Upending of the Western political order
While recent news has focused on emigration from Latin America to the United States, migration has always been a fundamental feature of human history.
Beginning two million years ago, early hominoids migrated from Africa. More recently, Europeans moved to America, and, beginning in 1916, African-Americans migrated from the South in the Great Migration. People have always been on the move for better lives.
Migration is different today, however, as widespread digital communications and social media enable desperately poor people, who live in countries afflicted by war, corrupt governments, poverty and violence, to see how others live elsewhere.
At 7 p.m. Friday, March 20, we will learn how, in such countries, parents who hope to provide their children safe and better lives have little choice but to migrate, according to Mark Randol, who spoke in PebbleCreek two years ago about immigration. He says that it is futile for those parents to try to change their governments. Rather, their only chance for better lives is migrating to the West, where they can enroll their children in good schools, gain access to decent medical care and live in an environment where no one will be shooting at them.
Notwithstanding our humanitarian impulses, no country -- not the United States, Canada, Australia, nor countries in Europe -- can accommodate all the people from impoverished countries who would wish to migrate. Torn between those humanitarian impulses and the realities of the overwhelming migration burden, Western political leaders equivocated, voters rebelled, and governments changed, says Randol.
Immigration was a key issue in Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and similar sentiments led to the electoral success of right-wing populist leaders and movements in the European Union, such as Viktor Orban in Hungary, Sebastian Kurz in Austria, Brexit in Great Britain, the Northern League and Five-Star Movement in Italy, and the Alternative for Germany party in Germany. The result is that basic principles of democracy are no longer at the heart of government in some Western nations.
Randol, whose 35 years in military and civil service were largely devoted to counterterrorism and intelligence, is an adjunct faculty member at Eastern Kentucky University, where he teaches courses in domestic terrorism and counterintelligence. He lectures at the University of Southern California and teaches U.S. Coast Guard certified maritime security courses. He also provides security-consulting services for a variety of American and international clients.
Before retiring in May 2011, he served in Washington, D.C., as the senior specialist in domestic intelligence and counterterrorism at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which provides Congress with comprehensive and nonpartisan research and policy analysis.
Prior to CRS, Randol was director of counterterrorism policy at the Department of Homeland Security, representing the department at the National Security Council’s Counterterrorism Security Group, charged with overseeing the U.S. government's counterterrorism efforts.
Tickets to all Premier Lectures are $15 per person and may be purchased online or at the LLL Center during office hours.
For more information:
- Migration statistics from the Migration Policy Institute
- Migration in the European Union
- Daniel Trilling. Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge in the Borders of Europe. London: Verso, 2018.
- Stephen Castles, Hein De Haas, Mark J. Miller. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World (5th ed.). New York: The Guilford Press, 2014.