Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How Did the Crisis in Germany Get to This Point?

This is an essay designed to take the non-German through the pace and explain the simplicity of what happened and where this is all going.

First, note in your mind that for two or three decades...a small number of Syrians made their way into Germany.  It was never that many per year and if you asked the Germans up until 2011....they probably would have said there weren't more than a couple thousand in Germany.  The Turk to Syrian ratio....at least to 2011....was probably 25 to 1 minimum.....maybe even going 60 to 1.

In the spring of 2011, the civil war unfolds in Syria.  It's actually a number of civil wars and leadership turnovers going on....within at least five different middle eastern countries.

A product of the US and Saudi Arabia?  There is an argument which has been made.....that both shared the idea of getting Assad out, while the other leaders were being purged.  On paper.....it might have made sense.

So the war started with the general public of Syria on one side, and Assad's army on the other side.  Somewhere in the mix of public militias....was ISIS.

After Benghazi, there is some minor belief (not enough evidence to say yes or no) that ISIS stepped out of their role on the public side, and became more of threat to everyone.  It was briefly......a war between Assad versus the public force versus ISIS.  The public realized the massive threat, and vacated Syria.

Various relatives begin to call or contact relatives in Europe.....which there were a number already in Germany.  It took less than a year for some type of 'funnel' to occur and people started a migration pattern.  On paper, the German immigration folks had to realize something was building up....but the Berlin crowd acts like they had other priorities or simply didn't think it would go beyond a certain point.  Who would have believed that 800,000 people would just walk to Germany?

By the end of 2013, it was more than obvious.  Journalists would occasionally bring up the hikers and the trail that was growing from Greece to Bavaria.  Germany had no problem with 100,000 to 200,000 people (from all walks of life) trying to immigrate into Germany.  That was a number that was acceptable.  In 2013, the immigration office could still approve people in roughly six weeks for a visa.

Wonderful tools of innovation and technology led to successful "hikes": GPS, a refugee-like software similar to Trip-Adviser, smart-phones, SKYP, text messages, and Google maps.

Guys blazed trails and left advice. The advice was updated and enthusiasm built up as people noted success story after success story.

By the end of 2014, the immigration numbers were up to around 400,000 to 450,000.  Approving visas was now taking longer and longer.

Now, another odd thing developed.....guys from Africa were now showing up.  Economic refugees from Albania started to show up.  Guys from Pakistan and Afghanistan were showing up.  

By early 2015, the visa approval rate was rapidly changing.  Economic refugees were approved at one-percent.  Syrians were approved at roughly 90-percent.  It'd take almost six months to approve or disapprove someone.

The Berlin leadership felt for the first five months of 2015....the big problem was Greece.  By July, they began to realize that the immigration and asylum problem was actually bigger.

Adding to the frustration was the fact that Berlin itself....didn't want to deal with the issue....they wanted individual states to be the focus.  But funding was a joke.  It was not until Feb/Mar timeframe of 2015.....that the Berlin folks woke up and started to pump more money into individual states.

Around late 2014, the opposition to the asylum and refugee business became a problem.  Oddly, the Berlin leadership used state-run TV and tried to downplay the opposition.  State-run TV will say today that only twenty-percent of Germany is anti-immigrant.  It's stronger in the east than west, as the TV moderators will tell people.  Oddly, there's a lot of Bavarians who are anti-refugee at this point....maybe up to thirty to forty percent of the voting public is asking questions now.

Political chat panels are formed and great efforts are utilized to convince the public that helping the refugees....ALL of the refugees....is a good thing.  For a while, they were able to convince the public that other European countries loved Germany for doing this thing.  In the last three months, because of zero cooperation on the quota system....the German media now tries to say that the only countries against them are eastern European countries.

In retrospect, this is a problem which should have been handled in a different way.....going back to the summer of 2014.  There's a limit, per month, that Germany can probably handle in an effective manner.  The mythical jobs that will be for the refugees?  Its a comical way of telling the story and most people question how these jobs came out of thin air.  There is an absolute need for refugees and building up the German population.....but it should have been done in some better organized method.

What will happen?  I'd speculate and predict four things:

1.  The trend will continue into 2016, and it'll be roughly one-million-plus refugees in 2016, and maybe the same number for 2017. By the summer of 2016, even the pro-asylum/immigration crowd will ask questions and start to get less supportive.

2.  The Syrians will adapt and probably be a move seen in twenty years as positive.

3.  The three state elections in March of 2016 will go badly for the SPD and CDU, and we might see some really harsh changes to the German political environment (state-wise).  It'll worry the Berlin crowd, and then we'll see even more state-run TV theatrics and goofy political chat with no logic or common sense.

4.  A ton of money will be expenditure to make this all work.  Way beyond ten billion a year, for each of the next five years.  Housing shortages in twenty-odd major cities will be a frustrating mess and shuffle some political parties in and out of power.

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