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Hamilton and the Iconoclasts of Tomorrow

This week, 216 years ago, one founding father killed another in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. On that early July morning, the vice president of the United States squared off against the former secretary of the treasury. As virtually everyone in America now knows, thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alexander Hamilton didn’t survive the shootout with Aaron Burr.

At the beginning of this month, Disney released the film version of Miranda’s blockbuster musical, Hamilton. So, I could finally see this extraordinary synthesis of history, biography, music, and dance.

As a musical, it’s riveting.

As political commentary, however, it’s surprisingly dated.

America’s Musical

Hamilton debuted five years ago, in the middle of Barack Obama’s second term. Just as Obama was daily reimagining the American presidency, Hamilton reimagined the American Revolution and the creation of the United States.

By casting people of color as the Founding Fathers — Washington, Jefferson, Madison —  the musical speaks to the universality of that eighteenth-century struggle and visually links the oppression of Americans at the hands of British colonialism to the oppression of people everywhere. It’s both a projection backward of Obama’s breakthrough and a lyrical version of an Obama speech.

Hamilton is radical in form: the casting, the incorporation of rap. The content, however, is quite mainstream. Aside from a couple references to slavery and the interests of wealthy bankers, it celebrates the spirit of 1776 in a way that Americans of all political persuasions can embrace.

And have embraced. On November 18, 2016, only a week after that gut punch of an election, Mike Pence attended a show, which prompted the actor portraying Aaron Burr to say at the close, “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

It was a message from one rogue vice president to another.

Pence “appeared to enjoy the show and applauded liberally,” NPR reported. And for the next three years, he ignored the remonstration. Pence and Trump, too, portrayed themselves as revolutionary underdogs — rather than the reactionary overlords they really were — who wanted to be in “the room where it happens.” They, too, were not going to throw away their shot.

Now, in perhaps the supreme designation of mainstream status, Disney has made Hamilton available to the masses. How times have changed.

In 2020, thanks to the coronavirus, live theater seems impossibly risky (why are the performers touching each other? How can the audience sit so close together?). And, with protesters on the street challenging Washington and Jefferson over their slave ownership, the musical suddenly seems behind the times, though not nearly as backward as Aunt Jemima and the soon to be former Washington Redskins.

As A.O. Scott recently pointed out in The New York Times, “There’s been a bit of a backlash from the left against what’s perceived as an insufficiently critical perspective on slavery (and also on Hamilton’s role in the birth of American capitalism). At the same time, the extent to which Miranda celebrates America’s political traditions has been taken up as a cudgel against the supposed illiberalism of the statue-topplers and their allies.”

Miranda himself has acknowledged the criticisms from the left. History doesn’t stand still for anyone, not Thomas Jefferson, not Alexander Hamilton, not Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The Great and the Not-So-Great

What’s remarkable of course is the speed with which the political temperament has changed. In a few short months, statues have fallen throughout the United States, and not just those dedicated to the Confederate cause.

Also torn down or relocated are statues honoring figures associated with the genocide of indigenous people (Christopher Columbus), with slave-owning (Hamilton’s father-in-law Philip Schuyler), and with racist policing (former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo). Statues connected to colonialism have fallen in the UK, Belgium, and elsewhere. Everything, it seems, is up for debate, even monuments to the heroes of the American Revolution.

We fully expect books and plays written in the 1950s to seem dated. Ditto those produced in the 1970s or even the 1990s.

But 2015?

The critiques of American failings — slavery, colonialism, racist policing — are not new. What’s changed is that the powerful have been forced to listen.

Perhaps Hamilton, despite its slighting of slavery and reverence for the Founding Fathers, even played a role in preparing the powerful for this shift. But let’s be real: the destruction of images — literally, iconoclasm — is a lighter lift than the transformation of structures. It’s one thing to take down Confederate statues, and quite another to remove racism’s grip on housing, education, and employment. Likewise, it’s more politically palatable to recast a play about the Founding Fathers than to grapple with the ugly truths that accompanied the founding of this nation.

