I could write this essay to be 400 pages easily, but why make it that complicated. So, this is a 150-line summary/essay to basically lay out the immigration, asylum, integration mess of Germany....how things got this way....and the connection of journalists, intellectuals and politicians to the big picture.
So....once upon a time....the German culture woke up and made decisions on their own to have fewer kids. Careers, high cost of living, limited opportunities, whatever.....it all starts in the 1960s and is recognized by the end of the 1960s as an fact. Politicians think they can fix this.....later admitting that their tricks aren't really working well. About a decade ago, the rate for a couple on production came to about 1.5 kids per couple.
In 2015, I read three separate reports (private economic foundation, government statistics agency, and a university). All came to the central theme that Germany will shrink from 82-million (presently) to somewhere between 65 and 70 million by 2035 (twenty years away). The only thing the three disagreed upon was the outcome number. 12-million people will drop over the next twenty years. The only thing preventing that? Immigration.
Does this spiral matter? If you were running a pension program, a medical health insurance program, or an industrial complex relying upon manpower....yeah, the 12-million matters.
You can admit this to a 100,000 Germans, but it really doesn't drill down into their subconscious. They don't typically think 20 years ahead. For political folks....you can sip whiskey in dark cafes and conduct a four hour conversation about the implications. Beyond that....it's just talk.
So, along comes this odd moment. You've got some migrant values in play.....asylum, wars, immigration, etc.
In a normal year in Germany....over the past twenty-five years.....roughly 250,000 people will try for asylum or migration. Some years were slightly higher, but on average....it stays between 200,000 and 250,000. It was a wide assortment, but over the past decade....you could say that East Europeans fell more into this category, with the Turks.
2014? 450,000 migrants and asylum seekers came to Germany. The bulk were Iraqi, Syrian and Afghani. The rest were from at least twenty odd countries. Some Muslim....some non-Muslim.
2015? The number goes from 1.1 million down to 950,000.....depending on which government report you want to use.
With people hyped up and angry over the program set by Berlin....Merkel and company went to a plan where they offered some things (EU membership perhaps, visa-free options, and three billion Euro a year) to Turkey to help slow the refugees down.
Turkey accepted the deal but they expected membership to be serious (which it never really has been treated that way). Somewhere in 2016, the coup came, and Turkey's whole deal is about as fragile as you can get.
The way that this open door was run? This is where things get interesting. Everything about the shelter business, the BaMF (agency that runs the immigration paperwork), the cost factor, the integration requirements, and the disapproval results (sending them out of Germany if necessary) all became some amateur-hour game. It was almost like first-year college students running Apple or Goggle....with no clear comprehension about the end-result.
Crime? Oddly, statistics show that since the early 1990s....it' been edging up slightly, and was already a problem before 2014. A lot of the crime is more relative to crime gangs or syndicates from Lebanon, Serbia, Russia, North Africa, Bulgaria, Romania, etc. Cop manpower since the 1990s has been cut....so we are back into a hiring phase for cops but it may be three to five years before you really start to see effects on the crime. Anything related to Syrians or Iraqis? No. You can't show anything other than a handful of terror episodes leading back to them.
Did the Berlin crowd really know what they were doing? I would speculate that they were continually behind when it came to analyzing numbers and grasping where things were going.
Effect of journalists? They took a pro-immigration lead and tried to cast negativity at anyone who suggested that this was screwed up and needed to stopped or discussed more. In some ways, the journalists have made themselves a less-trusted element in this whole thing. This even brought more conversation about the monthly TV-media tax. If you look at pro-slant from January of 2015 to today....it's vastly different and the journalists are very careful not to make this a hyped up event.
Effect on politics? Because the CDU, FDP, SPD, Linke Party and Green Party handcuffed themselves to the Merkel policy....it seemed like that no real change was going to occur to affect the vision. Minor criticism by the CSU? It drew some public interest but seemed to be limited.
Then along came the AfD Party. They were going to be anti-immigrate, period. Yeah, a one-trick pony....with very limited chat or platform for anything else. Oddly, this was the only place you could cast a frustration vote and send a message to Berlin.
Today, the AfD might get in the 12-to-14 percent range nationally....in the east....maybe up to 20 percent on occasion in state elections. For the SPD and CDU, the AfD has carved out votes and puts both of them (yes, even SPD voters are frustrated) in a difficult position.
So, you would think.....new vision, new politics, new strategy....dump Merkel....and just aim for the September 2017 national election? Well....no. The CDU is mostly stuck with Merkel. There just aren't any four-star characters ready for the national stage. The SPD....mostly in a 22 percent situation nationally and limited on what they can do about the immigration issue.
