Europe on Gazprom. This was clearly seen as a provocation by the U.S. Senate, which voted 97 to 2 to impose sanctions on any company participating in this scheme. Yet, Angela Merkel and her socialist coalition partners, whose former party boss and current Putin lackey, Gerhard Schroeder, is the president of Nord Stream 2, promptly warned the U.S. to mind its own business. In doing that, Merkel, disregarded the vigorous protests of 13 Eastern European countries and those of the European Energy Union, which clearly cannot coexist with Nord Stream 2. This is yet another disturbing case where the dominant power in the EU has disregarded the interests of its EU partners to curry favor with Putin. Perhaps, somebody should have told Mrs. Merkel that blatantly disregarding the bipartisan will of the American Senate is never a smart idea on the part of somebody who still depends on the United States for its security.

Whatever the case, President Trump needs to be prepared for a hostile reception. It will help him to know a bit more about who Frau Merkel is as a politician and what exactly she stands for. So far, he has challenged her on Germany’s huge trade surplus with the United States, which is not smart and makes him look like a petty mercantilist. The reason for that is that while Germany does have a huge trade surplus with us, it is a relatively underdeveloped country in information technology, high tech, and financial services, where the U.S. can and does run circles around it. It could easily be proven, for instance, that when digital and financial services, licensing revenues, and investment returns are emphasized, the U.S. runs a much bigger surplus than the Germans do in trade.

The fact is that while Trump may not be quite right on the German trade surplus and its causes, Merkel’s 12-year rule in Germany has, for the most part, been unsuccessful, not to say disastrous. To start with, it was under Merkel’s leadership that Germany abruptly decided to ban nuclear power on the absurd assumption that the Fukushima disaster could repeat itself in Germany, a country that has never had a tsunami or an earthquake larger than 5 on the Richter scale. This irrational decision by the chancellor to do away with a legitimate industry that produced 25% of the country’s clean and inexpensive energy, apart from its dubious legality and lack of scientific and economic rationale, led to greater dependence on Russian gas and made inevitable the ‘energy transition’ (Energiewende) to renewable energy, whose disastrous consequences are only now coming into focus. Suffice it to say that the Germans already pay three times more than Americans (twice as much as the French) for their electricity, including a surcharge that is twice the market price of a kilowatt hour.

Bad as Merkel’s renewable folly is, it pales in comparison with her migrants debacle. Having opened the gates of Europe to unlimited immigration by mindlessly claiming that “asylum has no upper limit” and just as mindlessly repeating the mantra “we can do it,” Merkel created a fait accompli and expectations that could not possibly be met. More than that, by inviting and accepting what were essentially economic refugees seeking a better life as asylum seekers i.e. people traditionally persecuted for political or religious reasons, she de facto created a new right, the right to a better life, which has never existed in international law before.

This, in turn, guarantees that low-fertility Europe will be swamped by millions of rent-seeking Africans and Asians, who are mostly young and mostly male. The available statistics bear this out already. Asylum applications in the EU in 2015 and 2016 run some 1.3 million per year and there are additionally hundreds of thousands who do not bother to register. Moreover, even though very few of these migrants qualify for asylum, European authorities appear eager to recognize them as such. In 2016, 61% of the asylum requesters received refugee status or a subsidiary protection status. It is also the case that very few of those whose applications are turned down are deported. Once you make it to Europe, your chances of staying there are excellent, which means that the migrant wave is unlikely to subside soon.

There is yet another side to the migrants saga that receives little coverage in the politically-correct German media. After the initial euphoria of left-wing economists predicting a new Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) on account of the refugees, a sobering reality has set in.

The vast majority of migrants have neither work skills nor any German knowledge, which promises them long-term unemployment and welfare support for years. A year after the huge migrants wave hit Germany, industry had managed to hire only 54 migrants, while the cost of taking care of them is 20 billion euro per annum for as long as one can see. Add to this a 52.7% increase in migrant crime in 2016 vs 2015 and an ongoing epidemic of rapes and sexual assaults and Frau Merkel does not have all that much to be proud of. Mr. Trump may want to remind her of that too.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com



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After Paris: A Green Disaster in the Making in Germany


What Trump repeatedly promised to do during the election campaign has been done, and America is no longer part of the Paris Agreement.  Predictably, the mainstream media here and across the Atlantic have again gone totally unhinged with prophesies of doom for America, the imminent demise of the Trump administration, and the inevitable rise of Germany and Chancellor Merkel as the new leader of the free world.

