As often as not, it’s a mistake to confuse ethics and politics. But here’s where the politics and ethics of the current refugee crisis will undoubtedly intersect. There’s no way European and American moral conscience won’t prove as flimsy as the exhibition of their political resolve over the last 4 years confronting the civil war in Syria. Yes, Europe and the United States need to do more to absorb refugees flooding out of the Middle East, especially out of Syria. That’s what’s ethical, to save human life. And then what? The clear ethical duty has no political tooth to it.
In Iraq and Syria, the Obama Administration is preoccupied by ISIS. But the real killing machine is the Assad regime. The refugees, a large percentage coming from Syria, will keep pouring towards Europe as long as the regime’s in power. At the beginning of the slaughter in Syria, lots of people in the west talked about the dismemberment of the country into zones partitioned according to sect. As the Russians and Iranians continue to intervene, with 250,000 killed overwhelmingly by the government, with some ½ the country having fled their homes, and with some ¼ of the people having fled the country (the total of displaced people is 11 million), the question is not partition. The question is whether the country will simply be depopulated.