Migrant Caravan As A Weapon

by SP

So a “migrant caravan” of 5,000 people (or is it 14,000?) crosses from Honduras in to Guatamala.  This is 2,000 plus miles from the USA.  A crowd with families walks at 2 mph x 10 hrs/day, they are still 100 days away from El Paso, TX.  The migrant caravan comes to the forefront of the news reports 2 weeks before the US elections.

Did this migration arise spontaneously or was it consciously intitiated for a specific purpose by specific people?

Who organized this?  Who is feeding them?  Who provides fresh water?  Are they being given rides in trucks and trains headed north?  Is someone passing out cash?  Why are people wearing green vests observed at the front of the caravan?  Who do these organizers work for?

I was first introduced to the idea that mass migrations could be deliberately initiated and used as a weapon by Kelly Greenhill.

Here, in a book review, the major premiss is outlined.

Weapons of mass migration: forced displacement, coercion, and foreign policy, by Kelly M. Greenhill

In defining and analyzing “coercive engineered migration” (CEM), Kelly M. Greenhill is the first political scientist to rigorously theorize migration as a strategic option for states in competitive interaction. Greenhill’s analysis thus provides a theoretically novel and empirically rich synthesis of migration theory and international relations (IR). The case studies cover Cuba, Kosovo, Haiti and North Korea, and an appendix lists all identified CEMs since the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention. Building on scholars such as Wiener and Rosenblum, Weapons specifies an IR-security view of migration, with the expulsion and “push” of migratory flows towards target states as “weapons” most appealing to those facing powerful foes and having few other choices. This is particularly true when the foe/target is democratic, since liberal states are more vulnerable to “migratory coercion”due to institutions protecting human rights and refugees. For a liberal democracy, not taking the “bait” of potentially destabilizing refugee inflows incurs “hypocrisy costs” (a promising but under-theorized element of Greenhill’s model). Greenhill’s model helps explain a lingering puzzle in IR: democracies’ relative tendency to lose small wars. Democracies faced with destabilizing refugee flows are often internally divided, unable to staunch the tide or keep migrants from reinforcing and intensifying internal conflict.

1.  Hypocricy Cost

A democracy that refuses to accept refugees is vulnerable to “hypocricy cost.”  Both internal policies and international treaties commit modern democracies to grant asylum to refugees.    (“You say you value human life but look at this heart breaking picture of a sweet little migrant boy dead on your beach because you would not admit him and his family.  You have revealed yourself to be a monster and a hypocrit!”)

2.  Dividing the population of the “target state.”  Response to the migrants is used as a wedge to separate the “we should accept them” faction from “we must seal the borders” faction.

Similar to any wedge issue (that the oligarchy doesn’t actually care about one bit), like kneeling for the national anthem or prayer in schools, the wedge is used to accentuate conflict between factions and influence elections and public policy.

German girls welcoming refugees some 5 years ago.  Teddy Bears and water bottles where handed out to arriving refugees in the early weeks.

Kind hearted (GREEN Meme) Swedish Girls welcome refugees.

And on the otherside, GREEN attempts to portray those who wish to defend their borders as nazis, right wing extremists, hypernationalists, and racists.

What is not acknowledged by GREEN is that there are indeed powerful reasons to regect massive immigrant floods.

So internal politics in the target nation is affected.  I don’t follow European politics, but I understand that Merkel and various Eurpean leaders are currently being taken down over this issue.

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