At a deeper level, the musical and the statues share a common veneration of the Great Person. History, we are constantly reminded in art and monuments, is the product of founding fathers, great conquerors, kings and presidents and prime ministers. Campaigns are launched to diversify those numbers to include women, people of color, perhaps even an activist or two like Martin Luther King Jr. But the focus remains on the individual, not the countless people who turned the gears of history, planted the fields of history, occupied the streets of history, and ultimately changed the course of history.

As Hamilton acknowledges, Great Persons are always a product of their time and place, and they’re always flawed in some way or another. Sometimes those flaws are of an individual nature, like Hamilton’s adultery (or, more recently, the sexual harassment charges against Park Won Soon, the progressive activist and former mayor of Seoul who committed suicide last week).

More often, the famous personages are as blind to their faults as most everyone else in their society. Transforming society requires a collective effort to shine a light on these blind spots, as the Black Lives Matter movement has done, at home and abroad, around police violence, racist iconography, and the legacy of colonialism.

Iconoclasts of the Future, Unite!

So, perhaps it’s time to conduct a thought experiment. We’ve seen how quickly culture has moved on and left the blind spots of Hamilton more readily visible. How will future generations condemn us for our blind spots as they tear down today’s statues tomorrow?

I can almost hear our children gathering in the street to pull down the statues of the famous as they chant, “Carbon hog!” For will not contribution to the destruction of the planet ultimately be seen in the same light as colonialism, as the plunder and robbery of future generations?

Emancipation of slaves was a radical act in eighteenth-century America. The Polish revolutionary Tadeusz Kosciuszko berated his friend Thomas Jefferson at length to free his slaves, and Jefferson ignored him because, just as Pence shrugged off Aaron Burr, he could. Jefferson certainly had mixed feelings about slavery, but he was able to maintain the contradiction in his life of slave ownership and sentiments like “all men are created equal” because popular opinion, as opposed to Kosciuszko’s opinion, allowed him to do so.

Future generations may feel the same way about our simultaneous recognition of the perils of climate change and our car ownership, air travel, and use of air conditioning. Greta Thunberg, our generation’s Kosciuszko, similarly berates world leaders, and with as little immediate impact.

Future generations may also look askance at our nationalism. Why do we believe that we owe debts of obligation to strangers who live within certain borders and not strangers who live outside those borders? How could we countenance the return of desperate migrants and refugees to, in many cases, their certain death?

And what about all the statues raised to military leaders? It seems rather ridiculous to honor men who oversaw the slaughter of others just because they were on the winning side. Future generations may well look at all the celebrated generals as so many mass murderers.

Speaking of mass murder, how will future generations feel about the millions of animals that we kill every day for our own consumption? Or even the millions that we own as pets?

The list of potential blind spots is long indeed, and there are plenty of motes in my own eye. History is constantly evolving. There is no timeless art; there are no timeless values. Everything reflects the moment of its production, from the American Constitution to the latest iteration of Hamilton. We are engaged in a long, collective conversation enlivened by a soundtrack of insightful speeches, catchy tunes, and the rising roar of street protest.

As for those future statues, I dearly hope that they are pulled down, defaced, disgraced. Because that would mean, in a future of superstorms and nuclear threats and periodic pandemics, that at least there are still people around to take them down.

FPIF, July 15, 2020

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Conservatives Are Comparing Racial Justice Protestors to Maoists

In their effort to transform their discomfort with the current #BlackLivesMatter protests into a superficially sophisticated critique, right-wing “intellectuals” in the United States and Europe have latched onto a dubious historical analogy.

When former congressman Newt Gingrich, the National Review’s David Harsanyi, Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, and other right-wingers look at the protests against police violence, they see the Cultural Revolution.

The Cultural Revolution, which lasted from 1966 to 1976, turned China upside down. Initially instigated by Mao Zedong to outflank his more liberal opponents, the Cultural Revolution drew millions of young people into a bewildering assortment of Red Guard factions that purged “reactionary” elements from institutions, destroyed irreplaceable historical treasures, and even fought pitched battles against each other. As Mao quickly lost control over the movement, the Red Guards threw China into such chaos that even the country’s nuclear weapons complex was at risk.

The Cultural Revolution lasted a decade, resulted in at least a million deaths, and led to the destruction, in Beijing alone, of nearly 5,000 of the city’s 6,800 officially designated sites of historical interest.

