Saving the drownded
This post from the Daily Mash gets it about right. Letting people drown as they try to escape from one or other countries we’ve managed to mess up by misjudged interventions is simply not great foreign policy.
So here’s what we should be doing. By the way, it will cost a little money.
First, we make sure that there’s an EU mission in every country in the world. Even relatively rich countries like France and Britain can’t afford to keep missions in every country, but a little co-ordination between member states would make sure that at least one member state had diplomatic representation in every country. And that mission has to be authorised to take a small but non-zero number of EU migrants every year – thus providing a legitimate way for some people to migrate to the EU.
Second, we make those missions much more outspoken on human rights. Of the people turning up on the shores of Libya for the dangerous Med crossing, many are from countries in trouble – like Syria and Somalia. But it’s surprising how often Eritrea comes up. Eritrea’s government is currently one of the most brutal. We need to help Eritrea sort its own governance out so that it doesn’t become another Somalia or South Sudan.
Third, we intercept the boats coming from Libya and process the migrants. The majority must be sent back to their country of origin, before they land in the EU. If the usual outcome of paying a people-smuggler is that you end up back where you started, the trade will stop being so lucrative.
Fourth, we increase and refocus overseas aid. If we focus our aid spending on the countries from where there’s the greatest migration pressure, we can reduce the economic pressure to migrate.
Fifth, we refocus foreign policy. The first objective of all foreign policy must be to reduce conflict.