Muslims part of this whole problem? To some degree, you have the terror issue....the integration success (or limited success)....and the vail-business (the burqa) which has become some political theme. Some political folks are defending a multi-culty society....some see multi-culty as a failure. Oddly, a lot of the Syrians had crafts, degrees and job experience which help to quickly fit them into this job market. Iraqis less so. Afghanis much less so, and the rest are very marginally able to fit in unless you offer a lot of job-training chances. Cost of this job-training business? It's something that can't be discussed in public much.
Just talking over the next four years, cost of job-training, language programs, social programs to cover the new folks.....it's believed that 20-odd billion might be the magic number for this group. But you can't be sure.
Fake names, fake passports, fake ID's? Everywhere up and down the line....there are fakes. Some people figured out early on that Syrians got approved more than anyone else....so fake Syrian passports are valued. Some other folks figured out that "kids" are getting a better deal....so they came as underage kids and told the Germans they were 14 or 15.....when they were 18, 20 or 22 years old. Some people even figured out that you could come with one kid and say your wife died....with the Germans giving you an apartment to you and the kid.....then the kid disappeared three to six months later....and reality is that there never was a kid for you.....you just borrowed a kid from a relative or friend to get in the front door.
The moment when the whole game changed? After the Koln New Year's Eve episode with over 1,000 police reports filed....with the bulk on groping or sexual assault, and the ARD/ZDF news folks delayed reporting this for five days....that was the magic moment. Within a month, I would take a guess that what was a one-third negative on this episode.....turned into a sixty to seventy percent negative situation. Cops today will tell that less than 10-percent of the folks from Koln night have been brought into court. Most will never face charges. The general public is fairly angry at the cops, the city, and the legal system.
Here's the thing. This has all been some national strategy....bought by the bulk of the Berlin crowd. It's not a Merkel-owned theme.....they all bought into it.
Firing Merkel or fixing this? No one wants early elections and if you did offer them....then what? The AfD crowd might shock people with 20 percent on a really harsh campaign but it doesn't mean they can win and form a government. And if AfD did get 35 percent of the vote? What exactly can they really do? Maybe ban the burqa....maybe briefly slow down the migration situation before the courts hinder them. There are a limited number of things that AfD might be able to construct.
A new Merkel strategy? A new SPD strategy? Three or four things have been put on the table. Each slightly different. The SPD folks want a test for each asylum person....which you'd have to show a craft or education to get past the front door. Merkel suggest a burqa ban. Cop increases are on everyone's mind.
If all these immigrants had been Chinese? I've often speculated on this that 500,000 Chinese would have thrown an entirely dynamic into this game and made integration and adjustment a totally more acceptable situation. The same is true if 200,000 South Koreans had made the decision to come settle in the Pfalz or Hessen area. Part of this whole discussion is centered on Islam, and a large segment of society who've never been in a progressive culture or Christian country before. Just walking into a public pool area gets some Muslim young guys all freaked out and thinking they are in a topless bar.
Reality is that a bunch of these migrants and newcomers are now grasping that the cost-of-living is outrageous, and that any idea that they had of having four or six kids....is going to be next to impossible to afford. Just walking into Lidl grocery and figuring out what you get for seventy Euro is a challenge.
Keeping your religion? One-third of Germans are atheists. Germany is one of the most progressive societies in the world. Kids talk birth-control by age 12. Songs on TV and radio feature full-up sex-chat and get played around the clock. German women dress in a provocative way....around the clock. Booze and marijuana are openly consumed (weed might be illegal but it's sold like chocolate candy). German TV features all kinds of challenges to ones morality. So out of 185-odd countries in the world.....if I were a very conservative religious guy....Germany would be one of the twenty last countries that I would bring my wife, or kids into. The numbers are slanted that a fair portion of the Islam crowd coming in....will lose their faith....one way or another.
So, that's reality. It's an epic story. Some fancy castle in the distance. A bunch of folks wanting the golden unicorn feeling. Black knights at the castle walls. The old queen has seen her better days. The court jester (Thilo Sarrazin) is the only legit guy with a sense about the outcome. Some fake fairy pretending to have the magic potion. Wolves in the mist and fog. A kingdom in search of a knight to slay all it's dragons. Some Brothers Grimm characters trying to weave a good tale out of a bad tale. And a false enchantment consuming the trust of Kingdom's peasants?
You need this story to just end, and move onto a different set of adventures or fresh new problems.