Noble Sentiments are no substitute for Pragmatism

“But we cannot escape. We can confront the monster with honor, with courage; and by remembering the words that Churchill said to the English when he went to war against Hitler’s Nazism. He said “We will pour out tears and blood.” Oh, yes: we too will pour out tears and blood. We are at war: do we or do we not want to get this through our heads ! And in war, you cry ! Period.” – Oriana Fallaci

Sympathy and empathy are nice, but it is only active support and action that will help or make any difference.

The above quotes were the sympathetic posting on Facebook by one of the many decent (majority of) human beings on this planet of all religious suasion responding to the latest terrorist outrages. And it is true that we have fought two world wars to fend of the rule and abuses of tyranny, so it should be obvious to anyone with even a modicum of intelligence that we are unlikely to bend and bow to the rantings and ‘acting out’ of a few very confused and miss-guided juvenile delinquents or other rabid dogs of war or terrorism, however you choose to define it and them.

However, no matter how noble the sentiments, it’s a lot easier to say when it is not the blood of your own children being spilt. Ask yourself:

  1. How many of your children are you willing to sacrifice to the slaughter, be they killed, maimed or mutilated by shooting or bombs or swords for the sake of the migratory rights of some strangers?
  2. Which ones are you willing to let be killed and murdered? Name them!

You can spout ideals and ‘how offensive’ a point of view seems to be to you all you like, but the real offence and offensiveness is the placement and prioritization of more minor human rights of some (strangers who do not yet even have any legal rights in the country they have applied to for asylum), above the rights of  others (the host nation’s people)  to life and live without fear of being shot, blown-up or otherwise murdered. It seems that in all the so-called discussions, the rights and feelings of many of our own people here are being conveniently ignored and ridden rough shod over.

Use your Brain and Keep the Change

This is a sore if not rather raw point that Donald Trump seems to have tapped into during the Republican elections in the U.S.A. currently, as the outbursts of some survivors of the 9/11 and more recent tragedies on chat and discussion shows have strongly testified to. His statements seem to have been widely miss-interpreted by clones of the Three Monkeys (Deaf, Dumb & Blind) and in many cases deliberately miss-represented.  Whilst the more acceptable and ‘Politically Correct’ position may be prudent for the long term strategy and prevention of future problems, such as radicalization and recruitment of  young Muslims,  it does nothing to contain and manage the immediate crisis, let alone reassure or appease the victims of terrorism. Whether we  like it or not the Trump view is not without its logic and from a limited short-term home-land security point of view it is cheap, simple and effective, hence far more practical than the current farce taking place across Europe. Even Canada, a proudly multi-cultural society, has only agreed to take in families and refuses to allow in single young men because of the potential risk they pose. It seems  that as usual, it is only UK and Europe that fling gates open to be walked all over by anyone who feels like it, though even before this crisis, the UK was not the only country that has been reconsidering the extent of its commitment to the UN Human Rights charter.  A senior Finnish police officer in remarks directed at the Finnish government after a crime wave including several rapes of young school girls since the first refugees arrived has also stated in a public forum, ‘I told you so!’ Regardless of whether we love or hate and despise Trump the man himself, it is a necessary discourse for all view points need to be critically and dispassionately studied and taken into account if we are ever to make any informed and rational choices.

As it is above so it is below

The first rule of self-defence and fighting in general is to ‘make safe’. That means dealing with the immediate threat first as priority number 1. Once that is reasonably under control, we can start working towards revival, recovery and reconciliation in that order. This iterative process can in principle be found in disciplines as diverse as post-conflict nation building and Integrated Border Management to Business Continuity Planning and Management. The principles are always the same, though perhaps they crystalize more clearly in the study of self-defence and personal security, which is the foundation level for all security and risk management studies.

