Monday, September 14, 2015

OPINION - Shields and Books 9/13/2015

"Shields and Brooks on U.S. reaching out to refugees, Iran deal assurance" PBS NewsHour 9/11/2015


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the week’s news, including whether the U.S. has a responsibility to take in Syrians displaced by war, Senate Democrats’ blocking of a GOP resolution to reject the Iran deal, Vice President Joe Biden’s interview with Stephen Colbert and former Gov. Rick Perry drops out.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  But first to the analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks.  That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

We just had a segment where we laid out in painful detail how difficult it is for a refugee to gain asylum in the United States.  And there are several people who say, you know what?  If it wasn’t for the United States’ foreign policy of perhaps disbanding the Iraqi army, creating a tremendous amount of regional instability that perhaps in — fueled ISIS, destabilized Syria further, and has caused this migrant crises — is the United States responsible or should they be more responsible in taking more asylum seekers?

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  Yes, I would be one of those people.

I think all the things you mentioned.  And then a couple years ago, we had a big debate about Syria and whether we should be helping the moderates, the moderates, such as they are, in Syria and whether we should arm those moderates.  And people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham said yes.

Eventually, the current administration did arm them, but with very little, much too late.  And so you have this war between Assad’s forces and ISIS.  And so I do think it was partially our — the vacuum created by the U.S. and the West, when there was still some sort of moderate solution possible, that helped create this crisis.  And, therefore, we have a responsibility to take in more refugees.

It’s still, though, bizarre to me that most of the debate is on this side of the pipeline, the flow of people on the receiving end.  There are hundreds of millions — not hundreds, but there are a lot of — millions of people in Syria.  Are they all going to come?  What about dealing with that Syria there and creating safe havens, creating places where people can go to be safe, when you can have islands of stability inside these two evil forces?

MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated columnist:  I agree 100 percent with 50 percent of what David said.


MARK SHIELDS:  I think that it didn’t begin with the United States’ withdrawal from Iraq.  It began with the United States’ invasion of Iraq and the entire destabilization of the region.

And there’s no question that Iran was strengthened by the United States’ invasion of Iraq, that sectarian violence was encouraged and that — destabilization.  As far as our — the United States’ commitment to Syria, it’s certainly been halting.  But that part of that halting has been lack of any domestic political support, as a consequence of what happened in Iraq.

And it was just an unmitigated disaster.  But the reality is that the moral leadership of the planet, or at least of the Western world right now, has become in Berlin and Stockholm.  Germany and Sweden have stepped up.  And people say, oh, well, that is in the self-interest of Germany.

It is in the self-interest of Germany to take talented, energetic, able, committed people who have the resources, the initiative and the strength to get out.  It’s a tragedy.  David makes the point that a nation the size of Syria, four million people have left the country.

I mean, that’s a stain on us and it’s a stain on all of the civilized world that we have allowed that to continue.

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