22 September 2015   Leave a comment

The European Union (EU) has voted to require its members to accept refugees in order to avoid crippling the countries that are willing to take in refugees.  The EU very rarely “votes” on measures:  it prefers to work by consensus whereby the votes are simple confirmations of prior agreement.  But there were five countries that voted against the measure: Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia voted against the measure and Finland abstained.  The vote, however, did not contain any enforcement measures and I suspect that the EU will not penalize those states that refuse additional refugees.  The vote should be interpreted as a statement of intent and solidarity and not as a legal requirement.

The refugee crisis in Europe is also an index of a crisis for the Islamic State as the flood of refugees diminishes both the available manpower and financial resources available to the group.  The Islamic State has said that those who leave for Western countries commit a “sin” and the number of young people leaving Syria far outstrips the number of young males and females entering Syria to join the caliphate.   Ultimately, the Islamic State will have to address this drain on its resources, but the drain is perhaps also testimony to the loss of the attractiveness of the group.

The Pope’s visit to the US completely overshadowed the arrival of another guest to the US: Chinese President Xi Jinping who arrived in Seattle to dine with tech giants such as Bill Gates.  President Xi will arrive in Washington soon (the Secret Service is certainly going to earn its keep this week) for meetings with US President Obama.  The meetings between the two should be tense as they intend to discuss matters such as the South China Sea and charges that China commits cyber-espionage against US firms.  Nonetheless, it is a good sign that the two sides are talking.

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Posted September 23, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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