Monday, November 30, 2015

Dr. Ben goes to Jordan




In one of the more surprising moves of the early presidential nomination season, Ben Carson decided to go to Jordan to see what's really up with all these Syrian refugees.  It was a whirlwind trip, taking advantage of frequent flier miles, to try to give his sagging campaign some kind of Foreign Policy heft, as he has been roundly criticized for being woefully deficient in this regard.

The good doctor returned this weekend to tell us that the refugees just want to go home.  They don't want to come to America.  They are content to bide their time in Jordan, where they number approximately 600,000 at this point.  An additional 3.2 million Syrians currently reside in Turkey and Lebanon, but the busy doctor didn't have time to visit them too and further add to his first hand account of refugee camp life.

His comments are vacuous at best and only serve to further show how hopelessly out of touch he is with current affairs.  However, the two guys leading the GOP Iowa polls are no better, just more quick witted and able to dodge any hard questions regarding the numbers they throw around.  Here is Donald Trump trying to play off his comments that Muslims were cheering in the streets of Jersey City when 911 take place, citing all kinds of absurd numbers in regard to the amount of Syrian refugees planned to arrive in America next year.  For a change, Chuck Todd doesn't let him off the hook.

It's Ted Cruz who has the most to gain from Ben Carson's unraveling presidential campaign, as he is appealing to the same religious fundamentalists.  In another big show of braggadocio, the Cruz Missile vowed to introduce a Senate bill to stop any and all Syrian refugees from entering the country, ignoring the fact that one had already cleared the House, which places severe restrictions on the proposed resettlement of 10,000 such refugees in 2016.  It's too bad Dr. Carson doesn't have a similar bully pulpit.  He has to make due with improvised trips to generate the same clout among his faithful followers, who seem to be shrinking by the day.

All the Republicans have conflated the number of refugees.  In Trump's fiery Meet the Press phone interview, he tossed out all kinds of numbers from 10,000 to 250,000, claiming that no one knows for sure as none of these refugees are documented.  He, like his GOP brethren, blithely dismisses the two-year screening process that takes place, which thoroughly documented each and every one of the refugees applying for entrance to the United States.

It is not like Jordan or Turkey or Lebanon, where these refugees are flooding across the borders, escaping the civil war that has raged four long years in their home country.  Processing is weak, because these countries are literally having to screen millions of refugees.  As a result, the EU has worked out an action plan with Turkey to help ease the migrant crisis, which has taken a much greater emotional toll on Europeans.

Over 200,000 Syrian and Afghan refugees have flooded into Europe the past year, often with bitter political battles along the EU borders.  Poland is now calling for an end to the Schengen Agreement, although its citizens, like many Eastern European citizens, have benefited immensely from this free flow of travel across the European Union.

The White House has also been helping ease Turkey's financial burden in the refugee crisis, granting over $4 billion since the start of the crisis.  That's a hefty sum of money in FP terms, as we don't give that much money to Israel during a fiscal year. But, you would never know it to hear our GOP candidates, who give their constituency the impression that President Obama has opened the flood gates to Syrian refugees to the United States, rather than trying to stem the flow at the source by helping with Turkish resettlement programs.

I managed to call up all this information up in a little over one hour.  Imagine what one could do if he actually studied the issue by turning to reliable Internet sources and actually informing oneself on the Syrian refugee crisis?  It seems a small thing to ask of our GOP Presidential candidates, who are intent on being the next Leader of the Free World.  You don't even have to go to Jordan to find pertinent information.  The local library would suffice if you don't have an Internet connection of your own. The only downside is you wouldn't have nifty photographs to post on your website.



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