Monday, June 20, 2016

Putin's Syrian Strategy Seems To Be Working As Brits Poised To Vote On Their EU Membership

I've been assuming for a while now that one of Putin's strategies in Syria is to increase the number of refugees flooding into Europe.  This helps to raise tension and conflict in the EU countries and ultimately to break down cooperation across Europe, not only in economics, but in military strength and commitment along Russia's borders.  Less unity means it's harder for Europeans to stand united against Russia.

The influx of refugees has done all of this and more.  On World Refugee Day (today), we're only a few days away from the British vote on whether to stay in the EU or not.  [UPDATE June 25, 2016:  they voted to leave the EU.]

Forbes seems to think that the refugees themselves will eventually make Europe more anti-Russian than it is today. That may be, but in the meantime, European unity is being severely tested. And the lives of millions of refugees are being being uprooted.

As the son of refugees who survived Nazi Germany because they were able to get out, my heart is with all refugees.


  1. Putin won. And today I lost the country I moved to, one that was part of a larger purpose than nationalism. One set in Europe. One that respected the movement of ideas, capital and people.

    I was proud of that day I became British. You remember. Today, I feel shame for what we've done to ourselves and to Europe's future.

    And others, the 52%, are celebrating their victory...
    I can only offer this experience to Americans: If the British could vote this rash political act, Americans could elect Trump.

    It wasn't supposed to be possible. It just wasn't.

  2. And Steve, thanks for the water video and your reminder to us all of how refugees can be anyone. My issue is your issue on this one. No doubt about it; the chasm between our worlds is crossed. I guess I can be grateful for that, at least.

    Be well.

  3. Jacob, I’m sorry I’m not there to come by and drag you out to climb a hill, fly a kite, rant in Hyde Park, or some other distracting fun. But I’m sure you are doing something like this on your own.

    I know the British establishment felt the same way when the North American colonies voted for independence. Our US history books paint it as a singularly good thing, but there was just as much angst in the colonies over it. Perhaps this vote gives us a new perspective on 1776. Or not. At least the EU is not sending troops to prevent this.

    My basic sense is that building things - especially networks of cooperation - is far harder than destroying them. So yes, overall this probably will become a prime example of the dangers of democracy. And your Trump warnings are echoing loud and clear.

    But change also shakes up the power structure, opens space for creativity and new ways of thinking and doing. Focus on those opportunities. I’m guessing, for example, the Scots will be voting to leave the UK again and to join the EU before long. And maybe the Irish too?

  4. Deeply appreciated, Steve. Thank you. Your thoughts these past days are particularly good. You're taking social cause to the human (it's almost literary in its application of the intimate scale) and your reply to me here is similarly a real help.

    Of course our country (the UK) is no different today than it was a few days ago. Perhaps we're only people that caught a common political bug and voted whilst ill -- that seems pretty much it, really. We should recover from our fever. We'll then wake up, smell our tea and clear our heads and get on with it all.

    I do hope so.

    But we've changed who will rise to speak for us. We've broken an essential relationship with our past. We've consented to forces which see good in destroying what so many saw good. And what hurts is that we are all culpable for a narrowly-won result voted on a bad stretch. Years of polling data show an almost bipolar swing in moods on our love and loathing of things European.

    For todsy, Gene and I will follow your advice and take a ramble somewhere. Maybe pack a picnic. As so many of our friends now, we are suffering citizen-shock. We'll get better. Our spirits will mend. I only hope our politics can as well.

    At the very least, it's good to have found something you and I can regard and discuss, together, across time and place once more. I don't feel the helpless disengagement caused by culture references being so different.



Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.