Without doubt, Humanitarianism Rules and rightly so, but charity starts at home.  Who would go to war to defend the community when the community leaves you own family, children and all in the line of fire back home? The first rule of self-defence is to ‘make safe’ and ensure you have an escape route available for tactical retreat. Plans and preparations needed to be laid and made first, before the storm or Tsunami hits us so that we can safe guard our own and then with what ever capacity we have left, help the poor souls who are genuinely fleeing the war and ISIS. In the real world, these usually have to be done almost at the same time, overlapping activities in an iterative process. This means practical measures that can be effectively and surely applied as possible, moderated by a suitable risk analysis and evaluation of all the short and long term factors involved.  Guiding principles are like a light-house that guides us away from the rocks in the long term, but these are not the same thing as practical and manageable measures  which, we need in the mean time for tacking with the prevailing wind. We must learn to distinguish between short-term imperatives and desirable long-term strategies or we will eventually founder on the light-house rocks, mostly at the expense of our children and perhaps even their children too.

No matter what level we are working at, the key to a better life for all, is tolerance:

Clearly those in plight cannot be left to a watery or bloody fate no matter what their age or gender, neither can we send them back to an unsafe country where they might be persecuted. This is why, when the migrants arrive, they have frequently thrown away all ID papers so they cannot be identified or sent back under EU & UN Human Rights rules for fear of contravening the Refoulement principle. However,  to keep the flood gates open without proper control checks and balances is just downright naive, if not outright stupid.   Yet, this is exactly what some are asking us to do, which leaves them open to the challenge of  ‘whose side are they on anyway?’ These issue needs to be openly, honestly and rationally discussed before any intelligent and informed decisions can be made.

Unfortunately it seems emotional knee-jerk reactions (emotional statements of opinion and indignation without provision of grounds or justification) and mob rule in the form vilification and character assassination of anyone who challenges or does not immediately conform with their point of view are currently ruling the day.  So much for the western values of freedom of thought and free speech!  These persistent attempts to suppress all discussion let alone critical thought and criticism of either their political position or religion initself, be it Islam or the Christian Church as they have also sort to do in the past, is at least equally offensive to anyone who values and believes in these much cherished western cultural values.  This makes them little better than ISIS and all the other extremists who have come about precisely because of this attitude and mentality. The only difference is that they have not taken up arms against their dissenters – yet.  A ‘statement of opinion’ slinging match  is nothing more than an exchange of ignorance. The owness is on the objectors to argue and justify their position as much as it is on those who are stating their case.  A true discussion and debate requires both sides to listen, properly and then adapt their views and respond accordingly.  Tolerance is applicable to all political views, otherwise it is not tolerance at all – ‘Catch 22’.

Whether or not this flood tide was orchestrated by ISIS or, Russia as suggested by some Finnish tabloids (to hit back at the EU and distract everyone from the Ukraine conflict), various ethnic groups and criminal organisations are taking advantage. ISIS are certainly using the confluence of events to make good on their promises to bring their war to our doorsteps. I.e. this was predictable and should have been prepared for, though one has to ask where they got assault rifles and bombs from. I doubt they carried them over the EU borders with them, so they were obtained inside the EU somehow from someone. A sleeper cell no doubt as only the timing correlates to the refugee exodus, regardless of the obvious security threat that poses.

Post-Traumatic Event Stress and Disorderlies

In addition to the risks from ISIS infiltration of the genuine refugees, they have all trekked for three hard weeks from a war zone with much suffering and hardship. Is it any wonder if many of them are psychologically scarred or damaged from these experiences? They are also coming from a foreign culture with values and conventions of conformity still firmly rooted in medieval times, which sometimes means rather unfavourable attitudes to some aspects of western society’s culture and values, assuming they know and understand what they are in the first place. Western society has accelerated at near light speed since each of the two world wars, creating a vast gap with other less technologically based societies that has created borders of civilisation rather than mere political administration or ethnic origin. Trying to yank them into the modern world within one life time was bound to create social unrest, for humans have always been slow if not resistant to change, particularly on a societal and cultural scale. Many of our own people don’t seem to have a clear idea of them either, so how can we expect migrants from 2nd and 3rd world cultures with far less extensive education and exposure to the outside modern world to understand them. For example, many of their young men have little respect for western women, who they openly regard as sluts and whores.