Keep that in mind as you read what Joel Pollak, an editor-at-large at Breitbart, has to say:

Black Lives Matter” has become America’s version of China’s Cultural Revolution — a radical, youth-led purge of the vestiges of traditional culture and authority within a one-party state.

In this case, the one-party system is the “blue archipelago” of Democrat-run cities, most of which have not had Republican leaders for decades, and likely never will again.

But whereas China’s radicals helped Mao consolidate power, Black Lives Matter may destabilize the entire country.

The most striking similarity between the two movements is the ritual humiliation of individuals seen to represent “the system.” Mobs of demonstrators have marched up to police and demanded that they kneel with them, or to them. Some officers, in a bid to defuse tensions, have obliged.

What a fascinating set of comparisons.

Only a white conservative born in South Africa would equate the traditional culture of ancient temples with statues of white racists. The United States is a one-party state, oops, can’t say that, since the Republicans control the executive and the Senate, so Pollak immediately pivots to something very different, a “blue archipelago” of cities, even though #BlackLivesMatter protests took place in plenty of “red archipelago” towns and cities as well: Wilmington (North Carolina), Odessa (Texas), Grand Island (Nebraska), and dozens of other places that voted for Trump and have sent Republicans to Congress.

The Red Guards didn’t help Mao consolidate power because they in fact destabilized the entire country. But Pollak has to make out that the current U.S. protestors are worse, so the former helped a dictator while the latter “may destabilize the entire country.” But wait, isn’t the United States already destabilized by a pandemic and an economic collapse?

And now for the only concrete comparison, which revolves around ritual humiliation. The Red Guards put dunce caps on their professors and leading cultural figures and forced them to engage in self-criticism sessions. It was quite easy to do that, since the Red Guards had larger numbers and sometimes weapons as well and their opponents were unarmed. Today’s protestors, meanwhile, are the unarmed ones, and they face the armed representatives of the state, who don’t have to defer to the protestors if they don’t want to.

No one has placed dunce caps on their heads. When they kneel, they do so out of actual solidarity, which probably troubles Pollak a good deal more than the imaginary humiliation, or else in a cynical play for the cameras.

Statues and Op-Eds

If it were just one crazy Breitbart writer, it would be easy to dismiss the violence that Pollak has committed against the art of analogy. But various conservatives, libertarians, and even a “libertarian Marxist” have seized on the Cultural Revolution analogy — probably because they believe that any associations with China are by definition bad and no one really understands references to Jacobins and the French Revolution any more.

The Cultural Revolution comparisons usually fall into two categories. In the first, the analogists want to demonstrate that the current protestors aspire to expunge the past. In the second, they want to prove that the protestors aim to prohibit free speech.

In the bizarre UK magazine Spiked!, the editor and former Trotskyist Brendan O’Neill lays out the first kind of comparison:

Britain is in the throes of a Cultural Revolution. Statues are being tumbled, past art erased, people cancelled. Wide-eyed Woke Guards, heirs to Maoist-style intolerance, are compiling lists of monuments to target and individuals to humiliate. They are remorseless. Nothing old that runs counter to their newthink can be tolerated. Tear it all down.

Sounds pretty scary. What’s actually happened is that protestors have dumped one statue — of slave trader Edward Colston — into the drink and spray-painted “racist” on a statue of Winston Churchill. The UK is now having a discussion about history and how to commemorate it. That’s not exactly Cultural Revolution-style anarchy. Rather, it’s a rather commonplace occurrence.

Even the statue-toppling is more common than O’Neill suggests. It’s not like Stalin statues still look down on people throughout Eastern Europe. Statues of ruthless colonial oppressors were pulled down throughout Africa as part of the independence process. Oh, and what about Ozymandias, the once powerful King of Kings that the poet Shelley discovered as just a pair of legs in the sand?

In the second category, the analogists are particularly exercised by The New York Times backtracking on a Tom Cotton op-ed it published on June 3. In “Send in the Troops,” Senator Cotton (R-AR) urged the use of the U.S. military to quell the unrest surrounding the #BlackLivesMatter protests.