This may indeed be a watershed event, but not at all as the left here and there imagines it.  Contrary to the fervent desires of the leftist elites, it will result not in the political collapse of Trump’s America, but in the exposure of the incredible hypocrisy and ultimate weakness of the socialistic environmental schemes characterizing today’s “European project.”  When it’s all said and done, either Europe will come back to its senses in close alliance with America, or it will not have much of a future.

Some may object to calling today’s E.U. a socialist scheme, pointing out that its leading member, Germany, has been led for 12 years by an allegedly conservative Christian Democrat government.  It is a fact, however, that under Merkel, the CDU has moved so far left as to be virtually indistinguishable on most policy issues from its social-democratic coalition partners.  As for the Paris Agreement itself, after a decent interval to allow for the requisite elites’ huffing and puffing while denying the inevitable, it will be quietly abandoned, much as the Kyoto Protocol was after the U.S. refused to be part of it.

Of vastly greater political significance are the inevitable shocks the E.U. faces after Paris as the huge penalties for poor policy choices made come due in the near future – and none more so than in the new putative leader of the free world, Germany.  For largely unnoticed and unreported in the U.S., with one notable exception, Germany under Merkel has made catastrophic mistakes that require urgent and costly repairs.  One stands out as particularly daunting: the wholesale effort to switch Germany to renewable energy, known as the energy transition, or Energiewende.

The Energiewende, in short, represented an effort to put into practice the principles behind the Paris Agreement and switch Germany’s electric system to renewable energy.  It was introduced  as early as 1991 in the belief that renewable energy could easily replace the hated fossil fuels if properly subsidized via a feed-in tariff and written into law as a Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in 2000.  By offering subsidies of up to seven times the market price for electricity paid by the consumer, guaranteeing it for 20 years, and offering all manner of additional benefits, the government caused a renewable building frenzy in a country that is neither sunny nor particularly windy.  And to the extent that there is wind, it is in the north, far from the industrial centers in the south that need the energy.  To add insult to injury, in 2011, Merkel ordered the closing down of the nuclear industry that produced 30% of the country’s clean and cheap energy on the absurd assumption that Germany could suffer an earthquake and tsunami like what happened at Fukushima.

Thus, the renewable energy took off spectacularly, and the international green claque promptly declared Germany the paragon of environmental virtue and an example to be followed by all.  But much of it turned out to be fake news, as documented in a new and devastating critique of the Energiewende by one of the founders of the German green movement and a pioneer of the renewable energy business, Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, who calls it “A Disaster in the Making.”

Indeed, it is.  The mindless rush to renewables has already done tremendous damage to the German standard of living, with 300,000 households each year having their electricity turned off for non-payment.  With the cost of consumer-born subsidies at 25 euros bln per annum and surcharges of 6.88 euro cents per kWh, or twice the market price of a kilowatt, Germans pay three times more than Americans today.

Worse is to come.  According to the German consumer agency NAEB, by 2020, they will be paying 45 euro cents per kWh, compared to 10 cents for the U.S. and 20 cents in France.  Nor is the green paragon likely to fulfill any of the solemn pledges it has made.  It has missed its emission reduction targets for eight years in a row now and it will miss its 2020 40% promised reduction by a mile, to say nothing of the promised 1 million electric cars on the street by 2020.  To accomplish its planned 80%-95% share of renewables by 2050, says Vahrenholt, Germany would have to triple its wind production to 155 gigawatts – which means one 200-meter-high turbine every 2.7 km in the entire country.  It won’t happen.

Against the background of this unfolding calamity, Merkel’s solemn promise to “lead energy transition” together with the Chinese sounds exactly like what it is – more crass hypocrisy.  It is yet more proof of how right President Trump was to pull America out of this sorry circus.

What’s even more promising is that Trump’s decision has made sober-thinking individuals start questioning Merkel’s disastrous policies even in Germany.  Since then, a group of influential government conservatives have openly challenged Merkel’s “unilateral” policies and demanded that they change.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of Bulgariaanalytica.org.  He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.

What Trump repeatedly promised to do during the election campaign has been done, and America is no longer part of the Paris Agreement.  Predictably, the mainstream media here and across the Atlantic have again gone totally unhinged with prophesies of doom for America, the imminent demise of the Trump administration, and the inevitable rise of Germany and Chancellor Merkel as the new leader of the free world.