Cultural conflicts aside, rape has always been a weapon of war, and one that often occurs in the wake of a war, as all participants, especially the young men/ combatants are still in the process of detoxification from it.  How can any reasonably competent government allow them to immediately mix freely within our societies without a professional help and rehabilitation programme first?  Besides new language skills, they also need social and cultural adjustment education and help.  In the second world war, we placed significant numbers of Germans resident in the UK in detention camps for the duration of the war for good and practical security reasons. Most were totally innocent, but there was no way to know for sure. We are not at war with the Syrians or Muslims, but their numbers have been infiltrated by ISIS, which poses the exact same security risks and questions.  These considerations must be balanced by our concern and compassion for the genuine refugees and respect for the humanity and also the equal rights of those who already live peacefully among us and as part of us.  Whatever solution we decide to concoct, it must account for both sides of the risk equation. Notably, not even Trump was suggesting a rounding up of resident Muslim citizens, only the halt of further immigration until the ‘problem’ was back under control.

Compounding and the Immediate Threat Principle

Whether it be self-defence or International Crisis Management, we must first deal with the immediate threat and contain the crisis situation, and then work towards revival and recovery. The final phase is reconciliation through review and learning the lessons so we can apply them to future social prevention efforts and avoid a repetitious cycle of the same mistakes. All the while we must monitor and control the situation and any changes to the programme. In these latter phases in particular, no external imposed programme can possibly succeed.  The decent members of the Muslim communities must also take back control of their religion and put their own house in order, lest they get ‘shot by association’.  Unfair though it may be, human nature is what it is, and we all have to manage and work with it as best we can. To avoid this it means actively helping and working with the local authorities and law enforcement agencies to identify and thwart the extremists. The fact is that all true Muslims are also in the cross-fire, and sooner or later must ‘stand-up and be counted’ in the fight against the extremists and the violence and misery they are inflicting on everyone. If they care anything about their own honour or that of their religion as they have so often proclaimed, they  also have an important role to play and  must share in the responsibility for stopping the extremists. Ultimately, this problem can only be solved from within their ranks.

Modern crisis management and disaster recovery processes are also well-known and established, so why the hell are our governments not applying them!? So much for the EU motto, ‘United in Diversity’. There has been little or no intelligent cooperation between governments to deal with this problem, just bickering, hot air, fragmentation and self-interest, with the biggest and most economically powerful states shamefully dodging responsibilities and helping the EU states (our friends!?) who are on the front-line of this problem. The Schengen Zone system was not designed to cope with this scale of migration (refugee exodus, not normal migration at all!) and should have been immediately suspended, just as they have done with other minor situations whenever it suited them for pecuniary political interests, such as the Russian bikers and even international football matches. Honestly, what comparison is there between these and the Syrian crisis!? The result of not dealing with the immediate threat when it first arose has been the exponential compounding of the problems to seemingly overwhelming proportions.

In times of war or other grave threat, you don’t let your guard down or leave your front door (border gates) open. This is not the normal type of terrorism for which our laws and policies were created. Treating them purely as a few criminals as part of a long term strategy to change minds through criminalisation of the acts was derived from previous home grown political terrorist problems. This clearly does not seem relevant or suitable for the current brand of terrorism, which is being used more as a tactic of revenge and warfare, rather than internally changing a political system. What started out as a cult, just like most religions, grew into an ideology, and with the advent of ISIS has long since outgrown even that as they try to establish their own caliphate.

The current situation, as evidence by the recent exodus of an almost entire population, is clearly characteristic of a war with very fuzzy  lines and rules of combat. Bombing campaigns in Syria may slow and weaken ISIS, but it won’t stop them, only boots on the ground will do that.

Only Fools and Horses

This whole situation has turned into a farce and the EU governments amongst others have made a right bloody mess of it. The people who made it sit relatively safe in their ivory towers surrounded by special security details, whilst the rest of the ‘innocent’ population are left relatively vulnerable to pay the price. Yet most people are still left with the feeling that they don’t even listen to us, despite our objections to the policies they have adopted and the actions or ‘inactions’ they have taken, hence the current growing crisis of confidence in democratic systems and institutions.
Democracy is not a one headed serpent, but it is a Hydra that can repeatedly grow back heads each time one is cut off, so it should not be possible to defeat it in that manner. Perhaps it is long since time that the politicians, governments and other (EU) leaders and other ‘decision makers’ took both responsibility and the consequences of their decisions. Maybe then they might start to think and be twice shy of such courses of action, and who knows, maybe even start listening to the people they claim to represent and serve.