“What you are seeing is Maoism, people who are supposed to be in public confess that they’ve been guilty, people who have to toe whatever the party line is,” opined Newt Gingrich on Fox News. “When we see an institution as famous and as powerful as The New York Times collapse totally in front of the mob, it tells you what’s going on in terms of American elites.”

The mob? The New York Times made its decision to retract Cotton’s op-ed because, first, it contained factual inaccuracies and language unbefitting The Gray Lady’s editorial page. Second, it received pushback from its own staff.

The editors concluded, “the editing process was rushed and flawed, and senior editors were not sufficiently involved. While Senator Cotton and his staff cooperated fully in our editing process, the Op-Ed should have been subject to further substantial revisions — as is frequently the case with such essays — or rejected.”

And unlike Maoist China, the Times published several pieces — by Brett Stephens and Ross Douthat — that supported the publication of Cotton’s op-ed.

None of that has stopped the National Review’s David Harsanyi from concluding during the Cotton affair that “we’re in the dawn of a high-tech, bloodless Cultural Revolution; one that relies on intimidation, public shaming, and economic ruin to dictate what words and ideas are permissible in the public square.”

Now, if Harsanyi were talking about the impact of the Koch brothers on public debate in the United States — trying to intimidate and publicly shame money in politics journalist Jane Mayer in an attempt to stop her investigations, spending millions of dollars to dictate acceptable discourse — then maybe he’d be on to something.

Which leads us to a much more apt Cultural Revolution analogy.

Trump Plays Mao

A powerful leader appeals to a group of crazy, gun-toting followers to go after his political opponents. He pits the anarchy of the mob against the level-headed policies of experts and sensible politicians.

Definitely Mao.

But also Donald Trump.

When militia members showed up outside state capitols and the houses of governors to protest stay-at-home measures, the solidly Republican head of the National Association of Manufacturers called them “IDIOTS.” In a video call, Jay Timmons continued, “These people are standing so close together without any protection — with children, for God’s sakes. And they have no concern, and it’s all about them, and it’s all about what they want.”

Donald Trump, on the other hand, was enthusiastic about the protests. He called on his followers to “liberate” Virginia, Michigan, and Minnesota. For Virginians, he had an extra message: “save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!” The Second Amendment pertains to the right to keep and bear arms.

When the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death overwhelmed the anti-quarantine actions, Trump displayed the other side of Mao by threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy the U.S. military to suppress the demonstrations. Tom Cotton’s vocal support for the action notwithstanding, Trump got serious pushback from former generals and active duty military. Thanks to Pentagon chief Mark Esper refusal to support Trump’s move, America was saved from a Tiananmen Square scenario.

Rebuffed, Trump has retreated to his previous position of backing America’s version of the Red Guard. Marjorie Taylor Greene is running for Congress in Georgia on the Republican Party ticket. If she wins — and she has a very good chance — she’ll be the first member of Congress to believe in the QAnon conspiracy (think: “deep state” times crazy). In June, she posted a video of herself wielding a semi-automatic and a message for “Antifa terrorists to stay the hell out of northwest Georgia.” Trump endorsed her and then congratulated her for winning the recent primary.

After The Washington Post recently published an unflattering profile of her, Greene tweeted, “The Chinese propagandists at the Washington Post are attacking me the same way they attack Donald Trump, and other conservatives.”

I always knew that the 2020 elections were going to feature some back and forth about China. But I never could have imagined Donald Trump as Mao teaming up with Republican wackos in the garb of the Red Guards to fight the reformers who are trying to save the country from a lacerating Cultural Revolution.

And conservative pundits have the gall to twist the very same analogy into a pretzel to throw against their enemies?

Only in Trump’s through-the-looking-glass America.

Foreign Policy In Focus, June 17, 2020

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The New Middle Passage

Peter, a Sierra Leone migrant living in Hungary, is one of the lucky ones. He has a job. He has a supportive community of friends. After seven years in the country, the Hungarian government approved his application for asylum. He started a very successful NGO devoted to helping other migrants make a new life in Hungary.

