Among the disasters of the Bush invasion of Iraq was the resulting prejudice against Christians in that nation which has resulted in the flight of over two-thirds of the prewar population. Ironically, under the Saddam Hussein regime, Christians enjoyed freedom of religion and protection against persecution. Saddam disliked and feared fundamentalist Muslim leaders so he allowed Christians to live in peace. The American invasion resulted in a rise to power of Muslim fundamentalist and an unleashing of violence against Christians. Most have fled although few have ben welcomed in the United States. The European Union is granting refuge to over 10,000 Iraqi Christians and at least one fourth will be granted asylum in Germany.
Most of the historic Chaldean Christians trace there ancestry back over a thousand years and predate the arrival of the Muslim religion. The blundering Bush invasion which did not even recognize the precarious position of Iraq Christians has resulted in their need to flee from their homes and seek safety elsewhere. Does President Bush ever regret what he did to the Christians of Iraq?
Two people have died and thousands of trucks are stuck at the border between Poland and the Ukraine this week after custom officials went on a wildcat strike. They are complaining about bad pay, overwork, and lack of preparation for dealing with the new Schengen zone borders. The Schengen zone or passport-free travel was expanded to include ten more nations. As part of participating in the Schengen zone, these countries had to tighten border security. There are now an estimated 3,000 Polish trucks stuck at the Ukraine-Polaish border and another thousand are on their way.
The European Union is experiencing growing pains as it expands the scope and breadth of its free zone area. Polish custom officials believe they were not provided sufficient training nor did anyone anticipate the additional work entailed in moving from checking all passports to having in place an effective security system.
There is a new world goliath being created as the European Union continues its eastward expansion. One can only wonder if the coming years will witness a southeast movement towards Turkey and other nations of the Middle East.
For the first time in history, it will now be possible to travel from Estonia to Portugal without worrying about border checks. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Malta have now joined the border control-free group known as the Schengan Agreement. A traveler can leave Estonia and go all the way to Portugal without encountering a single border official. When the original Schengan program began in the 19080 between Germany, France, and the Benelux nations, there was widespread fear it would result in an increase in crime. No such occurrence ever happened. The greatest immediate concern is revolves around illegal immigrants from eastern Europe who are expected to head for wealthier areas of the European Union in the west.
The European Union continually moves in the direction of creating a vast free trade and travel area in which people and goods can move without being hampered by borders or restrictions. In a sense, Europe is becoming more like the United States which has a three thousand mile free trade and travel area. Crime in America has no connection with the concept of free travel. Most probably in the coming years the presence of this free trade area will encourage greater cooperation among nations which in the long run makes crime more difficult.
German Chancellor Angela Merket came out strongly against the vision of French President Nicolas Sarkozy for creation of a Mediterranean Union. She considered his idea “very dangerous” to the future of the European Union since it would create another union, only this time it would be led by France, not Europe. In a sarcastic aside, she wondered if Germany should establish an Eastern European Union with nations like the Ukraine. Merkel was concerned that creating separate blocs split the essential core concept of a European Union in which all members shared equally in expanding the boundaries of concern for other nations. “One thing has to be clear,” she said, “Northern Europeans also share responsibility for the Mediterranean, just as the future of the borders with Russia and the Ukraine is an issue that concerns those living on the Mediterranean.”
On Wednesday, Sarkozy speaking in Algeria said he wanted France and Algeria to form the axis of a future Mediterranean Union that would stretch from Morocco to Turkey and include at least seven EU nations. One can only wonder if Sarkozy is proposing an end run around the application of Turkey for membership in the European Union, something that concerns many of its members because it would dramatically increase the number of Muslims in the Union. The Sarkozy gambit may simply be another manifestation of his desire for the limelight and going it alone in order to create controversy.