This may indeed be a watershed event, but not at all as the left here and there imagines it.  Contrary to the fervent desires of the leftist elites, it will result not in the political collapse of Trump’s America, but in the exposure of the incredible hypocrisy and ultimate weakness of the socialistic environmental schemes characterizing today’s “European project.”  When it’s all said and done, either Europe will come back to its senses in close alliance with America, or it will not have much of a future.

Some may object to calling today’s E.U. a socialist scheme, pointing out that its leading member, Germany, has been led for 12 years by an allegedly conservative Christian Democrat government.  It is a fact, however, that under Merkel, the CDU has moved so far left as to be virtually indistinguishable on most policy issues from its social-democratic coalition partners.  As for the Paris Agreement itself, after a decent interval to allow for the requisite elites’ huffing and puffing while denying the inevitable, it will be quietly abandoned, much as the Kyoto Protocol was after the U.S. refused to be part of it.

Of vastly greater political significance are the inevitable shocks the E.U. faces after Paris as the huge penalties for poor policy choices made come due in the near future – and none more so than in the new putative leader of the free world, Germany.  For largely unnoticed and unreported in the U.S., with one notable exception, Germany under Merkel has made catastrophic mistakes that require urgent and costly repairs.  One stands out as particularly daunting: the wholesale effort to switch Germany to renewable energy, known as the energy transition, or Energiewende.

The Energiewende, in short, represented an effort to put into practice the principles behind the Paris Agreement and switch Germany’s electric system to renewable energy.  It was introduced  as early as 1991 in the belief that renewable energy could easily replace the hated fossil fuels if properly subsidized via a feed-in tariff and written into law as a Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in 2000.  By offering subsidies of up to seven times the market price for electricity paid by the consumer, guaranteeing it for 20 years, and offering all manner of additional benefits, the government caused a renewable building frenzy in a country that is neither sunny nor particularly windy.  And to the extent that there is wind, it is in the north, far from the industrial centers in the south that need the energy.  To add insult to injury, in 2011, Merkel ordered the closing down of the nuclear industry that produced 30% of the country’s clean and cheap energy on the absurd assumption that Germany could suffer an earthquake and tsunami like what happened at Fukushima.

Thus, the renewable energy took off spectacularly, and the international green claque promptly declared Germany the paragon of environmental virtue and an example to be followed by all.  But much of it turned out to be fake news, as documented in a new and devastating critique of the Energiewende by one of the founders of the German green movement and a pioneer of the renewable energy business, Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, who calls it “A Disaster in the Making.”

Indeed, it is.  The mindless rush to renewables has already done tremendous damage to the German standard of living, with 300,000 households each year having their electricity turned off for non-payment.  With the cost of consumer-born subsidies at 25 euros bln per annum and surcharges of 6.88 euro cents per kWh, or twice the market price of a kilowatt, Germans pay three times more than Americans today.

Worse is to come.  According to the German consumer agency NAEB, by 2020, they will be paying 45 euro cents per kWh, compared to 10 cents for the U.S. and 20 cents in France.  Nor is the green paragon likely to fulfill any of the solemn pledges it has made.  It has missed its emission reduction targets for eight years in a row now and it will miss its 2020 40% promised reduction by a mile, to say nothing of the promised 1 million electric cars on the street by 2020.  To accomplish its planned 80%-95% share of renewables by 2050, says Vahrenholt, Germany would have to triple its wind production to 155 gigawatts – which means one 200-meter-high turbine every 2.7 km in the entire country.  It won’t happen.

Against the background of this unfolding calamity, Merkel’s solemn promise to “lead energy transition” together with the Chinese sounds exactly like what it is – more crass hypocrisy.  It is yet more proof of how right President Trump was to pull America out of this sorry circus.

What’s even more promising is that Trump’s decision has made sober-thinking individuals start questioning Merkel’s disastrous policies even in Germany.  Since then, a group of influential government conservatives have openly challenged Merkel’s “unilateral” policies and demanded that they change.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of Bulgariaanalytica.org.  He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.



