Studies reveal that terror organisations barely ever reach their goals – but are experts in lengthening conflicts into the infinite. So if you really want to get what you are striving for, the last thing you want to do is grab a gun.
But despite their chronically lack of success, how can terror groups be so die-hard at the same time? The implication is that, since getting closer to the official aim is obviously not what’s most important, something else is. So while you waste your time (and, possibly, limbs), some warlord is getting rich and powerful on your effort. I would take any bet that both the most high-ranked PKK or AKP leaders own much more cars than the average drone fighting for them ever drove.
Sadly, fueling pointless conflicts for the sake of stabilising the own powerhold is something both autocratic and elected governments can excel in.
Very interesting from a linguistic perspective in this aspect, but also useful to show how rhetorics is actively used to influence the perception of the public eye, is declaring a “War on” something. This figure of speech associates an often peaceful, subtle development to the most dramatic and brutal motive common language knows, which is war.
It apparently all began with US President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” in 1964. What he back then described wasn’t as much going into slums with armored vehicles and assault rifles to kill people who paid the wrong bribes (that’s Brazil), but increasing welfare benefits and so on. By calling it the “War on Poverty”, Johnson could A) making something rather technical sound as if only a decisive President McManly could have the balls to bring it on and B) pretend that the rapid decline in poverty, a development that started five years earlier, was due to his initiative.*
The next time “War on” rhetorics were used is probably the most interesting. The “War on Drugs”, declared by Nixon in 1971, lasts until today, with the Obama administration no longer using this term and heavily revising the approach. It’s getting kinda complicated from here, and many things I read sounded like conspiracy theories to me only a few years ago. Apparently, if you ask any expert who’s not working for the US government or FOX news (who aren’t experts in the first place), the War on Drugs’ true intention is something between keeping certain social groups in the US down, and maintaining a sort of post-colonial control over South America, having it plagued by narco mafias against which ISIS seems humanist. (Sources, sources, sources, or just google “chomsky war on drugs”, “drugs cia”, “latina america drug war”, etc.).
All the blood-drenched consequences of the War on Drugs aside, let’s look at the intention behind the rhetorics.
There is a social phenomena – drugs – which has been around since, like, ever. Imagine that there are poor kids who get serious diseases because they don’t know how to use leisure substances most adults use without much consequence. Now, you’re tasked to find ways to help them, what would come to your mind? Perhaps educational programs and age restriction would be what most people would say. You wouldn’t think of guns, racial profiling and fortress-like border posts to deal with children binge-drinking beer, would you?**
But now it’s called a war, so all those things kinda seem normal. Plus, nice side effect, when there’s a war, there’s an enemy. So now you as a policy maker can blame the traffickers rather than the shitty handling of the situation in the past years, which would include dealing with circumstances you actually profit from – such as war-torn countries abroad buying your weapons.
For my generation, the most famous outburst of “War on” rhetorics is about actual wars. As we know, the War on Terror is a story of unlimited success – if read backwards. The organisation which took Al-Qaedas place now controls a vast territory and shitloads of natural resources. They are no-longer dependant on foreign investment, something Al-Qaeda never achieved.
However, by declaring a War on Terror, rather than a war on certain countries and leaders, the US could – and does – justify bombing any given place that could host terrorists. Also, there’s this alleged higher cause to it. The Bush administration didn’t only fight Bin Laden and his bros, no! It fought terrorism as a whole. Deep shit.
Oh, and then there’s this Republican invention called “War on Religion”/”War on Christianity”, which is just too obvious to go into. It’s to the other rhetorics a bit like “50 Shades of Grey” to “Twilight”; jumping on a running train and blending in with the stupid.
So, what on earth is a “Schleuser” anyways and why did I put it into my title? Schleuser is the German word for human trafficker. It’s being used by German politicians and media so excessively that I begin to assume that it no-longer describes actual people, but an abstract imagery of the bad guys responsible for all the refugees we’re getting.
If you watched news recently, you will find that many EU policy makers rather talk about fighting human traffickers (not “human trafficking”, but explicitly “human traffickers”), which is the symptom of a symptom.
Meanwhile, the actual human traffickers get richer as getting into Europe becomes harder. I’m no longer talking about the guys who drive the trucks and commandeer the boats. I’m talking about the guys above, coordinating and controlling said henchmen. Just like drug lords.
Now, “War on” rhetorics appear to be something exclusively American, but I fear – and am hopefully wrong so – that European politicians use comparable diversion tactics. It’s hard to fight the causes of displacement, it’s hard to even fathom the topic in its complexity. But it is relatively easy to identify a group of humans as responsible for our moral misery. Humans who are weak and can’t expect protection from their indifferent governments, nor from the cartels who use them, and likely threaten them into obedience.
Despite this helplessness and – hopefully indirect – cooperation with mob bosses, I personally still have trust in the EU nonetheless. As a reason why, I will use an example that’s actually a failure.
Dublin II*** is the name of the agreement that, in the past, organised how refugees are distributed within European borders, and it sums up to settling down on the status quo. According to Dublin II, Asylum seekers have to stay in the country they were first registered in. It’s a bit as if the European Union, including its awesome ideas on personal freedom, wouldn’t exist. It’s also obvious that the concept would eventually fall, starting with Sweden and Germany becoming more soft on it. By the time this is published, Germany might have already abandoned Dublin II.
So how does this pointless agreement in any way speak in favour of the EU? Because without international coordination, it could never have been met. And now that our leaders finally notice that it sucks, they will, under the watchful eye of the public, be forced to come up with something better. Maybe something fairer. Maybe they will even agree on Europe-wide shelter, integration and language projects. You see, that’s a lot of maybes, but in a world of nations brooding about their own problems, none of this would even be an option. In that case, we would be stuck with Dublin II forever, without having a name for it, which would suck balls for southern Europe at first, and for the rest of us in the long run.
To summarise; I don’t support the European Union because our current politics (or politicians) are so great. They are not specifically ideal. But I do support the European Union because working together across borders is the key to peace and stability. Organised crime and inhuman business interests will always collaborate internationally. They could never be handled on a national basis. They also try to hijack democratic projects, which only means that civil societies must be empathic and vigilant beyond national interest.
In another note, Syria no longer exists. There are almost 10 million Syrians on the run who need homes now or very soon. That is equal to less than 2% of the current population of the EU, assuming that they would all want to live in what Noam Chomsky thinks to be the most racist continent ever.
It’s also not as if population increase would be something terribly bad for states. Historically speaking, it rather seems to go along with economic growth and golden eras. Integrating the millions of displaced from Asia and Africa will not be easy, but it can work. With combined and coordinated effort.
* However, I know waaay to little about this topic to judge the success of the actual program.
** Alcohol is arguably more or equally dangerous than most hard drugs: Source, source, with a chart showing the finding of the study here. Hey, did you ever try booze in a country where it’s forbidden? I didn’t. And I won’t. Because, since it’s illegal, there are no regulations to keep the stuff somewhat safe.
*** Also known as “Fuck you, Spain, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria”.