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19 April 2015 | Draft

12 Strategic Questions for Europe Regarding Forced Immigration from Africa

in the light of the continuing influx and the associated fatalities

-- / --

Produced in a month in which it is estimated that more than 10,000 migrants embarked for Italy, and following a week of unprecedented immigrant fatalities, notably evoking an appeal by Pope Francis to the global community for assistance, and a declaration by a spokesperson for the European Commission that We do not have a silver bullet or any kind of panacea that is going to make the situation go away ... and no amount of finger-pointing is going to change that.


  1. Is any credible effective strategic solution emerging regarding the influx of immigrants from across the Mediterranean to Italy and other countries -- with the deaths of many in the process?

  2. What are the qualifications of those from whom strategic recommendations have been sought -- and what kinds of input have been considered unacceptable?

  3. What effort has been made to employ crowdsourcing techniques to elicit a greater range of insight? How has any such input been filtered and presented to highlight creative possibilities, whether immediately viable or otherwise?

  4. What systemic analysis of the strategic challenge has been undertaken (reflecting the widest spectrum of opinions and possibilities)? How is it progressively adapted in the light of inability to engender a viable solution to date? To whom is it made available in order to elicit further insight and more informed debate?

  5. How is the value of human life assessed, given the complicity and vested interests of the EU countries in the manufacture and sale of arms -- with the consequent major loss of life in conflict arenas such as the Middle East? Can "saving human life" then be considered an overriding strategic criterion?

  6. As the primary authority of Christian Europe in safeguarding human life, and in ensuring its reproduction under any circumstances (most notably in Africa), what role is the Vatican playing in articulating a resolution to the immigration crisis through use of its own extensive resources and accommodation facilities -- especially given its long-term responsibility for engendering the crisis and sustaining its further development?

  7. As a means of advancing undeclared "humanitarian" agendas, will the strategic options for accommodation of refugees in Europe be adapted from the forced billeting of soldiers in private homes during wartime?

  8. Given the current trends, the unemployment crisis in Europe, and the progressive mechanisation of menial tasks, is it to be expected that beggars will soon be lining most urban streets, and that increasing crime and civil violence are to be anticipated?

  9. Given the complicity of EU countries in the very extensive (but carefully unpublicised) use of mercenaries in the conflicts in the Middle East over the past decade, should creative assistance from "security contractors" also be sought in order to alleviate the influx across the Mediterranean? Would this ensure the necessary "arms-length" disassociation of governments from any "unpleasantness"? The pre-emptive sinking of the Rainbow Warrior of Greenpeace, in a New Zealand harbour by French government agents (without loss of life), offers an example of a strategy which could be explored with respect to any vessels suspected of preparing to smuggle people from African harbours.

  10. Given the manner in which the UN and its associated agencies claim to be responding to humanitarian crisis situations elsewhere, how is it that they have responded so ineffectually to this immigration crisis and its fatalities -- notably in failing to anticipate the dimensions of the crisis?

  11. Given EU and UN inability to respond effectively to the crisis, is it appropriate to conclude that their strategic strength lies in the token application of derivative thinking to derivative problems -- namely providing a priority focus on short-term issues as a means of avoiding consideration of the factors engendering them in the longer term?

  12. What other issues should be recognized as evidence of equivalent institutional strategic failure in the management of global crises -- and the unexamined failure to learn from that failure? How could key strategic questions, such as those above, be better identified and framed?

Map of Mediterranean refugee-related issues (tentative)
(constructed using Decision Explorer, which could enable addition of many other features and distinctions)
Map of Mediterranean refugee-related issues

The major issue with respect to the very tentative map above is whether the input to the EU Summit on the issue on 23 April 2015, the debates at that summit, or the commentary thereafter, were able to generate a more fruitfully detailed map to focus further debate and decision-making regarding a problem for which there as yet no remedies (EU leaders to pledge rescue for migrants, but no fix for problem, Reuters, 23 April 2015). The software used to elaborate the above map has further functions specifically designed to enable analysis of complex problems. A checklist of the numbered issues is as follows:

1 High refugee fatalities in Mediterranean
2 High fatalities in Middle East conflict arenas
3 Tragic unacceptability of fatalities for humanitarian reasons
4 Collateral damage acceptable as a security necessity
5 Economically valuable sale of weapons to combatants
6 Influx to Europe posing severe social security issues
7 Aggravation of European accommodation shortage
8 Complicity of European arms manufacturers
9 Useful testing of new military equipment
10 Useful training of military personnel
11 Probability that influx will continue unabated over decades
12 Lack of employment opportunities for refugees in Europe
13 Aggravation of European unemployment
14 Increasing pressure on social security facilities already overloaded
15 Long-term consequence of Christian/Vatican complicity in engendering population pressures in Africa
16 Incommensurate allocation of Vatican resources to refugee problem
17 Strategic option of pre-emptive destruction of refugee boats
18 Strategic option of billeting refugees in European homes
19 Possible use of drones

20 Increasing protest by European populations (nationalists, etc)
21 Increasing risk of crime
22 Probability of terrorist infiltration of refugee migration
23 Displacement of populations engendering refugee crisis
24 Unacceptability of killing of refugees in transit
25 Pressure from humanitarian groups urging open door policy
26 Assertion that former colonialist policies have a responsibility for the crisis
27 Contradictory evaluation of human life
28 Unsatisfactory strategic options
29 Exploitation of crisis by groups with unrelated agendas
30 Increasing incidence of begging
31 Questionable recourse to "security contractors"
32 Justification for increasing security budgets
33 Large scale ethical/moral blackmail
34 Challenge to existing European socio-economic disparities
35 Unwelcome challenge to identity of European cultures
36 Failure to indicate provenance of arms
37 Destabilization of European political systems
38 Hopeless conditions for migrants in countries of origin
39 Exploitation of refugees by people smugglers

The map above is reminiscent of the complex graphic created for the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US of the counterinsurgency (COIN) initiative in Afghanistan as developed by the PA Consulting Group. This documented the pattern of relationships in Afghanistan between tribal leaders, soldiers, aid workers, drug dealers, militants, ethnic groups, government leaders, etc. -- so complex that it was caricatured as The Great Afghan Spaghetti Monster (Checkpoint Kabul, 20 December 2009; Graphic Shows Complexity of US Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, The Huffington Post, 22 December 2009). It is appropriate to ask whether European policy makers have endeavoured to create an equivalent map -- or whether it is considered that the situation does not call for such systemic analysis.

The Afghanistan map was used as the basis for an exercise in clarifying the relationships between the various parties involved in the climate change debate associated with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Copenhagen, 2009). As reproduced below, the adaptation was originally presented in Insights for the Future from the Change of Climate in Copenhagen (2010).

Adaptation to climate change
of a representation of counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan

(click on image for larger version)
Adaptation to climate change of a representation of counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan
Afghanistan COIN dynamic
(clusters in original map)
Climate change COIN dynamic
(clusters in adapted map)
Population/Popular support
Infrastructure, Economy and Services
Afghanistan Security Forces (ANSF)
Crime and Narcotics
Coalition Forces and Actions
Physical Environment
Population/Popular support
Infrastructure, Economy and Services
Activist NGO Strategic Forces (ANSF)
Dissenters ("Them")
Crime and Distractions
Initiatives of Coalition of the Willful ("US")
Physical Environment

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