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The Real Lessons of the Dutch Elections


The Dutch elections of March 15 were billed around Europe and beyond as a battle royal between the forces of populist evil, as represented by Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV), and virtually everybody else in the motley crew of Dutch electoral politics. The victory of prime minister’s Mark Rutte’s VVD party (which lost 20% of its seats) over Wilders’s PVV (which added 25%), was greeted rapturously as a monumental defeat for populism and a great triumph for Europe across the political spectrum. In fact, it was nothing of the kind, and if its coverage showed anything, it was that the European press, much like the American mainstream press, had become a one-trick pony that is good at demonstrating political bias, but rather useless in helping one understand where Europe is going. For these elections did have some profound implications for the future not only of the Netherlands, but all of Europe, that were nearly completely missed in the tons of ink spilled on partisan post-mortems.

Two things stand out. An openly Islamist party made it into an European parliament on its very first try and the usual political home of Muslims in Europe heretofore — the socialist Left, suffered a grievous defeat, likely as a result, with the Dutch Labor party losing all but 9 of its 38 seats. This is a paradigm change documenting the growth of political Islam in Europe and almost certainly ushers a new and disturbing trend.

The Islamist party is called Denk (‘think’ in Dutch, “equality” in Turkish) and it was founded by former Labor parliamentarians who are ethnically Turkish. Denk is as radical as Erdogan’s AKP, of which Denk claims to be an affiliate. It openly rejects integration, the worn-out mantra of the Left, which it sees as a form of racism, and instead advocates acceptance of Muslims and their culture as they are. Aiming to take advantage of the migrants’ youth, it urges voting at 16 and control of local government by the local majority, thus solidifying existing Muslim-dominated parallel societies in Dutch cities with large Muslim populations like Rotterdam, Amsterdam, the Hague, and Utrecht. It further calls for a ‘racism’ and Islamophobia register that would disqualify those listed from holding public office. It wants imams to be present in all schools, hospitals, and the military, whose education is to be paid by the state, but without any state interference in the curriculum.

It also has foreign political ideas that are closely aligned with those of Erdogan. It calls for EU policies that are pro-Palestinian and anti-American and, of course, vigorously denies that there was an Armenian genocide.

Denk is only six months old and yet it managed to garner 205,000 votes in the election. With nearly 1 million Dutch citizens of mostly Turkish and Moroccan descent, its prospects must be considered bright. Which brings us to the question of what makes Muslims, who in many cases have lived most of their lives in liberal European societies, vote for a party that openly rejects European norms and values. It is indeed puzzling that 60% of the German Turks and 70% of their Dutch co-ethnics voted for Erdogan in the last elections, as he systematically dismantled what was left of Turkish democracy. The most troubling implication of this is the simple question that European governments never dare ask in their happy integration talk. What happens to Europe if it turns out that its Muslims do not want to integrate?

And signs that this indeed might be the case are proliferating from all over the continent of late. It is, for instance, well established that most of the 20,000 or so jihadists who joined terrorist groups in Syria and elsewhere in the past few years were born, raised, and radicalized in Europe and not in the Middle East. It is also a fact that the radical growth of anti-Semitism in France and elsewhere is directly tied to the growing Muslim presence, which for more than a year now has necessitated de facto martial law in France. Nor are most other current trends sanguine.

Perhaps the main reason for the Islamists growing confidence is the belief that time is on their side. Regrettably, most demographic data unmistakably point in that direction. Europe’s native populations are old, tired, and declining, while the mostly unintegrated Muslims are young and vigorous. The median age in Germany, for instance, is a very old 46.8 years of age, while Muslims average 32 years, even as the dismal German fertility of 1.44 children per woman compares to a Muslim fertility that is close to twice as high. These demographic discrepancies were given further impetus by Angela Merkel’s policy in 2015 of inviting millions of mostly young, mostly male migrants without skills or education and limited chances of obtaining asylum. EU authorities claim that the number of asylum claimants in 2015 was 1,321,560, while the border police organization, Frontex, believes that 1,800,000 came in 2015 with any number of jihadists hidden among them. Since then, the flow has continued with half as many arriving in 2016 and Erdogan threatening that he would unleash a new tsunami of migrants if Europe does not do as he wishes.

Faced with this assault on its fundamental values, Europe has no better reaction than to gang up on a politician who must sleep in a different place every night to avoid being killed for his views. O tempora, o mores! 

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies and the editor of the geopolitical website bulgariaanalytica.org. He twits on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.

