Let's now turn to Turkey. It's very clear that the country has been moving towards a more authoritarian regime under Erdogan over the last years, especially after the failed military putsch last year. Criticizing Turkey, however, is completely out of fashion because there are some 3 million Syrian refugees inside the country. The biggest fear of Germany and other EU countries is that some of those people might actually make it to Europe in the hope to have a better life here. But god forbid any of those people might actually arrive in Europe because 1/100.000 Syrians could be a potential terrorist. Much better to let them rot in a low-income country like Turkey. Also letting in more refugees would probably shift a few votes to right-wing parties, so better to play it safe. I do not deny that mass immigration poses a lot of challenges, but it also provides a lot of opportunities. Sweden accepted some 150.000 migrants within two years, which represents a influx of about 1.5% of the Swedish population. Sweden was one of the fastest growing advanced economies in 2015 and 2016 with an annual growth rate of 4.1 and 3.3%, respectively. I suspect that part of the growth was a result of higher government spending. Immigration done right is a positive supply shock, thus raising the country's potential output. Furthermore, new research suggest that the effect on natives' wages is actually quite muted.
Meanwhile, Germany actually pursues the policy to send back Afghan refugees because "parts of the country are safe". Well, they don't send back women or children, apparently just single, young men. That's nice! As a young and single men myself I guess I can count myself lucky that I'm not Afghan refugee. Being born in rich Western economy means that I automatically belong to the top 10% globally.
Recent attacks in Afghanistan have been far more deadly than the attacks in London, yet were mostly ignored by the media. After all, the country has been in a war-like state for decades, so it's really old news. Attacks in London, Paris, and Berlin deserve much more attention. Hey, the West rules, for now (and the foreseeable future). So who gives a shit about Kabul? (I actually had to look up to spell Kabul, so proving my own point).
And I'm sure that parts of the country are relatively safe. The country is landlocked. In the North we find mountains that exceed 7000m in altitude and in the South there are deserts. Just lovely. But sure, I guess those places might be relatively safe because nobody wants to fucking live there. It is deemed overly generous that we spend half a percent of our GDP annually on foreign aid. The one policy, however, that would make a real difference to people's lives is not pursued. Those poor souls can earn about 10-20 times as much as in their home country if we manage to integrate them in the labor market. A higher rate of relocation of labor from poor to rich countries is the one policy that could make a real difference to many people's lives while also providing a significant boost to global GDP. And it's not like it never happened before. For several centuries, especially during the 19th century, millions and millions of Europeans migrated from poorer European countries to the New World, the US, Canada, Australia, etc (millions of indigenous people were killed in the process, but that's a story for another blogpost). My point is that the first wave of globalization before World War I was somewhat more liberal when it comes to the movement of labor. We desperately need to go back to a more liberal regime.
And now finally to Russia. U.S. congress has decided to impose harsher sanctions on Russia. There is substantial evidence that Russian hackers have meddled with two key elections in the West. They might have decided the fate of the U.S. presidential election. Furthermore, they also tried to meddle with the French presidential election. However, the German government under Merkel and foreign minister Gabriel don't seem to be overly concerned. In fact, they heavily criticize the U.S. government on the grounds that this will interfere with the energy market in Europe. So here we have it. Cheap gas is apparently more important than democracy.
Those Western values of enlightenment, insofar as they were ever more enlightened than the rest of the world, are very selectively applied. That's all for now.
PS: The number of refugees that arrived in Europe as a result of the Yoguslav Wars in the 1990s was about the same as the number of refugees that came into Europe recently because of the civil war in Syria.