Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Talking Fences and History

There's been more 'chat' by Bavarian state officials in Germany today....discussing the need for the Chancellor to have a discussion with Austria on the border and lack of security with refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants still actively crossing.  Around mid-day, there was this hint that if the Chancellor does stand to do something soon....Bavaria on it's own....would proceed.

It's hard to figure the threat here and what Bavaria could do.

Bavaria could go and just say they won't hold anymore refugees, period.  Even if the Berlin crowd dictates some new opening of a camp or facility....the state folks could just deny it any status and refuse it to open.

Bavaria could go forward and say it'll build a fence around the southern end of the state.  You'd be talking about a 500-kilometer fence.  If they built it along the standard of the Hungarian fence....it'd take roughly six to eight months to wrap up.  The cost factor might persuade them to avoid this.

With the fence in place....Austria would have opposition folks up in arms and demanding a fence on the southern end of Austria.  I'd estimate roughly 150 kilometers as the minimum necessary.  Slovenia would jump into the fence game and likely have to build a 100 kilometer fence.

If the migration bunch analyzes all of this....the next route would be some sea ferry or rubber boat activity....which would get asylum seekers from Albania to Italy, and then they'd march north through Switzerland or France.....to reach the German border.

It doesn't take much for someone to see a whole bunch of fence building activity for 2016....possibly even getting to the point where Saarbrucken and the state of the Pfalz in western Germany end up with some fence project on their schedule.

How did fences really work in the 1960s and 1970s?  Well....mostly with regular wiring, some guards, and landmines.  No one has suggested this type of defensive posture in Germany but after they come to realize that a handy pair of fence cutters can remedy a good fence situation....that's likely to be the next step to arrive.

I was looking up an element of Roman history from 370 AD period which had this interesting refugee episode occur with the Roman Empire.  The Romans woke up one day to realize on one side of the Danube River....roughly 100,000 men, women and children were there at the river crossing and wanting to get to the Roman-controlled side.  They were essentially refugees, and felt that Rome had all the benefits in life that they desired, and they felt their lives were in danger.

At the time....Vilens was Emperor of Rome,  He did some brief analysis and believed that the 100,000 Goths could be helpful for the Empire.  Rome had an issue with troops for it's army, and this would have been 'free help'.

So the decision is made, and the Romans allow a slow but steady passage across the river and into the Empire.  Almost immediately, there were issues because of no shelter....no food.....and ill will by the Romans.  As the months went by.....this decision by Vilens was unconsidered unwise.

So, Vilens decides to take measures into hand....with military force.  There's a battle that comes out of this meeting between the wild hoards of the Goths and the Roman Empire.....today referred to as the Battle of Adrianople.  Rome's Army was defeated and Vilens was killed in the battle.  The peace treaty that came out of this strong Goth position?  The Goths wanted to have their own autonomous region....within the Roman Empire....run by them, and they'd provide troops to Rome (by their agreements).  From that point on.....Rome wasn't really a threat to anyone anymore.....the Goths would dictate who they'd fight and why.  In some ways, this one battle and defeat....ended the Roman Empire.

When you look at the migration pattern, and the inability of the Germans or for that matter....any European country.....to control the flow.....the border situation is finished and not worth discussing.   If five million refugees wanted to march from the Middle East tomorrow.....they would do so, without much restricting them.

Vilens probably was a competent Roman leader....but he simply didn't see all the consequences of his action in full view.  I think the German leadership of today is basically in the same position.


John Samples said...

The emperor's name was Valens. A credible account of all this may be found at the Wikipedia article on Valens. You have to be careful generally with analogies to Rome, especially the last century of the empire. In this case, Valens meant to admit a small number of Goths but ended up with large number of armed tribal members. A small coterie of Romans then mistreated the Goths leading to war which ended as noted at Adrianople which itself was a disaster because of Valens' unwillingness to wait for support from Gratian. Today Germany is admitting mostly young male economic refugees and some others fleeing war. They are not armed and not especially tribal, at least compared to the Goths, no? They threaten to engage in "capitalist acts between consenting adults," no? They do pose cultural challenges no doubt. But they are unlikely to kill Merkel on a battlefield, if only because our leaders today don't appear on the battlefield!

R Hammond said...

What I'm curious about....ever since finding the Goth battle and the introduction into Empire....there's just not much mentioned or referenced to the Rome Senate during this period. It would be curious to compare notes between what the Senate discussed and how the Bundestag members currently chat on the topic. Beyond that, it's apples and oranges....Rome gave no welfare aid or language training....and housing would have been the absolute last thing on mind of Roman citizens for these new residents....which is exactly the opposite of Germany today. In some ways, it's remarkable that we have such limited knowledge from this period and rely upon just a handful of people to write their version of what they heard or were told. Even the 100,000 refugee number....is apparently disagreed upon to a fair extent.