Photo credit: David Boté Estrada
As I have written many times, Fourth Generation war is such a vast phenomenon that it will take a century for it to reveal itself fully. A new and surprising manifestation is the flood of unaccompanied children across our southern border, a surprise that uncomfortably suggests The Camp of the Saints. The children are fleeing gang violence. A story in the July 10 New York Times reported that
“While many children and parents say the rush of new migrants stems from a belief that United States immigration policy offers preferential treatment to minors, studies of Border Patrol statistics show a strong correlation between cities . . . with high homicide rates and swarms of youngsters taking off for the United States.”
Children are given two choices by the gangs: join or die. However, joining also probably means dying at an early age. Because children mimic what they see elders doing, they are not only joining gangs but copying their behavior. The Times reported that “Last week, in . . . Santa Barbara (Honduras), an 11-year old boy had his throat slit by other children, because he did not pay a 50-cent extortion fee.”
Welcome to the world without the state. Life is, as Thomas Hobbes put it, nasty, brutish, and short. Gangs are a common element in 4GW, which is what these children find themselves caught up in. Childhood as we know it, which is a Victorian creation, vanishes. Child fighters were common before the Victorian period; 18th century Royal Navy warships often had 12-year old midshipmen and children as young as eight serving as powder monkeys. In other parts of today’s world where the state has broken down, child soldiers are normal.
Gangs are inherent enemies of the state. Where the state still functions, gang membership itself should be illegal and possibly a capital crime. But in places such as Honduras, the gangs are more powerful than the state. The state cannot outlaw them; indeed, they are in effect outlawing the state. The police themselves have become just another gang.
What can the United States do about it? In other countries, nothing. In theory, we could invade and occupy places such as Honduras. But once we had done that, we would quickly find that eliminating the gangs requires summary execution of most males between the ages of ten and thirty. We don’t have the stomach for that.
On our own soil, we need to take the gang threat much more seriously. It is time and probably past time to make gang membership itself illegal. Since we also lack the fortitude to make it a capital crime, it needs to be punished by sentences to hard labor. Contracting the job out to Russia would add a further deterrent; few gang members fancy Siberia. First sentence should be ten days, second sentence ten years.
The more immediate question is what to do about the flood of children across our southern border. The numbers are such that they cannot be ignored. The lead article in the July 13 New York Times Sunday Review section, by Sonia Nazario, stated that
“Three years ago, about 6,800 children were detained by United States immigration authorities and placed in federal custody; this year, as many as 90,000 children are expected to be picked up.”
What should we do? Mrs. Nazario, with many on the left, argue that these children are not immigrants but refugees:
“we must recognize this as a refugee crisis, as the United Nations just recommended . . . Many Americans, myself included, believe in deporting unlawful immigrants, but see a different imperative with refugees.”
As refugees, Mrs. Nazario, citing an organization called Kids in Need of Defense, estimates 40 to 60 percent of the children qualify to stay in the U.S.
Here is where a correct understanding of Fourth Generation war is necessary. Mrs. Nazario is right: these children are refugees. As the number of failed states grows and disorder spreads, we will see vast floods of refugees, millions and tens of millions, all trying to get into one of the ever-smaller number of places that remain orderly. Those states, including our own, dare not admit them. Why? Because they will bring the behaviors they are fleeing with them. It was just this sort of immigration that brought down the Roman Empire. The barbarians (except perhaps the Vandals) were not invading Rome to destroy it; they were moving in, during the same sort of movement of whole peoples, Volkerwanderung, we now face, seeking the order Rome offered. But their numbers were so great they overwhelmed Rome. The Dark Ages began as a refugee crisis.
So what is to be done with all these children? In his novel South Wind, Norman Douglas offered an answer. Once a year, the Good Duke Alfred put out a flag that signaled the Turks to come in and pick up all the children who had been bad. Were the children now coming en masse across our southern border promptly sold in the slave markets of Khartoum, the refugee flow would stop.
Since we cannot do that, the next best option is to send the children home, volens nolens, as quickly as possible after their arrival. Is that harsh? Undoubtedly. Does it doom most of them to become fodder for the gangs? Probably, although most of them will probably end up in gangs anyway if they are allowed to stay here because that is the culture they know.
Harsh, cruel measures, especially in blocking the flow of refugees, are what survival as a state will require in a 4GW world. We need to send the kids home. The Italian Navy needs to be sinking the boats refugees are using to cross the Med, not helping them make it to Italian ports. Norway needs to send its Somalis back to Somalia (the Norwegian government had to print a brochure in Somali saying, “No, it’s not OK to rape Norwegian women who are out in public without a male relative.). To be or not to be, that is the question facing the state.