Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Exactly wrong

The xenophobes and protectionists who argue that immigrants cost jobs have it exactly wrong. Newcomers create jobs and they always have. A report by the Center for an Urban Future recently described immigrants as “entrepreneurial sparkplugs,” and the reason is obvious. If they weren't risk-takers, they wouldn't be here.
Steven V Roberts writing in The Washington Post, via TPM Barnett’s blog. However the main subject of the piece is not economic migrants but refugees, as he’s reviewing Outcasts United by Warren St John, a book about a soccer team in Clarkston, Georgia, made up of refugees from a dozen different countries.
Beatrice Ziaty and her children (three sons played for the Fugees) fled out the back door of their house in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, as her husband was being killed in the front room. Most immigrants to America come eagerly, after years of saving and scheming; they stay in touch with kinfolk back home via cell phones and e-mail and retain a sense of connection and community. The refugees of Clarkston were uprooted against their will. “There's no point in thinking about where to go back to,” said Paula Balegamire, whose husband languished in a Congolese prison, “because there's nowhere to go back to.”

Back in the UK: related from Mick Hartley. Reminds me of . . .


Woody’s focus is firmly on kinetic operations. Such tactics sometimes have a place, but only as part of a more comprehensive strategy. Here’s an extract from Principles of Modern American Counterinsurgency: Evolution and Debate, a paper by Janine Davidson at The Brookings Institution. It seems an earlier draft of this may have played a role in the evolution of the successful candidate last year.

First principle of a successful COIN campaign:
(I) A long-term political strategy focused on creating a viable, sustainable stability – through building or enhancing local government effectiveness and legitimacy – while marginalizing insurgents and winning over their sympathizers. Building the political legitimacy and effectiveness of the government, in the eyes of its people and the international community, is fundamental. Political reform and development represent the hard core of any counterinsurgency strategy, and provides a framework for programs and initiatives. In parallel, the political strategy is designed to undermine support for insurgents, win over their sympathizers to the government side, and co-opt local community leaders to ally themselves with the government.
This seems highly relevant to current challenges in the UK.

Update: Kilcullen on tackling extremism in Europe. He’s talking about one flavour, but surely the principles are the same for dealing with more familiar forms of fascism. Also, Your Friend in the North on how not to do it.

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