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About Pahkis

An academic and professional educator, specialising in security and risk management. 50 something, but still able to run circles around my much younger students. A student of the martial arts, not a master stylist. (30 years in practice, 25 years as an instructor). Open minded with a policy of continual learning in both my personal & professional life. Understanding and respectful of establishments, traditions and conventions, but not a follower. Somewhat balded but unbowed. Bearded, but not a 'goaty'. Often been seen imitating a store mannequin (Experience security supervisor and guard / store detective) Not religious (more of an atheist / agnostic really) , but do engage in 'spiritual practices' and believe in 'Live & Let Live', mostly by doing unto others as I would have done unto myself.

Posted on 2015/11/15, in Borderlands & Border Control, Conflict Intervention & Management, Risk Management, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. To Police or not to police, is not a question for the army.
    Terrorism is officially regarded as a crime to be treated as such. But, much depends on whether you think we are at war or not, and with whom.

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  2. Another thought,

    What do we do if the war spreads or another one springs up and there is another similar exodus to the west?

    What then?

    The issue is not just a humanitarian one, or even an economic one. There is only so much migration a society can absorb before it becomes destabilising and even a direct threat in itself. Too many too fast and the life boat may capsize.

    But where is that limit?
    The social limitations for this will vary from country to country and culture to culture. Clearly countries such as Finland, not the richest countries to begin with, have a very small and culturally insular community and cannot absorb the same amount proportionately as larger richer nations. It is not a straight line relationship, but more like a logarithmic one.

    Then there is the unquantifiable issue of how many just need and want safe refuge till the war blows over, and how many want to return to their home land if possible. After all the bombing in Syria, it is hard to believe there is anything to go back to but, the pull of home is strong for most people no matter what their country and culture.

    Even if ISIS are defeated in Syria, being ideology centred, they will just go to ground and spring up again later, somewhere else. This is what happened after Afghanistan when the Taliban and Al Quaida tried to destabilise Pakistan and also Yemen by related groups / factions. Failing states have always been fertile ground for insurrection and revolution. Propping up unpopular regimes for the sake of regional security and stability comes at a price, to be repaid at a later date.

    Yet nothing improves or develops, society or economic wealth without sufficient stability and security. Whilst change can be induced / encouraged from outside, wars can only be won with boots on the ground. By the same measure sustainable change can only happen from within, by the people themselves if they are willing to pay the price for it, just as the forefathers of Europe and America have done. The gun may merely suppress a problem / conflict temporarily, it will never resolve it, merely give further potential energy and impetus to the pendulum. They then have to have the will and persistence to keep it, even when the new social structures are imperfect and do not always work in their favour. Democracy is not perfect and is a value and way of thinking that has to be learned and cultivated until it becomes a part of the culture. This requires education, discipline and a steady hand until the people are ready to take the reigns for themselves.

    How many people will be willing and able to do this under conditions of modern warfare and weaponry, when an easier and safer option exists?

    This numbers game is basically unquantifiable and only time will tell. Perhaps all we can do at present is deal with the qualitative aspects of the problem, and trust in humanity and that the ‘humanism’ of the vast majority will eventually win the day. Then just maybe, the Biblical prediction will come true, ‘The Meek will inherit the earth’.
    Lets just hope that did not mean the ants and other bug insects!

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  3. UN Secretary General: Save Madaya from starvation

    Yup, but we seem to be helping all the wrong people.

    Now we have at least 1500 militants here in Finland raping the local young girls (dozens so far as young as 14), street fights and organised gatherings to harass, mug and rob people in central Helsinki (new Years Eve) instead. Despite all BS by local authorities / police about this great new phenomenon it was a quite predictable risk given that they have not yet had time to acquire guns and bombs here. There is nothing quite like driving whilst looking in the rear view mirror. They arrested a few of them, but left all the others go without identifying them, which means they are free to go back and wait it out till they have a better plan and opportunity.