I interviewed Peter in Budapest two years ago. It was not exactly the best of times to be a migrant or someone working on migrant issues in Hungary. The right-wing government of Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party had turned a cold shoulder to the influx of newcomers from the global south. Two migrant rights organizers I interviewed at the time refused to allow me to publish our conversation for fear of government reprisals.

Little did we know that the situation two years ago was halcyon compared to today.

Hungary is the epicenter of a new wave of migration hitting Europe. In 2011, about 7,000 migrants arrived in Hungary. Now the country is experiencing as many as 3,000 per day.

It’s no surprise, then, that Hungary has become even less hospitable to these new arrivals, most of whom are heading north from the Middle East through Greece and then Macedonia and Serbia. This year, the Hungarian government has granted asylum to only 278 of the 148,000 people who applied. And Fortress Hungary is constructing a new 109-mile fence across its southern flank to dissuade others from arriving.

Most of the migrants who make it to Hungary, unlike Peter, see it as just a stop on the way to more welcoming countries, like Germany. But it’s not easy to complete that journey. Smugglers charge exorbitant rates. And the trip can be just as dangerous by land as on the rickety boats that routinely capsize in the Mediterranean.

On the road between Budapest and Vienna, a truck was discovered last week with 71 corpses rotting in the back. These unfortunates, hoping for a new life in Austria, suffocated in unspeakable conditions and then were abandoned by their Bulgarian and Afghan smugglers. They’d already made it on the first leg of their journey — out of their country and into southeastern Europe — and they were hopeful that the final leg would bring them from amigrant-processing center somewhere in the European Union to an apartment, a job, and a life of safety.

But these middle passages are often the most treacherous.

A Crescent of Crisis

During the slave trade, which forcibly transferred 12.4 million Africans from their homeland between the late 15th and 19th centuries, as many as 1.8 million died during the infamous “middle passage” to Europe and the Americas — a casualty rate of around 15 percent.

The conditions on the slave ships were horrifying. People were stacked practically like firewood, and many died of malnutrition and dehydration. Sharks followed the ships to feed off all the bodies thrown over the side. “Human ‘wastage’ was simply part of the business, something to be calculated into all planning,” writes Marcus Rediker in his book The Slave Ship.

Today’s migrants are not slaves. They’re coming to Europe voluntarily. Indeed, they’re desperate to leave their homelands and find even the lowest-paying jobs in Europe. The countries they’re abandoning — Syria, Afghanistan, Mali — have become death traps, so they’re willing to risk everything to bring themselves and their families to safety.

But between the horrors of their home countries and the security of Europe lies a middle passage that all too often resembles the terrible transit experienced by enslaved Africans long ago. More than 2,300 people have died so far this year trying to cross the Mediterranean. Over 3,200 died last year.

Meanwhile, the number of people trying to get across by boat from Africa to Europe hasjumped 40 percent since 2014. The casualty rate is lower than during the slave trade — approximately 1 percent versus 15 percent — but this comparison should not make Europeans sleep any better at night.

The deadly middle passage doesn’t only involve Europe.

In 2014, 307 people died trying to get from Mexico into the United States (down from 445 in 2013). Since 2000, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 40,000 people have died trying to cross borders around the world. “The true number of fatalities is likely to be higher, as many deaths occur in remote regions of the world and are never recorded,” according to the 2014 IOM report Fatal Journeys. “Some experts have suggested that for every dead body discovered, there are at least two others that are never recovered.”

No doubt the smugglers responsible for many of these deaths also calculated “human wastage” as part of their business.

Since Europe is the closest safe haven for people trapped in a crescent of crisis, which stretches from Ukraine through Afghanistan to Iraq and Syria and into northern Africa, it must deal with the surge in migration. Eliminating the push factor by ending the civil conflicts in the crescent of crisis is the only sustainable solution to the current migration problem. But Europe can’t wave a magic wand to make Afghanistan, Syria, and Eritrea into safe and stable countries.

As an interim measure, then, Europe must find a way of reducing the horrors of the middle passage as well as providing a safe haven at the end of the journey.

Never Again?

Europe wasn’t always such a stable, peaceable place. During the Fascist takeover of the continent in the 1930s, large numbers of Europeans were fleeing certain death in Germany and Austria. In 1938, 32 nations met in Evian, Switzerland to discuss the growing refugee crisis.