The Dutch elections of March 15 were billed around Europe and beyond as a battle royal between the forces of populist evil, as represented by Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV), and virtually everybody else in the motley crew of Dutch electoral politics. The victory of prime minister’s Mark Rutte’s VVD party (which lost 20% of its seats) over Wilders’s PVV (which added 25%), was greeted rapturously as a monumental defeat for populism and a great triumph for Europe across the political spectrum. In fact, it was nothing of the kind, and if its coverage showed anything, it was that the European press, much like the American mainstream press, had become a one-trick pony that is good at demonstrating political bias, but rather useless in helping one understand where Europe is going. For these elections did have some profound implications for the future not only of the Netherlands, but all of Europe, that were nearly completely missed in the tons of ink spilled on partisan post-mortems.

Two things stand out. An openly Islamist party made it into an European parliament on its very first try and the usual political home of Muslims in Europe heretofore — the socialist Left, suffered a grievous defeat, likely as a result, with the Dutch Labor party losing all but 9 of its 38 seats. This is a paradigm change documenting the growth of political Islam in Europe and almost certainly ushers a new and disturbing trend.

The Islamist party is called Denk (‘think’ in Dutch, “equality” in Turkish) and it was founded by former Labor parliamentarians who are ethnically Turkish. Denk is as radical as Erdogan’s AKP, of which Denk claims to be an affiliate. It openly rejects integration, the worn-out mantra of the Left, which it sees as a form of racism, and instead advocates acceptance of Muslims and their culture as they are. Aiming to take advantage of the migrants’ youth, it urges voting at 16 and control of local government by the local majority, thus solidifying existing Muslim-dominated parallel societies in Dutch cities with large Muslim populations like Rotterdam, Amsterdam, the Hague, and Utrecht. It further calls for a ‘racism’ and Islamophobia register that would disqualify those listed from holding public office. It wants imams to be present in all schools, hospitals, and the military, whose education is to be paid by the state, but without any state interference in the curriculum.

It also has foreign political ideas that are closely aligned with those of Erdogan. It calls for EU policies that are pro-Palestinian and anti-American and, of course, vigorously denies that there was an Armenian genocide.

Denk is only six months old and yet it managed to garner 205,000 votes in the election. With nearly 1 million Dutch citizens of mostly Turkish and Moroccan descent, its prospects must be considered bright. Which brings us to the question of what makes Muslims, who in many cases have lived most of their lives in liberal European societies, vote for a party that openly rejects European norms and values. It is indeed puzzling that 60% of the German Turks and 70% of their Dutch co-ethnics voted for Erdogan in the last elections, as he systematically dismantled what was left of Turkish democracy. The most troubling implication of this is the simple question that European governments never dare ask in their happy integration talk. What happens to Europe if it turns out that its Muslims do not want to integrate?

And signs that this indeed might be the case are proliferating from all over the continent of late. It is, for instance, well established that most of the 20,000 or so jihadists who joined terrorist groups in Syria and elsewhere in the past few years were born, raised, and radicalized in Europe and not in the Middle East. It is also a fact that the radical growth of anti-Semitism in France and elsewhere is directly tied to the growing Muslim presence, which for more than a year now has necessitated de facto martial law in France. Nor are most other current trends sanguine.

Perhaps the main reason for the Islamists growing confidence is the belief that time is on their side. Regrettably, most demographic data unmistakably point in that direction. Europe’s native populations are old, tired, and declining, while the mostly unintegrated Muslims are young and vigorous. The median age in Germany, for instance, is a very old 46.8 years of age, while Muslims average 32 years, even as the dismal German fertility of 1.44 children per woman compares to a Muslim fertility that is close to twice as high. These demographic discrepancies were given further impetus by Angela Merkel’s policy in 2015 of inviting millions of mostly young, mostly male migrants without skills or education and limited chances of obtaining asylum. EU authorities claim that the number of asylum claimants in 2015 was 1,321,560, while the border police organization, Frontex, believes that 1,800,000 came in 2015 with any number of jihadists hidden among them. Since then, the flow has continued with half as many arriving in 2016 and Erdogan threatening that he would unleash a new tsunami of migrants if Europe does not do as he wishes.

Faced with this assault on its fundamental values, Europe has no better reaction than to gang up on a politician who must sleep in a different place every night to avoid being killed for his views. O tempora, o mores! 

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies and the editor of the geopolitical website bulgariaanalytica.org. He twits on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.



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