Regarding the column “Refugees, jihad and the specter of terrorism” in the Feb. 18 edition, Brahma Chellaney makes some good points, in particular regarding the failure of interventionism in the Middle East. The less involved Western powers are with the region the better. He rightly points out that there is a real threat of violent radicals either posing as migrants or being grown from within the population of migrants after settling somewhere. Even in the best of circumstances it is more than understandable that the native population would prefer not to have their cities swamped with hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern exiles.

Mr. Chellaney states that “The issue is how to control the migrant flow in a humane way.” This is mostly right in that the goal should not be to “control” migrant flow but rather to stop it. If Western powers really want to help refugees in Syria, they should invest resources into creating safe zones within the country and help resettle war exiles in neighboring countries.

Some Arab states have stepped up and taken in a number of refugees. They should be encouraged to continue to take the lead, financially and diplomatically if necessary. If being humane is truly our priority, it makes sense to discourage migration to Europe (and other regions) and instead resettle people in neighboring countries. We’ll be able to help more people with less money without incurring the cultural and security risks associated with mass migration.

Jonathan Bethune

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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