“The outcome of the meeting was clear: Europe, North America, and Australia would not accept significant numbers of these refugees,” writes UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. “In the verbatim record, two words were uttered repeatedly: ‘density’ and ‘saturation.’ The European countries were already beset with population ‘density’ and had reached a point of ‘saturation’ — in other words, there was simply no more room at the European inn.”

The world’s nations will again meet to discuss a large-scale refugee problem, this time in New York at the United Nations, in an emergency session convened by Ban Ki-moon for later this month. EU ministers will gather two weeks before that to work out their own strategy. The early signs suggest a replay of Evian 1938. As I wrote earlier in Our Refugee World, rich countries have simply not stepped up to the plate.

Germany is the major exception. Here is a country, at least, attempting to learn the lessons of its own history. Chancellor Angela Merkel recently decided to allow thousands of Syrian refugees to apply for asylum in Germany. The country now expects to take in 800,000 refugeesthis year, four times the figure from 2014.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel write that “the response so far does not meet the standards that Europe must set for itself. The EU cannot put this off any longer — we need to act now. We must therefore pursue a European asylum, refugee, and migration policy that is founded on the principle of solidarity and our shared values of humanity.”

Their 10-point plan focuses on establishing more consistent and humane Europe-wide policies, a fairer distribution of refugees, more money for countries on the front lines like Greece, and a more concerted marine rescue effort. Presumably Germany will bring this plan to the meeting of EU ministers and then to the UN.

The German plan is necessary if still insufficient. But even this modest initiative is generating backlash within Europe. “Germany’s neighbors are reluctant,” The New York Times reports. “The leaders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary are scheduled to meet ahead of the European Union ministers’ meeting to oppose any quotas on accepting migrants.” They too will probably talk of “density” and “saturation.”

The reluctance doesn’t just lie to the east. Britain, for instance, has taken in just 216 Syrian refugees — roughly equal to the poor showing of the United States on this issue — and Prime Minister David Cameron promises that the number won’t go above a thousand. Home Secretary Theresa May, meanwhile, even wants to cut back on legal migration from other EU states! Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks writes that “in Denmark — where asylum applications have not increased significantly compared to 2014 — the parliament approved a cut in refugee benefits, with the declared intention of making the country less attractive to refugees.”

Addressing the Rising Tide

This is no time to give into the rising xenophobia and racism of the anti-immigration forces in Europe (which feeds on and into comparable sentiment in the United States). Here are three more suggestions to add to Germany’s 10-point plan.

1) Beef up law enforcement where it can be most effective. There’s no military solution to the refugee crisis, though some governments would like to call in troops to restore order. There is, however, a role for law enforcement: to break up the smuggling rings and prosecute the coyotes. These are the people in charge of the monstrous middle passage, and they have to be run out of business. Punish the ruthless opportunists, not the refugees.

2) Provide more funds to the countries even closer to the source. Turkey has taken in 1.6 million Syrians at a cost of over $4.5 billion. The EU should provide Turkey with more resources to handle the issue — along with Lebanon and Jordan and other frontline countries. This should reduce the burden on Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary.

3) Create a Europe-wide jobs program. Europe is still struggling with high unemployment rates — around 10 percent in the EU. The exception to the rule is Germany, where the unemployment rate is under 5 percent. But Germany, as the country most opposed to deficit spending and priming the pump, should realize that high unemployment and elevated rates of immigration are a volatile mix. This is the time for Europe as a whole, led by its German bankers, to create a jobs program that can employ both new arrivals and native workers who have been out of work for months or years.

Back in Hungary, my friend Peter is doing just that. His NGO provides computer training for new migrants so they can get jobs and become productive members of Hungarian society. Think of how much more could be done if the Hungarian government, with EU funds, provided jobs to the graduates of the migrant training program — as well as all the disgruntled unemployed Hungarians who resist the arrival of anyone else from the global south.

Yes, there’s a rising tide of refugees in Europe. But with some smart policy corrections, the EU can ensure that a rising tide lifts all boats.

World Beat, Foreign Policy In Focus, September 2, 2015