    Tens of Thousands have arrived in Finland partly because of quotas and partly because of the good help benefits they get. Yet Finland is a small community and society that simply cannot assimilate them let alone afford to support them when the country is already teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. In the mean time, larger eastern EU countries are refusing to take their quotas at all claiming the richer countries, like Finland should take all the refugees – HALLOOO!

    What will happen if there is another ‘Exodus’ any time soon? How many can we take till it becomes a direct threat to democracy and our societies in general?

    Given that so many of the militants have now infiltrated the EU It is hard to imagine how many are still left in Syria that can still manage to cause so much suffering even to their own people’s. Whilst EU pays the price for this unholy war that the Americans dragged us all into yet again, US (and Canada) are only picking the cherries from the top, a relatively small number of (safe) families, but never the young single men. Just how stupid can the EU authorities be? They are fighting a war but, trying to apply peace time civilian rules and mechanisms. Yes, this situation long since ceased to be the terrorist threat to be criminalised in a desperate attempt to try and dampen its ardour. If they are going to get back under control enough to be realistically dealt with as a civilian problem, they will have to open their eyes and get a better education first.

    The war in Syria cannot be won by bombs alone, but must involve boots on the ground. The Iraqi army and others have so far not been up to the job, other than some exceptional successes and in the mean time ISIS is developing chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. It is their western educated recruits that are doing this in cooperation with disgruntled former troops of Saddam Hussein and others. Russian organised crime already tried to sell ISIS ‘dirty bombs’ whilst the Russian government because of their business interests and relationship has intervened to help Asad, who is said to be responsible for deliberately starving these people and also the perpetrator of numerous atrocities against his own people including chemical attacks. And then Putin has the nerve to make comments such as Borders are not important, people are, when talking in an interview about the Ukraine! China as usual sits quietly in the wings waiting for the fall out when it can take advantage of the situation. Both countries are totalitarian dictatorships that don’t care too much about the human rights and freedom of their own people even, let alone others (Gaijin / Barbarians).

    Then we still have to deal with the infiltrators behind enemy lines that have gone to ground amongst us waiting for the right time and opportunity to bring the war to our doorsteps as they have long since vowed to do. IN Finland there is clearly a veritable small army of them, 1500 or so at least that managed to travel from all over Finland on the social welfare support money to Helsinki railway station in order to cause trouble on New Year’s eve. Clearly they are already organised and able to coordinate their actions and gatherings. Does this not ring alarm bells for anyone! The current traditional Finnish winter cold snap may dampen their ardour temporarily, but they will sit tight and use our services and education systems to their advantage against us. It is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, just when everyone thinks the coast is clear again.

    The police are responsible for the safety of the local people from criminal enterprises and our safety is their first priority. All other human rights, especially of people who are not even resident or citizens here, however deserving, come a poor second to the first priority. The first rule of self-defence is to ‘make safe’ first. All else can be dealt with in a moderated and appropriate manner afterwards. This should not be such as strange rule to the the authorities as it is one of the first principles taught to all emergency services personnel when responding to emergency calls. It involve containing any situation within the vicinity it started, a sort of quarantine programme if you like but, one that is routinely practised by anyone with any education and training such as the emergency services. So where the hell did all these overpaid politicians get their education and training from!?

    Genuine refugees deserve our help and a safe haven, but not necessarily asylum. The difficulty is to weed out the ISIS supporters. The Syrian community need to and are in the best position to do that if they want to be accepted in their new home, however permanent or temporary. Otherwise the only practical ‘preventative‘ solution is to quarantine all of them, or at least demographic sections of their community until the risk subsides to acceptable levels, what ever they may be. This usually depends on whether you think it is your children that are likely to be raped, attacked and murdered or not, so it would be interesting to see how the politicians react if it was their children at risk for a change.

    Wake up Europe, (you been played, yet again!) – before its too late to get your priorities straight.

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